Location: 620 4th Ave E
Charlie’s Restaurant, 1954, Thurston County Assessor, S0uthwest Regional Archives
Charlie’s Tavern today (2015) photograph by
Depending on how you calculate it, several downtown taverns can claim to be the oldest in the city. One of them is Charlie’s Tavern, at 640 Fourth Avenue East (the Spar and the Brotherhood Tavern, in the Woodruff Building, can also lay claim to this honor). Fourth Avenue has been lined with restaurants and taverns since very earliest days. William J. Yeager, a man of many trades, including photographer and drayman, operated a tavern somewhere along Fourth Avenue from the 1850s. According to the Olympia Heritage inventory for the building, a member of the Yeager family erected this building at the corner of 4th and Chestnut in 1912. At the time, it was on the east side of the Fourth Avenue bridge to Swantown, overlooking the Swantown Slough (see Sanborn overlay for 1908). Soon afterwards, in 1916, Prohibition put an end to legitimate tavern businesses. In 1924, the Sanborn map series shows the building as a grocery store. Charles Goldberg, a restaurant operator from Seattle, moved here with his wife and family and opened the Charles Goldberg Restaurant in this building in 1931, just before the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Since then the building has been in continuous operation as a restaurant or tavern. It has also always been named after Goldberg, although it has had different owners. The building itself has gone through extensive modifications over the years.
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross