Horniest Tavern in the Northwest: The Lyman

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THE NORTHWESTERN CORNER OF WASHINGTON STATE IS AN AREA RENOWNED FOR ITS RUGGED BEAUTY. FROM THE HAUNTING SPLENDOR OF THE NORTHERN CASCADES TO THE DRAMATIC SHORELINES THAT SEEM TO GO ON FOREVER, IT’S A REGION THAT REQUIRES A CERTAIN HEARTINESS FROM ITS INHABITANTS. AND NOWHERE DOES THAT SEEM MORE EVIDENT THAN IN THE TOWN OF LYMAN.

Situated upon the banks of the Skagit River, next to the North Cascades Highway, the hamlet has for over a century been the home to a varying selection of loggers, miners, fishermen, hunters, rivermen, and other jacks-of-all-trades. One thing most of these folks have had in common is they could, at one time or another, belly up to the wooden bar at the Lyman Tavern. They unloaded their worries to barkeeps, enjoyed some good conversation with neighbors, and eyeballed the occasional traveler passing though.

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The scent of fresh-cut lumber emanates from the loggers sipping longnecks with whiskey chasers and relaxing in mismatched chairs around linoleum tables scattered about.

Throughout its colorful history, the Lyman has survived fires, floods, and the numerous economic downturns that have visited the area. It will weather this storm too. The two battered brick walls still bear the scars from the blaze in the fifties that gutted the place. At times you can sense the voices of patrons past whispering in the air.

The faded wooded front facade sports a sign proudly proclaiming the tavern as the “Horniest Tavern in the Northwest,” a colorful nickname that refers to the preponderance of deer and elk racks displayed throughout the watering hole. Since the bar’s founding, locals have brought their favorite trophies to adorn the cedar walls inside. Several of these are over a century old, relics of a time past that doesn’t seem that far removed from the present here.

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The scent of fresh-cut lumber emanates from the loggers sipping longnecks with whiskey chasers and relaxing in mismatched chairs around linoleum tables scattered about. The pool table usually has a spirited game in progress between bearded men in well-worn jeans and creased baseball caps. The music emanating from the speakers is certainly not pop and has a reassuring twang to it.

This is the part of America that, too often these days, seems to be disappearing. The local watering hole that served as the social hub, the place where—before we all became interconnected—one went to connect.

This is the part of America that, too often these days, seems to be disappearing. The local watering hole that served as the social hub, the place where—before we all became interconnected—one went to connect. Lyman Tavern is the heart of the community, and nothing could make the community any happier.

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