Roanoke Inn

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The Roanoke Inn is as close to the quintessential neighborhood bar – the kind you see on sitcoms and in movies – as there is anywhere in the greater Seattle region, and islanders are lucky to call it their own. It has history, quirks, deals, and drinks, but more than anything, it has a community that loves it.

Opened in 1914, the Roanoke started out in business by catering to visitors to the Roanoke Dock as a “chicken-dinner inn,” and survived ups and downs since – including prohibition, multiple owners, and possibly a stint as a brothel. What hasn’t changed through time is that it serves as a second home for those who come through the door to drink within its green walls.

When happy hour begins at 4 pm every afternoon, the customers begin to fill in the floral-lined booths, leather stools, and on nice days, the seating on the porch and the tables on the outdoor patio. Happy hour is when the famous “Wings of Fire” go down to $1 each, the nachos are $7 for a half order, and the excellent selection of beers, including local IPAs, are $2 off.

But the crowds don’t leave when happy hour ends at 6 pm. Rather, they file in for the generous dinner portions of chili, French dip, and burgers; for the vibe that is whatever is the polar opposite of a see-and-be-seen scene; and for a little dose of lived-in coziness.

The Roanoke is the kind of place that exudes comfort after a bad day, where folks seem to be able to sense when you need a generous ear over a beer or to be left alone with a glass of wine. It’s the kind of place where you’ll run into your neighbors more often than you do in the yard – the kind of bar that enhances the local community simply by continuing to exist for more than a century.

The Roanoke Inn is located at 1825 72nd Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA. Learn more at

Written by Naomi Tomky