Our Stories

Augie's Tavern, Cle Elum

By Frank Brozovich

In the days of King Coal, the one thing that there was no scarcity of in Cle Elum was saloons and taverns. One establishment that marked itself from the others was "Augie’s Tavern".

Augie’s was located in the East 200 block of town in the Schober Building, an edifice a cut above the rest. Andrew Petrich purchased the tavern in 1930 and his son Augie took over the business in 1938. Augie continued the business until his death in 1973. His wife, Mary took over for a short time after Augie’s passing.

Augie’s was more than a place where the local Croats came in to quench their thirst. It was a place to meet, to discuss the events of the day or times: how many coal cars your crew loaded, what was happening in the “old country”, a place to relax with a good cigar or try your luck at the card tables in the back room. It was an establishment where you came to meet your "own".

Many of the old Croats had no trust in the banks, but they had trust in Augie. Augie would keep their pay checks in separate envelopes in his safe and give them back when asked for.

Augie’s was also a place for women and children. He had high backed booths marked “for women” where the ladies would bring their children for one of Augie’s exceptional milk shakes.

On a warm summer day, the tavern patrons could be found standing outside just watching or talking. But with Augie’s passing and the passing of "King Coal", it all came to an end.

It was an end of an era.

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