Pursuing the theme of promoting comments by site visitors to entries when it’s appropriate, here’s site visitor Jeff Baker commenting on my April entry concerning the queen of Northwest bars, Bob’s Java Jive:
Bob’s Java Jive was the perfect getaway for PLU students about 20 years ago.
The coffee shaped building was cool. Cozy, but not too cramped. I remember a circular type bar- and patrons enjoying coffee – mostly truckers. While in good shape, the place felt a bit like a dive and had a “dive-like” aroma.
Then, the monkeys were kept in the back area (a building addition that likely was added on to the coffee shaped building at some point). We called this back room “the plastic jungle”. It featured vinyl tiger print booths, a dance floor made of black vinyl tiles (with an occaisional red or blue tile), random flourescent jungle paintings on the wall ( illuminated by a couple black light bulbs). There were hanging plastic monkey head lights too.
You could get food there, and beer by the pitcher. It was diner food and wasn’t too bad if you didn’t try to imagine what the kitchen looked like. Our waitress served up our hamburger and fries, then kept stealing one or two everytime she walked by. At one point she sat down with us and was cracking up for no apparent reason. Then we realized she was drunk!
The juke box was one of the greatest attractions there. Where else could you find “Love Potion #9” or “theme from Hawaii 5-O”. Of course we always had to play “Java Jive” (I think it was by the Ink Spots).
After a while the live music started. The “band” consisted of two men (rumored to be the sons of the owners). One (looked kind of like Steve Buscemi) played accordion, and the other (a large man with a huge, curly afro and big glasses) played organ. Very serious. They mostly played TV theme songs. One time, they played the theme to Gilligan’s Island. When it was over, a group of us laughed. The brothers glared at us, as if annoyed by our irreverance.
After five or six TV tunes, they’d take a break. The organ player would spin around on his bench, and sit with his elbow on his knee, chin in his hand, silent, no expression on his face… for five minutes straight while the accordian player had a beer.
Bizarre! But it was great! I thank God I never got food poisioning.
Thanks for that illuminating tale, Jeff! Seems that things hadn’t changed much in the intervening years, although I’d love to find out more about the TV theme song band. I can vouch for the sons of the owners having played there for a while – it was a part of the history of the place that was related to us when we asked.