Northwest Dance Venues

Medicine Show Tavern
AKA:  Wintonia Tavern
Seattle, Washington

Some of the bands that performed at this place during those great years of NW music were:

Bad Manners
The Doily Brothers Band
Family Band
The Floating Bridge
Jr. Cadillac
Lance Romance
Northwest Rock & Roll Band
Jim Page
Sweet Talkin' Jones
Three Minute Boogie

Others ??

My Brother-in-Law, Glen Tamura, was Co-owner of the Medicine Show Tavern, also known as the Wintonia Tavern. Located on Pine Street in Seattle, WA on Capitol Hill, it was famous for free peanuts with every pitcher.  The peanut shells covered the floor, which only occasionally were swept up.  This added to the ambiance which attracted only people that could appreciate its character.  Peter Lamb was the other owner.  Both principles met while almost attending Seattle University.

Famous for an extensive collection of Blues records which played constantly, There was a small stage where the patrons could see The Floating Bridge, Lance Romance and the Three Minute Boogie.  The operation tolerated drug use and was famous for pool tournaments with acid spiked beer.  Don Donavan, Ron Whitney, Joe Cairo, Jeff Rosen and two Brothers Pat & Gary were bartenders. The Wintonia hotel was upstairs and King County housed many indigent mental cases in the shabby rooms.  These hotel guests would make it into the tavern and were accepted by the regulars.

Located just down the street from the Comet and Fresh Air made Pine street a destination for Hippies from Fremont and Pike Street Market.  The Medicine Show sponsored several shows at the Encore Ballroom (also on Pine St.).  The shows were: Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Mojo Hand, Taj Mahal, and John Hammond.  All shows included an appearance Seattle Police Dept. as well as the Seattle Fire Dept. Tickets were $3 and easily counterfeited.   Before and after any concert (at Boyd Grafmeyers Eagles) the Medicine Show was a great spot to get your head right.....   40 years ago.  The summer of Love................

Steve Wilk, August 2007

The Medicine Show too. What a great place!  I remember playing a solo while a dog fight was going on in front of the band. Cool!

Brian Glenn, August 2007

Other groups playing regularly at the Medicine Show were, notably, The Northwest Rock and Roll Band, Butterfat, Junior Cadillac, though not often for they held forth at the Grapevine, as well as the occasional blues cat.  Don Wilhelm of Moby Grape tended bar for a time as did Bill White who is now a fine painter living in Mexico. Finally, the Medicine Show, which was truly a great spot, was on Pike Street as was the somewhat later Fresh Air and the still going strong Comet.

John C. Strawn, August 2007

I played the Medicine Show a lot from 71 to at least 74.  I played acoustic guitar and did my thing in between band sets.  I played almost all the Seattle clubs for a few years.  MS was wonderful - it had no address on the building, no marquee or name outside, and no phone (except I think for a pay phone) but they always had crowds and the music was always good.

Jim Page, December 2009


The Medicine Show
Copyright Jim Page, Whid-Isle Music, BMI

John the Ball, Louie the Chain
the Excelsior Champion heavy in the brain
Mary the Wand, Sarah the Wasp
name your price, pay your cost
they come so high and the go so low
you can see them all at the Medicine Show

the one-eyed son played a game of lose
with a rusty glass against a pair of shoes
no one believed a word he said
he lost his head and was sent to bed
everybody said that he played too slow
and you can’t do that at the Medicine Show

Sweet June the Innocent came for a treat
with her address stamped on the bottom of her feet
when the lights went out she began to shout
and she never did get out
now she waits on tables when the lights are low
she’s the white wine mistress of the Medicine Show

Drug Store Sam told his right hand man
“stash it all just as fast as you can”
so he brought it all down in a wire cage
left lookin’ funny with his face all changed
he had the eyes of a fish, the head of a crow
you gotta be careful at the Medicine Show

the bar man slinks around the telephone booth
while you pay for your drinks with your last gold tooth
the man with the hook watches the door
while the three-legged pick pocket covers the floor
you’ll forget everything you know
when you get inside of the Medicine Show

everybody knows it when they pass the door
some walk for miles not to pass it no more
some cover their ears, hide their eyes
break to a run when the hear the cries
“hey you stranger, don’t you know
this is the Medicine Show”

everybody warned me not to take a drink
but my head just swam, my eyeballs blinked
the room came up and clapped my ears
they filled my hat with silver spears
a bull frog, a black crow
they paid me well at the Medicine Show


(Lyrics used by permission of Jim Page)

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Last Update:  14 January 2010
Credits: Brian Glenn, Joel Johnson, Joanne Petrie, John C. Strawn, Steve Hudziak, Jim Page