Perl's in 2010 - Photo by and Courtesy of Gerry Thom
Perl's in 2010 - Photo by and Courtesy of Gerry Thom
Perl's in Bremerton
1934 - 2018
3536 Arsenal Way
Bremerton, Washington

Proprietor: Perl Maurer (R.I.P)

UPDATE - 2 October 2018 - Perl's. AKA: Natasha's was destroyed by fire on this date

Some of the bands that performed at Perl's were:

The Beachcombers
Blue Sky
Beau Brummels

Chubby Checker
Chymes of Freedom
The Crisis
Gail Davies
The Deacons
Don and The Goodtimes
Duke Ellington
The Gatormen
The Knickerbockers
The Fourth Day
Fragile Lime
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jr. Cadillac
Le Max
Livepoool Five
Mr. Lucky & The Gamblers
Painted Ship
The Paper Suns
Paul Revere & the Raiders
The Ramones
The Raymarks
Jim Reeves
The Regents
The Rogues
Roy Orbison
The Royal Guardsmen
Savoy Brown
Lee Parker & The Sharps
Smokey Road Show

The Sonics
Springfield Rifle
Tiny Tony and The Statics
Suicidal Tendencies
Sweet Thing
Swinging Medallions

Them with Van Morrison
Thin Red Line
The Titans
Merrilee and the Turnabouts
The Viceroys
The Wailers

Photo:  S. Carlson, July 1999
This is how Perl's appeared in July 1999.
Do you have a picture of how it appeared in the 60's?

It is sad to see this edifice now.  In its heyday, this was one of the "in" places to go and attracted the top bands on the Pacific Northwest music circuit.

We are in the process of compiling a list of the bands that performed at Perl's in the 60's.  If you had a band that played here, have a flyer or advertisement for gigs at Perl's, or remember seeing a particular band perform at this establishment, please let us know and we will add their name to the list of bands that performed here.  Send any information to our Webmaster.

Update:  Perl's,

Poster Courtesy of Jim Herron
Poster Courtesy of Jim Herron
"When we, the Sonics, would play there (Perl's), which we usually did about once a month, it would be packed to the rafters with dancers, and we would be playing as loud as we could. We could always count on Perl's wife to walk by the bandstand at least a dozen times a night holding a sign that she always kept in the back room that said, YOU ARE TOO DAMN LOUD!"

Andy Parypa, The Sonics, May 2001

Perl's was one of the "Pat O'Day circuit" hosting many, many NW bands and some national stars as well.  The last time I drove by it, the building was still there, but the property is a storage site for Kitsap County road maintenance machinery - sad!

Dick Bowne, December 2008

The Chymes of Freedom played Perl's Ballroom 1967. Perl Maurer approached us on a break and said "you boys have to turn it down or you'll never play here again" we cranked it up, enjoying our moment in time.  The question was, did we really want to play there again?  The crowd loved it.  The bubble blowers inundated the crowd with massive bubble showers and my amp was so covered in soap I could no longer turn the knobs on the Vox Buckingham. I remember having flowers stuffed in around the framework of my amplifier.  Peace and Love

George Goins-Rhythm Guitar

Perl's, located in West Bremerton at Arsenal Way and Loxie Eagans Boulevard, originally opened in 1934 and was founded by local musician Perl Maurer.  He ran the place until he sold it in 1971.   By then, it was the second incarnation of Perl's as the first one had burned down in 1959 and was rebuilt and replaced in the same location two years later.

Perl himself, who passed away in 2000 at age 93, claimed that Duke Ellington and country legend Jim Reeves were among the greats who played there.

Gerry Thom, November 2009

Perle's didn't have a liquor license.  BYOB was the law of land.

I, like many kids, picked up pop bottles there on Saturday & Sunday morning to sell for money.  This was in the early 50's.  We were too young to go to Perles, but we worked over the empty lot the next day looking for old pop bottles to make money on.  You could turn in old soda bottles at any store for money, enough to buy a Superman comic or a candy bar.

Perl's was by itself then.  Both sides of the valley were empty.   Just woods across the street from Perl's.  The houses started when you went up the hill.  We lived in one of them.

When I was old enough, I did go to a few dances there.

Jason Vance, September 2010

I located and purchased the original jukebox out of Perl's.  At first it didn't make sense as why wasn't it lost in the fire of 1959.  Upon closer inspection I found the last business license in it which was dated for 1958.  Since it plays 78's, I speculate that a newer jukebox that played 45's must of come in before the fire and this one moved out.  It had been in a basement in Manette all these years. Google a Rockola 1426 if you get a minute to see what it looks like.

Pretty cool piece of Bremerton history

Jim Smalley, May 2011 & November 2011

Image courtesy of Jacy Peckham

I went to see Sugarloaf when they played at Perl's... it was in 1975-ish

Donna, August 2011

Bill and Natacha Sesko purchased the Pavillion from Perl Mauer in 1971.

Jim Herron, October 2012

Perl's in 2010 - Photo by and Courtesy of Gerry Thom

Music And Dance Have Been His Life For Nine Decades
By Joanne Marez

The Sun

BREMERTON - It was the dawn of the Jazz Age

(Seattle Times)

Liquor was illegal, flappers were shocking and authors like Hemingway and Steinbeck were coming into their own.

And for a promising 14-year-old named Perl Maurer, all those violin lessons were paying off.

"Now those were the days," Kitsap County's most-famous band leader recalled recently. "I got a job with Adams' Juvenile Jazzers, a four-piece band, and I was pretty excited. Especially when I realized I was going to get paid. Sixty dollars a week! Good lord, my dad worked in the Navy yard for $40 a week, and that was good money. I could hardly believe my luck."

But it was more than luck that propelled Maurer toward a musical career that has spanned nearly eight decades and made him and Perl's Pavilion a local legend.

He was talented, to be sure, but he also was willing to work hard.

"I started taking violin lessons when I was 9 and continued until I was 20," Maurer said. "I practiced at least five hours a day. Kids today aren't interested in spending that much time on their music. But I knew music was going to be my life."

He was right, too.

At 91, Maurer is still playing gigs with his trio. "What better life could you have?" he asked.

Perl's was the place to dance for more than 40 years.

"There just was no place like Perl's," said former Bremerton Mayor Glenn Jarstad, who spent many Friday and Saturday nights dancing to Maurer's 10-piece orchestra.

"Friday nights were family night, and Saturday nights were for the grown-ups," Jarstad said. "There was a little of everything from waltzes to square dancing. These big, burly loggers would come to town on Saturday nights and just loved the square dancing. They'd toss those little gals around like dolls. It was great fun to watch."

From the time Perl's opened in 1934, it was a magnet for young people, and Maurer claims more than 350 couples who met there eventually married.

"Mamas got in free so they could come and watch their kids if they wanted," Maurer said, "but everyone knew that kids were safe with us. We didn't sell liquor and we watched everything. This was a family place."

Originally called Perl's Dance Pavilion, it drew famous entertainers for decades. Duke Ellington, country singer Jim Reeves, even rock 'n' rollers Paul Revere and the Raiders played Perl's.

Maurer was successful, in part, because he knew what people wanted. And as a musician, he was versatile enough to create just the right sound. He didn't stop at violin. Eventually, he played banjo, saxophone, clarinet and drums.

"I couldn't find a drummer," Maurer recalled, "so I taught myself."

While Maurer began earning money with his music at a tender age, he had a day job, working at a dairy and later a grocery store to support his wife, Ida Mae.

He met her in high school, where he always was playing for the basketball games.

She was dating a big football player named Gibb Palmer, he recalled, pretty tough competition for a skinny kid like him.

But at a Kitsap Lake swimming party, when Palmer refused to carry Ida Mae from the water to the shore, Maurer made his move.

"I just scooped her up and carried her away," he said. "He was so darn mad at me."

Ida Mae was impressed and eventually agreed to be his wife. They had been married 69 years when she died last year.

"She was always there for me," Maurer said, even in the beginning when he wanted to do the unthinkable.

He proposed taking a week's pay to rent the Charleston community hall by Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to hold dances where his band could entertain.

She gave him the go-ahead and his career was launched.

"Boy, we had a lot of fun and the people just loved it," Maurer said.

He and his band played any gig they could get, building a loyal following. He knew he wanted his own dance hall someday and that this was the way to make it a success.

And he knew hard work was the key.

"My life was always crazy," he recalled, laughing. "I'd work all day and play at night. There was a time when I worked in the Navy yard during the day and played dance halls every night. I never got any sleep."

During World War II, when Bremerton was a boom town, he'd play at his own hall from 8 p.m. to midnight, then head for Gorst, where he played another gig from 1 in the morning to dawn.

But somehow, he still found time for his children, Darlene and Gary, and a little R & R.

"People only see the musical side of dad," said his daughter, Darlene Pendley, "but my dad's a master rifleman and a great fisherman. There are so many sides to that man people don't know about."

"I remember great times with my dad," Pendley added. "I was a tomboy and he taught me to shoot and fish. My mom used to tell me I couldn't go, but I'd be up waiting for dad in the morning and he'd take me anyway."

Music, however, had the strongest pull for Maurer. Perl's was his life.

It burned in 1959.

"A neighbor boy who really loved my mom thought she was working too hard," Pendley said, "so he set it on fire."

It took two years to rebuild, so to keep busy, Maurer invested in a health-food store on Callow Avenue.

"I really got interested in health food," he said, "and started taking my own advice. That's why I look so young."

And his face is remarkably unlined for someone nearing the century mark. It also might explain his seemingly limitless energy.

When Maurer sold Perl's in 1971, he gave no real thought to retiring.

"You gotta keep busy," he said. "Working is good for you. I never know when I'm going to get a gig.  Sons of Norway already have me booked for November. We do a lot of anniversaries, some dances. We have a good time."

"I've had a good life," Maurer added, "and more memories than any one man deserves. I look forward to every day, because you know what, you never know what it might bring. That phone might ring and I'll have another job."

Dance hall owner dead at age 93
By Steve Corda, Sun Staff

His namesake, Perl's Pavilion, was the hot place to go in Kitsap.
"What better life could you have?"  Perl Maurer once asked.  "I could tell you stories."

The life of musician and dance hall owner Perl Maurer ended Monday morning. But the stories of the man who played gigs for nearly 80 years and whose hall brought top performers to Kitsap County will probably live on forever.

Maurer, age 93, died Monday at Harrison Hospital of congestive heart failure.

"Dad's kind of a legend," said Gary Maurer, Perl's son. "He's had two dance halls in Kitsap County and he'd lived here since the teens."

"Anybody that's been in Bremerton any time at all knows my dad and probably has some pretty nice things to say about him," added Perl's daughter, Darlene Pendley.

Maurer and Pendley said their father was born Dec. 2, 1906, to Park and Lilley Maurer. Though Perl Maurer was born in Kansas, he moved to Bremerton at the age of four or five and called the area home for more than 80 years after that.

In Bremerton, Maurer began taking violin lessons before he'd reached double digits in age. By his count, he was practicing five hours a day. And that practice soon paid off.

"He began playing dance (hall) jobs when he was 14 and made more money than my grandfather did in the shipyard,"

Pendley said.

He kept up the musical career and worked at the shipyard. In 1928, he married Ida Mae, who would be his wife until her death two years ago at the age of 87. The couple opened Perl's Pavilion in 1934 at what is now Arsenal Way and Loxie Eagans Boulevard.

An era was born.

Perl's would operate, with a brief pause for a fire and rebuild, until 1971. During that time, the dance hall was almost-always packed and attracted top-notch entertainers. Duke Ellington, country singer Jim Reeves and even Paul Revere and the Raiders took the stage at Perl's, a stage Maurer played himself.

Perl's Pavilion became such a meeting place that, by Maurer's estimate, at least 350 of the couples that met there were later married. That number includes former Bremerton mayor Glenn Jarstad and his wife, June.

"There was just no place like Perl's," Jarstad once said. "There was a little of everything, from waltzes to square dancing."

The Maurers sold the Pavilion in 1971 and retired to Tahuya. Maurer continued playing music professionally until last year.

Though Pendley said "music was his life," Maurer pursued other interests as well. He owned businesses on Callow Avenue, including a health food store — an interest to which he attributed his longevity. He was a charter member of the Eagles, as well as a marksman, an accomplished hunter and a fisherman.

He is survived by his son, Gary Maurer of Kingston; daughter Darlene Pendley of Bremerton; sister-in-law Marie Higgins of Woodburn, ore.; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

He also leaves behind a host of memories.

"It isn't just my loss. It's Bremerton's," Pendley said. "He just opened up his heart to his neighbors. This is an era that's really lost to Bremerton and it's sad."

Published in The Sun: 01/04/2000

In the mid-1950's, my brother, Lee Parker (passed away in 2010) and his band The Sharps played there many times in the original building before
the fire.

Holly Parker Harden, March 2014

The Springfield Rifle played at Perl’s. I remember it as a dump even in its hayday, but who cared back then.

 Bob Perry, Bass, Springfield Rifle, June 2014

My sister and I saw the Liverpool Five there (Perl's) in 1967.

Maurice Salanga, Jr., April 2015

Superband opened for Bread at Perls in about 1971

Clifford Weiss, September 2016

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Credits: Andy Parypa, Sam Carlson, Jim Sola, Denny Randall, Denny Gore, Rudy Volkmann, Thomas Howell, Mark Black, Tom Walters, Jim Adams, Al Sprenger, Ken Huff, Ed Nodorozny, Walt Melewski, Bob Brannon, Tim Menees, Jeff Fleming, Joel Johnson, Dick Bowne, George Goins, Gerry Thom, Al Anderson, Jason Vance, Jim Smalley, Stan Tate, Liza Schultz, Chris Ronning, Jon Moss, Linda Munns, Jim Herron, Larry Tipton, Holly Parker Harden, Bob Perry, Phil Hall, Dan Fick, Maurice Salanga Jr., Dom F., Cliff Weiss

Photos by:  S. Carlson, Jacy Peckham and G. Thom
Last Update:  2 October 2018