Before Lincoln was President....
Before baseball was a game...
Before Jingle Bells was a song...
There was


Established 1851
41 Wharf Road., Bolinas, CA
(415) 868-1311
(415) 868-0502(fax)

For reservations Email:
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A Short History of Smiley's Schooner Saloon

Of all the buildings and businesses in Bolinas, Smiley's is one of the most colorful with a past as notorious and entertaining as the town itself.

The California Historical Society lists Smiley's as one ofthe only fourteen bars in the state to be in continuous existance for over 100 years. The saloon is believed to have been built in 1851 for the energetic young Captain Isaac Morgan. Captain Morgan arrived in Bolinas (or Jugville as it was known then) in 1849. Those were gold rush days, days of growth. Those days when one gambled with one's dreams and then watched them either shatter and splinter or one crafted and honed them into realities.

Morgan applied his considerable energy to diverse and lucrative projects, including an apple orchard, schooner building and, of course, his saloon. The Captain lived in the house on the Lagoon side of Smiley's and watched his bar survive the 1860's temperance movement when many of the town's dens of drinking iniquity closed down. The 1868 records of the Bolinas division #8 of the "Sons of Temperance" does not list Captain Morgan, even though most of the othe prominent and influential men in town were members.

A few years later though, in 1872, shortly before he went back east to find a wife, we suprisingly find him listed as the Chaplain of the "Independent Order of Rechabites" which sponsored temperance lectures

After Morgan left, though few records survive, we know Niles Ogden ran the bar for forty years. There is no record of the pub closing after the great quake of 1906. Quite the opposite was true. Business picked up because the two nearest establishments where one could also quaff liquid lightning libations, The Flagstaff and the Del Mar, were unceremoniously dumped in the Lagoon.

The 1920's found most drinking establishments in the nation closing due to Prohibition. Smiley's didn't close. She just put on a little window dressing. Her windows were painted black (a condition repeated during World War II for fear of Japanese bombers). One window remained clear through which a passerby could glimpse a barber chair and other babershop paraphernalia. Customers would enter the barbershop then proceed through a second door into the bar. Business must have been good, old timers recall the rum runners kicking up a lot of dust roaring in and out of town in their new-fangled automobiles

Over the years the name of the bar changed with its ownership: Jim redmen's Saloon, Ed Knott's Bar, etc... The Italian immigrant, Ismaele Biachini, bought the bar in 1955. Ismaele, Smiley to his friends, called the place "Smiley's Bar and Bait". here the barbershop has been there was now a baitshop. Under another set of owners it was a pizza parlour. The name "Smiley's" stuck, eventually becoming "Smiley's Schooner Saloon"

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