Historic Bolinas saloon for sale

08/25/2011

On the eve of its 160th birthday, Smiley’s Schooner Saloon and Hotel, reportedly the longest continuously operating saloon in California, is for sale for just under $2 million. Don Deane, who has owned the establishment for 21 years, said his reasons for selling include weather and old age. “Essentially, we’ve not had summer for the last two years,” he said. For the past two years, Deane, 68, has split his time between Smiley’s and a small campground in the Sierra Nevadas, which he purchased in the wake of the recession. If and when Smiley’s sells, he will focus most of his attention on improving that business. As for Smiley’s, it will likely continue in some form or another. “[The place] is in pretty good shape for being 160 years old,” said listing agent BG Bates. “After all, it’s survived temperance, prohibition, two world wars and a number of earthquakes.” The history of Smiley’s is rooted in lore. It is said to have been built in 1851 by ship captain Isaac Morgan, and has undergone numerous changes in ownership and name since. Its current namesake, Ismaele Bianchini, also known as Smiley, was an Italian immigrant who owned the business in the 1950s and 1960s. For Deane, the sale is a bittersweet end to a long, memory-filled haul. “There isn’t a day that I haven’t loved owning Smiley’s,” he said. “I’ve been in Bolinas for 40 years and I’m not anxious to leave any time soon.”