Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day Tripping Back to the 50's and 60's":

photo above - Part of the interior of XXX Root Beer Drive-in.
In my last post I told you about how  John's old school chum, Ken,  spent the day with us and how we toured some of their old stomping grounds.  Today I'm continuing with this saga but felt it deserves its own separate post.

After spending a good portion of the afternoon driving up and down  little roads that led into lakeside neighborhoods  we headed back towards town.  Suddenly Ken was struck by an idea.

"Do you like root beer?"  He asked, with an obvious motive in mind.

I nodded affirmatively while John was slightly less enthusiastic.  "Well, I like an A&W float every now and then."

"I'm not a big fan of A&W "  Ken went on " To me it has a sharp flavor.  The best root beer, bar none, is triple X.  I find it has a smooth, creamy taste.  Whenever I'm in Issaquah I always have to stop by the triple X to get my Root Beer fix."

Like me,  John had never heard of triple X  Root Beer,  but Ken was quick to fill us in on all the pertinent facts.

photo above - It was a busy place, granted there are many empty booths but the majority of the customers were outside having their gigantic burgers  and frosty mugs of famous XXX Root Beer "al fresco" on the outdoor patio.  I found it difficult to get a clean shot of the interior without someone walking by - here I caught the flying hair of a hurried waitress.  Must admit she has lovely locks - long and shiny.  

XXX Root Beer's history is long, dating back to 1895, it's long but it's an interesting history;  the following is my synopsis . 

Basically XXX  began as a beer brewery but diversified into soft drinks.  With the onset of prohibition, XXX Brewery switched over from beer production to solely producing its line of soft drink.  There was a period of rapid growth and popularity and XXX Root Beer Drive-Ins were quickly spread across the continent.  But as fast food establishments emerged they began nudging out the smaller local drive-ins and diners,  XXX began to experience a decline in its number of locations.  

photo above - As is apparent, the interior of XXX is chock full of vintage memorabilia and tons of retro pieces. 

In 1960 it was suspected that Sassafras, an ingredient used in the making of a number of soda fountain drinks, was a carcinogen, therefore the government banned its use in all food and drinks.  Companies were given a one year "grace period"  in which to convert over to safer ingredients.  It took time but eventually  "flavor chemists" were able to find safe alternatives that would keep XXX Root Beer's historic creamy flavor along with the frothy head that draft root beer is noted for.

Photos above and below - More of XXX's interior. One could spend days looking through the place and never see everything that's on display there.  It was truly overwhelming. 

In summation, the fast food chains pretty much took over and now there are but 2 of the old, original XXX  Root Beer drive ins left in existence;  one in Issaquah Washington and the other in Lafayette , Indiana.  These 2  drive ins still use the same creamy tasting, root beer syrup to make their draft Root Beer.  

Photo above - Fantastic vintage jukebox.  You don't see many like these anymore, especially ones that play the old 45's.

If you'd like to read a more in-depth history of XXX  it can be found HERE

Photo above - One enormous gum ball machine.
Photo below - I had my hubby stand next to it to give a perspective of its size. Yep, it's one really big dispenser.

As a side note, the Issaquah XXX Root Beer Drive-In is also well known for its summer car shows as their website can attest to:


  1. I am so enjoying your trip. I have been to this place before. Long long time ago.
    Have a great weekend

  2. Dearest Blogging Friends - When I wrote up the recent posts regarding my hubby's class reunion and our trip out to the West Coast of the USA, I tried something different. I attempted to schedule a couple of posts but messed up, which I am notoriously good at, and I interchanged the scheduling dates so the 2nd post appeared before the 1st post. Unfortunately before I caught my flub, I had gotten a couple of comments. I am now attempting to insert those comments (I truly treasure all my blogger's remarks - other than those of anonymous spammers. )

    1. Here is the comment from the lovely Blogger
      I must admit that I did not like root beer flavor when I was in the US. However, your post was so interesting that I just might reconsider and give it a try on another visit to the US :)

    2. The second comment came from another wonderful Blogger -
      Lakeside Diaries :
      Looks like a fun place to stop! I love all the memorabilia on the walls and it's always neat to visit places with cool stories behind them.

  3. I could kick myself for never exploring Issaquah! What a cool place!! It's been a dream of mine to own a Wurlitzer bubbler jukebox that plays 45s. In the 80s I used to go to record shows and buy tons of 45s from my era of growing up, mid/late 60s through the end of the 70s. I also have lots of 45s from the 80s as well.

  4. This looks like such a fun place to visit! I'm not a big root beer fan but I would certainly try it if I was there. I agree with Nicole...I'm enjoying your trip!

  5. Wow, amazing!! And boy, I would so love to get my hands of that gumball machine. It's been AGES since I had one of those (you know, chewing gum is illegal here lol).

  6. Hi Anna, what a fun adventure you guys went on :)

    I am not a root beer drinker but I am sure I could find something I would enjoy there, just hanging out by the jukebox would be fun :)

    I like everyone else am really enjoying your trip :)

    Cheers, T. :)

  7. I haven't heard of it, I don't think??? My mind is saying maybe I have, but I can't place it!! You've got me totally wanting to try it now though. And lol at the locks...the waitress did have nice shiny hair. ;)


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