THE PAPERMILL OPENED in 1907 as a general store and was eventually named for the paper mill (the first on the West Coast) that was then operating at what is now Samuel P. Taylor State Park. During Prohibition, the building functioned as a soda fountain/ ice cream shop, but in 1937, milk shakes were tossed out in favor of alcohol. “The whole back-bar wood construction is from 1937, but the actual bar and floors and most of the building are original from 1907,” says manager Jared Litwin. Thomasina Wilson purchased the bar, then known simply as “The Lodge,” in 1967; at the time, Janis Joplin and the Holding Company were Lagunitas residents and regular patrons. Wilson succeeded in transforming the once-rough bar into the cozy dive that it is today. “Thomasina turned 90 this November,” says Litwin. “And she is definitely still the boss.”
WHAT THEY SAY
Jared Litwin, manager
Is Papermill a dive bar? I would consider the Papermill a dive bar. I don’t think that’s a bad thing like perhaps it once was — dive bars are endearing in a way, and sought out.
Your definition of a dive bar? Unpretentious, funky and definitely old. Independently owned and operated. No Wi-Fi, only one kind of wine.
Describe the Papermill. A rustic spot for friends to gather; everyone really does know your name. We’re like a family, but don’t worry — we are welcoming to outsiders.
DIVE BAR CHECKLIST
Games? Two pool tables.
Celebrity photos? Yes.
TV is always on? Usually, yes.
PBR available? Yes.
Muddled cocktails? No.
Fake fireplace? We have a real fireplace.
Food served in bags? No.
Papermill T-shirts? Not yet, but I’m trying to make that happen.
Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.