Mystery Soda Machine – Seattle, Washington - Gastro Obscura
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Gastro Obscura

Mystery Soda Machine

An old vending machine serves up unpredictable beverages from its seemingly magical insides.  

Sorry, Mystery Soda Machine is permanently closed.

A contraption out of time, Seattle’s Mystery Soda Machine dispenses cans of sugary pop for just 75 cents, and while no one knows who stocks this aging landmark, the real question is what it will spit out when the “Mystery” button is pressed.

On the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East, in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood lies the world’s most mysterious soda vending machine. Nobody knows the true history of the rusting machine, which looks like it was spat straight out of the Seventies, but locals continue to plunk down their change and the machine never seems to run out of stock. Who first installed the outdoor machine, who stocks it, and who collects the money are all a mystery. 

The modern antique offers a comparatively limited selection of drinks with yellowed plastic buttons offering Coke, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, and Barq’s, but the intriguing button marked “Mystery” generally produces none of these. According to one report, after spending five dollars in change on the mystery button, the machine produced six different brands of soda, none of which had their own button on the machine.

UPDATE: The machine has been upgraded so now every button provides mystery!

Given the air of the unknown that surrounds the vending relic, many locals have tried to divine the origins of the machine and its endless wellspring of name-brand soda, but so far no answers have been forthcoming, no matter how many times the “Mystery” button is pressed.

Update July 2018: It appears the mysteries of the Mystery Soda Machine are continuing. The machine is missing, and it’s unknown who took it or why.

Update June 2019:  The mystery soda machine is missing from its previous home in front of the locksmith, and has yet to return.

Know Before You Go

It's no longer giving sugary pops or old cans. Look for the locksmith's shop. It's outside the shop. There's a nice park one block away to enjoy your soda in. If you're facing the machine, turn 180 degrees and walk one block, and you're there. As of May 2018, the machine is broken. Coins slots have been vandalized, and the machine doesn't seem to catch all coins properly.

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