A West Seattle original: Famous bartender turns 70 today

The neon sign beneath which you see West 5’s bartender Jo-Ann Clutcher and proprietor Dave Montoure came from West Seattle’s legendary Admiral Benbow Inn. Jo-Ann worked at the Benbow for 35 years, and was the first hire at West 5 when it opened six years ago, and today, we and her fans are wishing her “Happy 70th Birthday!” Jo-Ann tells us she started out at the Benbow as a waitress, but after only two weeks, the manager told her she needed to handle vacation relief for a bartender – and she wound up sticking with that job till the Benbow closed in 2002: “I just watched how the other bartenders did things and pretty soon I knew how to do the job.” Her secret after three-plus decades of bartending: “You have to love your work.” She works Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and says she loves meeting people, noting that any conversation starting with the question “Where are you from?” always turns out to be a good one. She’s served customers from as far away as Australia, including celebrities – she recalls serving Randy “Big Unit” Johnson a drink when he was still with the Mariners. Biggest change in the overall biz over the years? People drink more responsibly now, she says. Retirement any time soon? Nope.

7 Replies to "A West Seattle original: Famous bartender turns 70 today"

  • Auburn September 11, 2009 (4:46 pm)

    Where do you think she’ll be having her birthday drink(s)? She’s definitely earned one!

  • miws September 11, 2009 (5:45 pm)

    Happy Birthday, Jo-Ann!


    Could you turn on the “Storm”? ;)



  • BORN&RAISED WEST SEATTLEITE September 11, 2009 (6:21 pm)

    Love ya JoJo…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

  • Robin Lieb September 11, 2009 (7:28 pm)

    I really thought I might finally stop in today for real. Jo, you have been on my mind recently, now I know why. I hope those boys are treating you as well as you ought to be. No one, I mean no one can stand up to your skill and charm. Happy Birthday, Love Robin

  • k September 11, 2009 (10:44 pm)

    Happy birthday! No one mixes a drink like our beloved Jo!

  • star55 September 12, 2009 (6:38 pm)

    Happy Birthday Jo, loved working with you at the Benbow when I was in High School, you taught me so much, enjoy!!

  • 4th gen. alki girl September 13, 2009 (8:44 am)

    Hey Jo! Happy Birthday! You don’t look a day over 50!!!! You CAN’T be 70! Ahhhhh…Those were the days at the Benbow….with my dad (Don) and Carlos (LOL! As annoying as he could be…RIP)… Kim, Meg, Julie, Bummer….!!! I’m gonna come see you soon!! Congratulations! Hey….how come I’m not famous from the Red Baron?? Ha! Ha! THAT was a fun place to work too. See you sometime soon.

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