Another closure announced: Alki Tavern’s shutting down

(Photo by Christopher Boffoli)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 6:08 PM: In March of last year, we reported that a stretch of Harbor Avenue including the Alki Tavern‘s site was up for sale, listed for almost $4 million. Tonight, the tavern has announced via Facebook that it’s closing:

Well, it’s finally true… After 38 years the Alki Tavern will be closing on March 17th… St Patrick’s Day. Let’s make these last 3 months unforgettable!

King County property records show transactions including the tavern site within the past two weeks. We’re following up to find out more.

(Inside Alki Tavern tonight)
ADDED 7:17 PM: WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand has just spoken with Alki Tavern manager Gill McLynne, who is the son of its current owners (and has a brother working there too). He confirms that they’re moving because of a pending project, and says the family does not plan to try to re-create the Alki Tavern somewhere else – you can’t duplicate something that’s one of a kind. So between now and St. Patrick’s Day – a closing day they chose because of their Irish heritage, and the fact it was always a big day at the tavern – watch for some special celebratory nights so people can come by and say goodbye, including, he said, nights to honor some of the former bartenders and servers. He estimates as many as 300 people have worked there over the years. Since it’s a family-run business with many regular customers, it’ll be sad to say goodbye, he said, but he and his family will work to make the final few months special for the regulars as well as for the whole neighborhood.

ADDED 9:36 PM: County records show the sale spanning two transactions on December 21 and 24, with Salty’s Properties listed as selling the entire site to YMSA Co. Ltd. for $3.2 million in one transaction on the 21st (the same day YMSA registered with the state, listing its company directors as two people with addresses in Korea), and the tavern owners’ interests deeded to Salty’s Properties for $392,000 on the 24th. We could not find any specific development proposal filed online so far for any part of the site, though there were land-use consultations in fall of 2011; the land is zoned for up to 65 feet (six stories).

90 Replies to "Another closure announced: Alki Tavern's shutting down"

  • West Seattle Hipster January 2, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    Let me guess……condos?

  • Twobottles January 2, 2013 (6:33 pm)

    At least (I hope) we’ll still have Poogie’s :-)

  • Guy January 2, 2013 (6:33 pm)

    Awesome! More condos!!!

    • WSB January 2, 2013 (6:47 pm)

      I’m checking the planning records – haven’t found an obvious application yet but will be adding everything we come up with.

  • brin January 2, 2013 (6:52 pm)

    That is horrible news. One of the best dive bars ever.

  • G January 2, 2013 (7:04 pm)

    Some “dives” are welcoming, homey places with warm people, like Poggies. I never got that impression from Alki Tavern.

  • Dave January 2, 2013 (7:07 pm)

    Many memories, all good. Good luck trying to build anything on that site with the fill they dumped there to rid the tideland in early 1900’s.

  • burglarbustindad January 2, 2013 (7:33 pm)

    Say it ain’t so!

  • sna January 2, 2013 (7:44 pm)

    They paid $3.2m for two buildings and the vacant lot. I’m guessing they did a little research on what they can build there.

    • WSB January 2, 2013 (7:53 pm)

      Yes, there’s a land-use intake appointment on the records with some specific questions. Just no specific project officially applied for yet, though we’re checking every address on the site to be sure, before adding our summary of what’s in the records. – TR

  • Matt January 2, 2013 (7:54 pm)

    Damn, I might cry at one of the most special St. Patrick’s Day celebrations of the year, if I can even get in the door.

  • DM January 2, 2013 (7:57 pm)

    Nooooooooooo!!!!! I’m going to miss that window seat, looking at the view of the city, laughing with friends! The Alki has such a great relaxed feel. Inviting, always friendly, funky and unpretentious. And, those wood paneled walls have a lot of history. I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts.

  • Guy January 2, 2013 (8:04 pm)

    G-“warm people at The Poggie”? Really, most of them look like you need to check their pulse. Or they want to sell you crack.

  • Chris January 2, 2013 (8:32 pm)

    Isn’t there something that can be done about future zoning? Is condo growth best for the general public???

  • Beachcreep January 2, 2013 (8:43 pm)

    You’re just the man to check those pulses…

  • E January 2, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    West Seattle is changing… And not for the better. 10 years here and I don’t care for it anymore.

  • Butch January 2, 2013 (8:50 pm)

    I loved that place and I have nothing but good things to say about that family. Sad to see this fine establishment be bull dozed for another high rise. Guy let’s riot

  • Nancy January 2, 2013 (8:53 pm)

    Developers have killed West Seattle; particularly Alki. The high-rise condo owners may steal the view, but they’ll never have the special vibe that went with the special neighbors they drove out.

  • eaglewatch January 2, 2013 (8:55 pm)

    I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years and never done more than looked in the door. That was enough. Not my idea of “atmosphere”.

  • Barnabas January 2, 2013 (9:24 pm)

    So sad to see this Alki Icon leave.It’s my favorite dive.

  • Tony S January 2, 2013 (9:28 pm)

    Some of the best bathroom graffiti in history.

  • sha January 2, 2013 (9:39 pm)

    Eaglewatch… Just curious to where do you go thats an awesome dive bar? I cant say i loved the place to go there alot it did have a special atmosphere that a dive bar should. And will miss the great deals on cheap tacos. I enjoyed and will miss! I have to agree West Seattle is becoming less of what it was. Its sad.

  • Guy January 2, 2013 (9:50 pm)

    Has anyone ever met the owner of Saltys? Reminds me of Richard Crenna in “Summer Rental”. And “Eaglewatch” sorry there wasn’t a place to hang your Nordic Walking Poles. Maybe you would have made some friends, with your lovely attitude.

  • WTF January 2, 2013 (9:53 pm)

    So sorry Jr. :( I hope you guys can open up in another corner of WS.

    My stomach turned just reading the update on who bought the property!

  • Westside J. January 2, 2013 (9:54 pm)

    THAT SUCKS. That place had been there since my parents were young. And I suspect it is just gonna be more condos that most of us born & raised, multiple-gen WSites will never live in. Rad.

    There just isn’t very much West Seattle in West Seattle anymore. :(

  • Diane January 2, 2013 (9:57 pm)

    @eaglewatch; same here; I’ve been in WS 13 yrs, and never even looked in the door; may have to go see what’s inside before it’s gone
    I loved the Thai restaurant next door; best view/good food; long gone

  • Robert January 2, 2013 (10:12 pm)

    E – 10 years? Wow! If a dive bar being put out of business is what it takes to send you over the threshold, maybe you should try moving to Federal Way. You should be covered there for dive bars there for another 100 years.

    Nancy – What view are they stealing? There is 200 feet of vertical dirt….behind it.

    What’s unsettling is it is being purchased by Far East investors which is becoming all to common here for hotels and condos. Too bad we don’t have local investors in the mix.

  • pjmanley January 2, 2013 (10:12 pm)

    After 21 years of going there, the Lorax fable comes to life and finally devours the Alki. Hardly newsworthy anymore. When they came for Fremont, we did nothing. When they came for Ballard, we did nothing. As they plunder the skies, sunlight, and views throughout the Junction, we have neither the means, methods or will to meaningfully object to “increased tax bases and revenues” as though the ROI is never negative. Now, as they come for what’s left of Alki, there are too few left to object. What do we expect when we do not value enough what we have? Welcome to the new Seattle, Emerging Center of the Homogenized, Beige Universe. Differences be gone. The herd prefers the security of marching in unison, regardless of its destination. RIP Free Expression; Hello keeping up with Joneses. Sad, inevitable, or both?

  • rocky raccoon January 2, 2013 (10:45 pm)


  • Ryan January 2, 2013 (10:50 pm)

    I’ve lived on Alki for a year now. Never set foot in AT. I actually moved from Federal way. We have to move because they are building condos where our house sits

  • Alki Resident January 2, 2013 (11:13 pm)

    I’m dumbfounded and sad that locals couldn’t buy this land. Before you know it, everything will be owned by Japan ,China and Korea around here. Scary thought.

  • datamuse January 2, 2013 (11:15 pm)

    Well, Robert, when I visited the Far East a lot of the resort hotels and fancy properties seemed to be owned by European investors…
    Some of y’all seem prepared to hate your new neighbors because they’ll dare to live in condos. Geez.

  • martha January 2, 2013 (11:26 pm)

    Only went there once but was always fascinated by the place. It is surely a local treasure. Nothing lasts forever. Especially on the West Seattle waterfront.

  • WTF January 2, 2013 (11:28 pm)

    @pjmanle, well said.
    In answer, both.

  • DK January 2, 2013 (11:46 pm)

    Owner sold the dirt a long time ago, this has been coming for some time. Details here:

  • R. Scott January 3, 2013 (12:19 am)

    I met my ex-wife there… Bittersweet.

  • eaglawatch January 3, 2013 (1:36 am)

    One look in the door was enough for me – working class ruffians with soiled clothing, many straight from their dreary jobs no doubt, probably smokers among them, impolite and loud talk, pool tables, questionable women, probably a dreadful wine list, unless ones prefers the boxed variety, which leads to lewd dancing, and probably more unimaginable vulgarity and debauchy type things, sweat, odors, music that leads to more distasteful stuff I will have nightmares about now that I have written these words, which I will always regret, but will be forever grateful that I had the character not to actually look in the door and see. Oh no my dear eagle watching pure of heart friends, we will be a better world without that kind of place and the unwashed ilk that patronize it, and the shame I feel knowing that I looked at that door, and the awful temptations that pulled at my darker angels as a result, and caused impure thoughts to possess parts of me I don’t like to think much about, and all that other dark stuff I find so distasteful, and hate myself for thinking about as well.

  • Candace McCutcheon January 3, 2013 (2:05 am)

    That’s so sad. I’m allergic to booze, (They have great soda though!) but I loved listening to music there — lots of my friends play music at that venue. I was planning on possibly doing a gig there. How disappointing. I’ll miss going there to enjoy local musicians — like Marc Smason’s big horn section band — what a great space for that fun group. There aren’t enough music venues as it is. The Alki Tavern will be missed. Hey Eaglewatch — Does this mean that I am a questionable woman? I don’t even drink. I just love listening to and performing music. I think the eagles might even like my singing. I know the birds on my back deck love it when I sing…at least I have a few fans anyway!

  • eaglawarch January 3, 2013 (2:23 am)

    Candace – You may not drink but the road to perdition is lined with prideful singers. So yes, you are probably, and sadly, unquestionably a questionable woman.

  • G January 3, 2013 (7:12 am)

    Even going to “dive” bars is a trendy fad.

  • will o wisp January 3, 2013 (7:17 am)

    The last of the Alki dives. I remember the Blew Eagle, the Climax Tavern and the Embers. I will have to visit at least once before March 17.

  • Wendell January 3, 2013 (7:26 am)

    Maybe they’ll dig a big hole and put a couple of grocery stores next to it.

  • And Now For Something Completely Different January 3, 2013 (7:30 am)

    Sad to see a funky local place go. But what are you doing to do. Welcome to what everyone claims they want, a free market economy. It’s private land, they’re welcome to sell it, and land goes to the highest bidder/buyer…and for the use that makes the most money, probably a 6 story condo. I know folks bitch about that, but welcome to an economy. Things change. They had a GOOD LONG run (half of restaurant/bars last a year). I (like many people) was sad to see the old Alki Fish & Chips go down the street, but…others will love the new place and have fond memories of THAT in a year or two, and then get all sad when IT leaves someday.

    Take the Buddhist view on change, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

  • FionaEnzo January 3, 2013 (7:36 am)

    Shakingy puny fist at all the homogenization. Boring. Ugly. Unimaginative.
    I miss Dog Meats in West Seattle. I have one of their tshirts.

  • Kayleigh January 3, 2013 (7:41 am)

    I miss lots of things about old West Seattle (and old Seattle generally), but the decline of dive bars doesn’t distress me.
    Eaglewatch, that dramatic post is my new favorite post ever on this blog. Thank you. :)

  • T-Rex January 3, 2013 (8:07 am)

    I second that Kayleigh, in fact it is so good it sounds like something Kramer would have said on his radio program on the old sitcom! And I mean that in a good way.

    I will say the Alki Tavern was not my place of choice to have a beer on a warm summer evening, but sad nonetheless.

  • Bob January 3, 2013 (8:12 am)

    Maybe they could move to Chuck&Sally’s all they would have to do is change the name if Jimmie would allow them!

  • fiz January 3, 2013 (8:46 am)

    Anyone remember the Riverside Tav?

  • bridge to somewhere January 3, 2013 (8:48 am)

    won’t someone please think of the children?

  • Pete January 3, 2013 (9:03 am)

    E- I agree with you. Actually I agree with many comments on here about Seattle changing. Actually, it has changed and not for the better in the last 20 years. After Seattle was “found” in the ’90’s it has just becoming more and more ‘trendy’ spot to be with less and less of the cool working class factor. Gone are the hip joints only to replaced with condos, apartment bldgs and ‘chic’ shops that sell the same trinkets that the other ‘chic’ shops sell. It is gentrification run amuck! I saw it happen in Fremont. Ballard is a mere shadow of what is use to be, and W. Seattle is rapidly becoming an overbuilt and overpriced pit. I’m sure Georgetown will be next on the stop of this city losing its character.

  • Greg January 3, 2013 (9:18 am)

    Eaglewatch. I don’t know what happened to you as a child but. GET OVER IT.
    Get your velvety posterior out of town. Doubt you ever worked a day in your life.

  • Anacortesnow January 3, 2013 (9:20 am)

    The Riverside-to-Climax was Jerry (faux-redrobin) Kingen’s first WS “makeover” in ’64-65. I hated that one and every one since

  • let them swim January 3, 2013 (9:50 am)

    Was the Riverside Pre-Climax on the south side of the east bound traffic leaving W.S.?

  • fiz January 3, 2013 (9:55 am)

    Yes. It sort of hung off the side of the old bridge.

  • pjmanley January 3, 2013 (10:02 am)

    Perfect, EagleWatch. Perfect. And I’m comforted that our ilk can still condescend to the ilk in Federal Way or White Center. Because, those people, ya know…

  • pjmanley January 3, 2013 (10:04 am)

    @BridgeToSomewhere: We do think of the children! We give them pocket-parks to look at!

  • Trevor January 3, 2013 (10:17 am)

    I remember riding my “newish” harley down to Taco Thursdays in the early 90s. What a scene that used to be. Good times… now I’m too old to go bar hopping on the scoot but I still have the bike! Sad to see the place go, but how much income can a business owner make selling cheap beer? I’m with Bob – Chuck and Sally’s needs a new tenant.

  • stephanie January 3, 2013 (11:10 am)

    Get with it people. Seattle is growing if you didn’t notice. It is bound to happen no matter what. I don’t like all the condos too but this is growth. It can’t stay small forever. Now we just need to get the rest of Seattle to agree that growth is coming and build some light rail (20 yrs after the fact) which is way over due because of this same attitude.

  • Laurie January 3, 2013 (11:15 am)

    Eaglawatch (with an “a”), you made my day. Thanks!

  • BlairJ January 3, 2013 (11:37 am)

    Looks like I’ll have to visit yet another disappearing dive bar and try to remember if I’d ever been there before…

  • eaglawatch January 3, 2013 (11:45 am)

    Greg – It was a satirical response to an earlier and preciously snobby Thurston Howell-ingly funny knickers way too tight pickle puss shudder to think what people in a place like that might be doing comment. So settle down, I’m on your side.
    But the ‘velvety posterior’ comment was a good one and reminds me of one of my favorite jokes: A guy with a velvety posterior walks into a bar and says ‘Hey, Bartender, I’d like a Black Velvet on the rocks?’ And the bartender says ‘Sorry, Pal. This isn’t the kind of place that would waste good whiskey on something like that.’

  • Mike January 3, 2013 (11:45 am)

    Yes, the questionable Ladies, met more than a few there;) and to those of you “Locals” who never ventured in- Thanks

  • anti-obstruction January 3, 2013 (12:16 pm)

    Some very creative writing here, and also some misinterpreted attempts at humor, I do believe.

  • steve January 3, 2013 (12:18 pm)

    good luck to the tavern, i’ve lived here 3years and never felt the need to visit. so not missing anything!

    maybe they’ll put in some condos with ground floor retail. then the retail will stay empty for ever as the rent is too dang high.

  • notwinkieshere January 3, 2013 (12:27 pm)

    Good Riddance!

  • lynn January 3, 2013 (12:37 pm)

    OH MAN, this is so very sad. Standing outside at dusk and listening to the sea lions barking at each other with the beautiful skyline in the back is something special indeed. Lou’s wings! I have taken so many travelers here for a beer and the view, all of them have been blown away. Gilly, thanks for a few decades of fantastic memories!

  • Uncle K January 3, 2013 (12:52 pm)

    will o wist – “I remember the Blew Eagle, the Climax Tavern and the Embers.” But somehow, you forgot about the Surfer.

  • T-Rex January 3, 2013 (1:46 pm)

    opps, I meant Fraizer! Wrong decade!

  • Ex-Westwood Resident January 3, 2013 (2:55 pm)

    What is with all of you!!!!
    Don’t you know this is the sign of PROGRESS!!!
    I thought WS was a bastion of progressive thinking. This is the EXACT thing we need. Think about all the new people moving to the area, think about the new taxes that will fund the programs that are sorely needed. Think of the increased bus riders which translates to move revenues for Metro.
    It pains me to see the remarks that are against this. Afterall, all we are doing is getting rid of a blight in the neighborhood and replacing it with something beautiful that will enhance the area.
    LOL!!!! OK sometime I crack myself up. I agree with all of you. Alki Tavern closing down is just one more local flavor establishment driven out by the developers.
    The city leaders that allow this are re-elected time and time again. The people of Seattle have done this to themselves

  • bianca January 3, 2013 (3:59 pm)

    ;) @ bridge to somewhere. makes me smile every time.

  • SrslySharon January 3, 2013 (4:04 pm)

    I quit caring when the Jigsaw closed.

  • villagegreen January 3, 2013 (4:30 pm)

    What about the closed Shipwreck location? That would be perfect!

  • monroe1200 January 3, 2013 (4:38 pm)

    pjmanley – Well said, well said.

  • Sj January 3, 2013 (4:50 pm)

    I have had some good times in there. Tailgating before catching a Mariners game. Stopping there and drinking a pitcher instead of running 5 miles. It was a great place with lots of history, but at the same time it was inevitably going to have to go.

    Anyone who’s been to Waikiki might remember davey jones locker. Condos or no condos they were going to go out of business sooner or later. It’s like easy street records; love them, but its inevitable.

  • aparent January 3, 2013 (5:12 pm)

    The Alki Tavern is cool. Where else can you find such a place with such a view! It’s one of the few placed in the city I can take my brother when he visits. It was also a great landmark to shoot for when you are running on Alki and you hate to run. I don’t blame them for selling and retiring…how can you pass up such a lucrative opportunity.

    It is weird though, that with all the development, our libraries are closed early and the schools are still desperately in need of repair. Too bad we can’t add ‘strings’ to new development to earmark the ‘revenue’ created. Example, we vote, “yes” and that means a new building for Arbor Heights.

  • pjmanley January 3, 2013 (5:53 pm)

    Growth is inevitable, no doubt. But do the fees and taxes generated by the growth offset the impacts and costs of the growth to the community? We don’t ask that question often enough, and accept cute “mitigation measures” like pocket parks, which sit empty most of the time, and haven’t room enough to toss a ball or frisbee in. May as well be cemeteries for all you can’t do in them. What about setting aside some larger green spaces for the quality of life of kids and young adults who will live in those condos? Anyone? We are growing alright, but not smartly. And do these projects pay for themselves over time? Lets see the real numbers before we genuflect to yet another beige box in W.S. As Edward Abbey said: “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the Cancer Cell.”

  • beccab January 3, 2013 (6:28 pm)

    Such sad news. The “AT” is definitely a W. Seattle “Institution” and will be missed. For those of you who haven’t experienced the Seattle sunset from the front windows of the AT while enjoying a nice frosty one, you have been deprived. I recall walking past the AT on a Taco Thursday when I first moved to Alki some 20 years ago and feeling a bit put-off and scared of herd of Harleys. I eventually ventured in and was made to feel so at home by “the keep” and other Alki-ites, that I went there often and have so many fond memories of the place. Sitting at the bar talking to an architect friend changed my life as he encouraged me to become an interior designer, which I did. My bestie also met her husband there. And I

  • bridge to somewhere January 3, 2013 (7:09 pm)

    @bianca: happy to oblige!

  • Chachi January 3, 2013 (8:50 pm)

    What a fn loss. That bar had more character than Rodney D. Going to miss the cheap eats, dingy feel and great people.

  • Mantaray January 4, 2013 (7:46 am)

    In all the pearl clutching going on here, lets not overlook that the owners cashed out, and no wonder.

  • MarkO January 4, 2013 (11:12 am)

    What a horrible loss! There is enough history of all the people who have spent significant hours of their lives at the Alki Tavern to declare it a National Historic Site. Since the location will continue to have a retail presence is there any open that something like it could still be there in the future?

  • sgs January 4, 2013 (12:39 pm)

    I’m just thinking about the example of Mr. Ercolini who had some valuable property that he could have cashed out to the top bidder but instead put some thought into community use and now we have a great park instead of 6 skinny houses. We’ve got plenty of condos, etc. and it would be great to keep some of the last remaining gems for everyone to enjoy.

  • Swc January 4, 2013 (4:32 pm)

    Well to all the folks who are freshly squeezed yuppie, homogeneous, boring, trust funders. Move back to California or the East side. I bet you hate Jazz and Blues too. Look Jeffery theres a turd in my Audi. Get some life experiences, or if you feel like your one of the chanting meditation types. I hope you really got bruised and unwashed on your way to enlightenment! Other wise go ruin some other towns like your type did to every mountain, beach, desert town in the last 30 years.

  • Cheryl M January 5, 2013 (10:01 am)

    Thank you Kathy, Gill, little Gill and brother – for years of taco Thursday, St. Patties Day feasts, scrumptious tacos …. we Harley riders say, “Everyone meets at the Alki.” And we did. Almost all of my current motorcycling friends, I met at or through friends of the Alki Tavern. RIP! I used to live in W. Seattle and can hardly stand going over there anymore. It’s changed so much.

  • Cheryl M January 5, 2013 (10:03 am)

    Mantaray .. the owners are retiring. Cashing out gives them something to live on besides the government.

  • SUNSHINE January 5, 2013 (5:11 pm)

    The Alki Tavern owners aren’t cashing out! Their landlord, Gerry Kingen, is selling the property.

    The owners of the AT haven’t owned the property it sits on for decades. They’re a hard-working, modest family.

  • Deborah Machon January 6, 2013 (2:42 pm)

    West Seattle is being turned into Velveeta cheese by men wearing suits who have no idea who Andy Warhol is…I’m moving to Portland.

  • CD Ox January 7, 2013 (5:07 am)

    Enjoyed many an afternoon there!! Met interesting, life long friends, RIP Alki Tav!

  • Donna January 8, 2013 (1:26 pm)

    I love the Alki Tavern! The patrons were not always the unsavory types you assume! I am a commercial airline pilot and I skate most Tuesdays with a group of Boeing engneers, and we always ended up at the Alki Tavern for a whimpey burger and brews! The staff is awesome and we will truly miss our Tuesday evenings spent in this dive!

  • Lucy January 9, 2013 (12:33 pm)

    If you have never been privileged enough to be one of the Alki “questionable women”, then you will never understand this huge loss. I will long for those “questionable woman” days the rest of my life as the memories, friendships and crazy fun times at the Akli Tavern, since the day it opened, have never been questionable. They will always be cherished. Down to the Alki, bump-d-bump-d-bump!

Sorry, comment time is over.