By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Now that they’ve finished gutting their space, and their permits are making progress, the fun really begins for the trio planning to open the sports bar/restaurant The Westy Sports and Spirits at 7908 35th SW.
As we saw while visiting partners (from left in top photo) Shane Whittall, Paul Ritums, and JP Vidican on this past week, the 2,500-square-foot, 1955-built space is now gutted “down to the shell,” which yielded some surprises:
“Everything was drywalled” under earlier ownership – a dispensary before this, a TV-repair shop before that – says Paul, but now they’ve uncovered wooden ceiling beams and wall/floor concrete that will be sealed/polished, with a brick bar and custom iron piping added, for a “modern industrial” feel. (See “before” photos on The Westy’s Facebook page.)
With big screens to show sports. Lots of them. About 20, says Shane. And, the partners say, you’ll be able to see them from everywhere – even if you’re out front in that future sidewalk café area – particularly the 75-inch screen that will be at the end of the room, visible from the moment a customer walks in. They’ve been thinking this through in a big way, including zones for sound from separate but simultaneous events: “Not a bad seat in the house.”
The focus will be on local events but they expect to show just about every type of sport, even EuroLeague soccer, even when the games are around sunrise (or sooner) during certain times of the year. Paul points out that every sport has its audience, so they’re looking forward to the Masters and Wimbledon as much as the Super Bowl and World Series. Shane says, “We want to appeal to everyone – a sports bar for everyone.”
In addition to spectator sports, patrons will get to play a bit too: Two skee-ball setups, shuffleboard, and a nine-foot pool table are in the current plan, too.
To get land-use approval, they had to agree to some conditions, including enclosing the space on the alley. So, no patio behind The Westy – but, Paul says they’re hoping to add a sidewalk café out front for next year, and the front window will be a half-rollup, so enjoying fresh air from The Westy won’t be an issue.
Also looking toward the back of the space, the sharp grade change is notable, and that will be handled with a “grand staircase” between the front space (where they expect to seat 95 or so “comfortably” and where the bar will be a focus) and the rear space (where the food will be a focus). By the way, if you haven’t guessed already, this will be an adults-only bar/restaurant.
They expect to hire a chef soon, but already have a “conceptual menu in place,” awaiting refinement and addition from that future hire. “Less grease, more quality,” says Shane. “More refined,” says Paul. Some vegetarian options, some gluten-free, too. “Really good food,” The Westy’s partners all insist, “all at a good value.” Good enough, in both the food and drink categories, that they hope to become a “neighborhood destination” even for the non-sports fans. There will be some hours of the day without a game being played, after all.
And Shane is proud, having been a founder of Löcol Barley and Vine next door, that The Westy “rounds out the block,” including the forthcoming Tap Station on 35th/Kenyon’s SE corner, a project of other Löcol associates: “Just a few years ago, we had nothing (restaurant/bar-wise) in this neighborhood – suddenly we’ll have three destinations, all complementing each other.” And they’re expecting a lot of neighborhood residents to walk and bike; a bicycle rack will be installed, Paul said. Or to take transit – since a bus stop is steps away. The block also includes a dry-cleaners next door and historic Kenyon Hall between Löcol and The Westy.
Before we go, the big question is always – What’s the current projected potential opening date?
This fall, they’ll venture to say – maybe October, November. “When there’ll still be plenty of football!” they smile.