Company Bar: The Revenant?

White Center is the crazy, we-are-who-we-are, no bs, we-don’t-care-where-you-bought-your-yoga-clothes community where Company Bar lives. The neighborhood is scrappy, hard-working, and about to hit the big time. companybarWhen you want a neighborhood to come to life, schools and small business are the engine. Company Bar provides some of the fuel for that engine….delicious fuel. And lots of music.

I like all kinds of bars, but I especially like the kind where I can sit at the bar just people-watching, and chatting with strangers while waiting for my friends. In fact, I usually get to bars early just so I can have some solitude to do that. Company Bar is one of those. The people behind the bar are welcoming and friendly—clearly, they love it, they want us to love, and, we love it!

Which brings me to the title (The Revenant?). Company Bar has been an anchor business in White Center since 2011. A couple weeks ago, the owner Jesse Lovell announced on Facebook that he’s closing his doors, and looking for a new owner: “February 29th will be our last day and I will do everything I can to facilitate a smooth transition for the bar to reopen quickly under new ownership.”

Darn it. We stopped by on Thursday, and the bartender told us “it was looking hopeful, but no transaction has taken place.” I messaged Jesse today and hope to hear good news. I’ll update this post if I hear there’s a new owner (or, if you hear anything, message us on our FB page). I hope this post is an announcement, not an obituary.

# 3 of 100 Things I Love about Seattle

RandomSeattleHeader1080x2301.jpg RandomSeattleHeader1080x230.jpgIMG_20160218_152532The Frye is a treasure right in the middle of our pretty city. It’s a sea of rectangles formed by cement, glass, and water, with a cylindrical tower jutting out of it.

When I asked a friend what one of her favorite places in Seattle was, she replied “Frye Art Museum.” It took me a couple seconds to place it in my mental map of the city. Although I moved here in the late 90’s, I’d never visited. Never. If you’ve been to the Frye, you’re probably wide-eyed, can’t-believe-it stunned that my recent trip there was my first.

One of the visiting exhibits right now is by Cris Bruch. He’s created spare, modest shapes that evoke a vague sense of usefulness, even if you don’t know for what use they’re intended. In exhibit notes, Bruch himself says the objects he’s created don’t have a specific use, but rather the materials and shapes are suggestive of farming and ranching work in the Great Plains. His pieces are an organic fit for the Frye, which seems built for thoughtful, 3-dimensional works like Bruch’s.

The most surprising part of my visit was serendipitously walking into a large room in back of the Frye. It’s four walls are full of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century portraits and landscapes. They’re part of the permanent collection. They fill up the walls, with only tiny gaps between frames, which are fitted together like puzzle pieces.

None of them have accompanying descriptions, which was weird. The effect of having so many paintings so closely juxtaposed was good, but I always like to know about the artists. A few of the paintings are truly masterpieces. Some are sweet and amateurish. Such an odd-fish collection, but I love it. But please, Frye, add names and info about artists!

In an increasingly expensive city, the Frye is free. Parking is free, and plentiful, in a lot right across the street.

Walk and Drink: Westcrest Park, Dubsea Coffee, and Noble Barton

Seems like many people live in Seattle because they love the outdoors. At least, that’s what they tell me. If that’s your line, prove it! One great place to build your evidence is Westcrest Park.


Westcrest is a large, diverse green space in large and diverse White Center. It has an amazing grassy playground on a hill, with a great panoramic view of the city skyline. If you have kids, make note that the expansive playground has a couple ziplines. Next time I go I might just elbow the toddlers aside and take a spin. What are they going to do, tell on me?

There’s also an off-leash dog area, and a community p-patch. Much of Westcrest is also woods, full of walking paths and with a sense of silence and ancient growth that’s hard to find in any city. As with a lot of Seattle green space, I’m left wondering why city dwellers aren’t heading here in droves. Don’t make me wonder any longer—come check it out. And bring your friends, your dogs or your kids.

The first few years I lived in Seattle, White Center was a no-man’s land for me. Most of my friends and neighbors had never been there. They had warned me about the supposed high crime and generalized anxiety of it being a “depressing area”.

There’s a bit of truth with the crime concern, as it’s higher here as opposed to some other Seattle neighborhoods. Then again, I’ve been coming to the neighborhood for several years, and other than running into friendly neighbors and business owners, I’ve had zero run-ins with nefarious no-goodniks.

And it’s in no way a “depressing area”. It has amazing natural beauty, pretty houses and buildings, fun small businesses, and, keeping with the title of this post, places to DRINK. So let’s say you’ve made it to Westcrest Park. You’ve run your dogs, walked with your friends, elbowed kids aside to ride the zipline, laid in the sun or rain, and maybe stolen a cherry tomato from the community p-patch. Now you think you’re ready to get walking to the “Drink” part of “Walk and Drink.”

A ton of good choices for you in White Center. The two we made while “researching” this post: Dubsea Coffee and also the bar/restaurant Noble Barton. Dubsea Coffee has a sleek, industrial-y interior with 2-D and 3-D art from local artists scattered on shelves and walls. They serve Stumptown Coffee. They have pastries from Macrina, among others. This is a great place to spend some time, and to get coffee for the sucker who’s driving you home after you drink at…

….Noble Barton. It’s on the main drag in White Center, and opened in the last year. NobleBartonBarShotThese are the same owners who run Jules Maes in Georgetown. They have beer, wine, cocktails, food, outdoor seating…what don’t they have?? Noble Barton also has a row of old-school arcade games in a backroom. Not really my thing, but if it’s yours, you’ll be that much happier when you visit.

Besides DRINK, we had the reuben, the soup of the day (vegie—lentil—sausage), and bacon burger. No, we’re not vegetarians, and yes, it was all delicious. Next time, I’m trying the falafel. And there will be many next times for me in White Center.


Walk and Eat: Disco Park

I love walking to wherever I’m going for dinner or drinks in the evening. Or, eating and then walking. Or, best of all, the expanded program: walking, eating, and watching the sunset. Pick up food, walk somewhere, and have a pick-a-nick while watching the sunset. I have one secret Seattle place where I do that often, and I’m sorry, but I’ll never reveal it. But a second place I love to go, and that I will share, is Discovery Park in Magnolia.


Disco Park is a huge and amazing green space in our beautiful city. There are lots of walking trails, and many places where you can access the shore. To watch the sunset, find your way to the beach—here’s a map of the trails. Every time I go not only do I think “why don’t I come here more often?” I also am amazed that so few other people are around. I think Seattleites forget about it because it’s tucked away in Magnolia.

To cover the “eat” part of “walk and eat”, if you’re walking through Magnolia, pick up some yums at Ichiro Sushi and Teriyaki. Or, if you’re coming through Ballard, get a burger or whatnot at The Sloop. From Ballard, you can walk through Chittenden Locks park and over the bridge to get to Disco.

It might be a bit creepy after sunset. So, go with friends. Or like a friend of mine told me, if someone gets in your space, punch them as hard as you can and then run like hell. Either way, take advantage of this great outdoor space in Seattle.

You’ll get exercise, great food, and a gorgeous sunset. And you’ll officially be part of the “eat and walk” program.

# 22 of 100 Things I Love about Seattle

BallardRailwayStation2When I was looking for my first home in Ballard in 2005, I got lost. On NW 57th St where it hits 37th Place NW, I turned south onto a gravel and dirt road to turn my car around. What I found made me fall in love forever with Ballard. It was the train station pictured here.

Seeing that sign and station suddenly connected Ballard integrally with the rest of the continent. It made Ballard both a sweet neighborhood, and the portal to parts far away.


I’m looking into specific plans for this train stop and will write more about that soon. If you’re curious, you can read a bit about Washington State rail plans here.  In the meantime, I love thinking about the possibility of walking from my house to this platform and stepping aboard a train that takes me where ever I want to go.

(Photos by Ed McKillop)


# 42 of 100 Things I Love about Seattle

 Golden_GardensGolden Gardens is a magic kingdom of space and ocean. It’s fun in the summer. You can even build a fire and sneak in alcohol (although you didn’t hear it from me).

But it’s now, in the Seattle winter, that it’s at peak visiting time. Depending on the time of day and the weather, you can sometimes have the beach to yourself. I can even handle the drizzle and gray when I’m there—it makes sense at Golden Gardens. So if the weather is giving you SAD, take a field trip here. (Photo by Joe Mabel.)

A Viking Funeral

Ballard’s Viking Tavern closed, at the age of 53, on May 1, 2013. I was sad to see it go. There were the obvious things I loved about the Viking: It was close to my home. Visitors could tie their dog up outside and keep an eye on it through the large picture window. Sometimes those same dogs could sneak into the bar with impunity. It had bar stools and vinyl booths whose authenticity mocked the doofus hipsters who found it all ironic. You could get a drink for $5 or so. The pulled pork sandies were so delicious, and made more so by the pickle spear on the side.


Those were the obvious loveable bits. The less obvious was it being a friendly, unpretentious, and inexpensive place in a neighborhood that is beginning to struggle on two of those counts. I will give that Ballard is still a very friendly neighborhood. I love my neighbors. But it’s become expensive and a bit pretentious. No longer a welcome place for the working class people who settled it for many long decades, while Ballard was home to fishermen, builders, shingle makers, and all manner of skilled workers. You know—the people who know how to make the things and fix the things that make our comfortable lifestyle possible.

Full disclosure: I’m one of the yuppies who moved into this neighborhood and made it more expensive for everyone. Three years ago, I paid way too much for my tiny and adorable house. Before that, I was a renter in Ballard.

Sidenote: With that mea culpa on the books, I’d like to partially redeem myself by sharing that I unyuppified myself a bit by quitting my stressful and joyless corporate gig last year. Like a smoker who quit the habit before dying, I naturally bore all and sundry by encouraging them to quit their corporate gigs also.

But if you’re one of those who doesn’t have a white collar job, or wishes you didn’t, you might be feeling squeezed out by high housing and entertainment costs in Ballard. The Viking was a remedy to that. Just a fun place to relax and talk to friends and strangers, without spending a ton.

If you’re in the mood for the Viking atmosphere, I’m happy to say there are still a very few places left in Ballard to cater to you. (And, readers, if you know of more, list them in comments!):

The Sloop: I love this place. The fish fry is pretty darn ok. As is the one-liter Sloopersized beer. Although the Viking can’t be replaced, this is a good alternative.

Vera’s: An old school diner with all the foods you’d expect. Lots of regulars seem to come here for breakfast.

Ballard Smoke Shop: Both a diner and a dive bar. Theoretically, you could come for early breakfast and stay to drink all day. The place only closes from 2 am to 6 am.

Like all good things, the Viking lives on in memory.

–Carola Klass

Random Night Out

We love cities. And we love Seattle.  We’re two friends who were out drinking one night, and decided to share our love of all random things Seattle. Sure, we were out at a bar, but we do all kinds of things in and around the city. We’re going to write about them. And we hope you write back! Add comments whenever you want, we’d love to read them.

You might be asking: “What bar were you at (perhaps drinking a bit too heavily) when you decided to create this blog?” Star Brass Works Lounge in Georgetown. Georgetown is the best—gritty, friendly, low-key, with a good urban vibe. I’m guessing you already know the area. If you don’t, no need to admit it—just take a quick look at this map (the red star marks Star Brass Works Lounge).


Eric was our bartender. In the piccie, he’s just about to work one of his best magic tricks: pouring a drink. All kinds of friendly people were at the bar that night. One man, though, won the triple crown of bar prizes: most drunk, most talkative, and most opinionated. The opinionated came into play when he started disparaging high consumption of crap in our society, especially around Christmas. We agreed with him on that.

He was just talking crap, and some ideas might have gotten lost or mistranslated in the slurring of words. The real moral of this story is: when you’re out and about in Seattle, talk to your fellow citizens. If you do it while you’re at a bar, you’re also spending money locally. Way better than supporting high consumption by buying weird, mass-produced items. That’s right, what I’m saying is, going out drinking is a great way to support Seattle.


To sum up our first post: visit Star Brass Works Lounge! While you’re at it, take a walk around Georgetown. Let us know what you think.

Cheers to a random 2014 in Seattle!

–Carola Klass