It’s been a long wait, with a few bumps on the road, but one more eating and drinking establishment is opening tonight at 8 p.m. on Beacon Hill: The Oak.
Owner Lisa tells us that the Oak (3019 Beacon Ave. S.) passed its health and fire inspections on Friday and after a weekend of “running around like mad doing last minute things,” the owners decided tonight would be the night.
The Oak is the second of two restaurant/bars to open recently after lengthy delays; the Tippe and Drague opened a few weeks ago further south on Beacon Avenue.
The Tippe and Drague Alehouse at 3315 Beacon Ave. S., which opened last weekend to a throng of thirsty Beaconians, recently filed a new liquor license application, adding an new endorsement that wasn’t on their earlier license application. The previous license applied for was “direct shipment receiver — in Washington only” (which allows them to buy beer and/or wine from federally certified wineries or breweries), “restaurant – beer and wine” (which allows them to sell beer and wine for on-premises consumption in conjunction with food sales). They are now applying to add an off-premises endorsement (which will allow them to sell beer and/or wine for off-premises consumption in original containers, as well as allowing them to sell tap beer to purchasers who provide their own containers, subject to certain restrictions.
The applicants are Tippe and Drague LLC, Melissa Cabal and Robert McConaughy, and the license number is 407765. As with all liquor license applications, if you wish to comment on the application to the Liquor Control Board, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tippe and Drague neighborhood pub at 3315 Beacon Ave. S. opened for business this afternoon. When we went by to check it out, there was a cheerful crowd within ordering beer and food, and watching football on TV. The kitchen won’t have a fryer, so the menu consists of sandwiches and salads, including a very evil grilled peanut butter and Nutella sandwich (with optional bacon). There is also fresh popped popcorn—the popcorn machine was formerly installed at the Columbia City Cinema.
The much-talked-about Oak restaurant, expected to open on Beacon Avenue this spring, has a problem. Owners Lisa Jack and Mat Brooke have received a letter from the state Liquor Control Board which states that they face possible denial of their liquor license because the Board has received 14 protest letters but only 5 letters of support for the business.
They must respond by March 26 with a statement outlining why the Oak should still be approved for a liquor license, and letters from the community will be considered as well.
Brooke and Jack attended the North Beacon Hill Council meeting last week and spoke about the project. They have taken steps to reduce neighborhood concerns, including locating the 21+ bar portion in the center of the building, to limit exterior noise; no door access to the alley, except for emergency exits; no smoking allowed in the back of the building; and no karaoke or live music. There will be all-ages kid-friendly dining space. The menu is planned to be “family-friendly” comfort food such as burgers,salads, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato fries, with lunch and dinner seven days a week until 10 p.m. as well as weekend brunch. Ingredients will be locally-sourced.
Brooke and Jack will not be absentee owners; at the meeting, they explained that they will be living at the site themselves, and have a direct stake in the quality of the neighborhood.
After the NBHC discussion, several neighbors who live or work adjacent to the Oak site and had attended the meeting to express their concerns about a possible “tavern” moving in indicated that their concerns had been addressed and they seemed to have a much more positive feeling about the new restaurant.
It is unclear whether the protest letters the Liquor Board has received were sent before the NBHC meeting. When the news came out on the Beacon Hill mailing list last night about the Oak’s difficulty with the Board, the reaction on the list was one of surprise, with several subscribers expressing their intent to write in support of the business. In the previous discussion on the Beacon Hill Blog, the comments were overwhelmingly in favor of the Oak.
If you would like to express your opinion on the Oak, send a (snail mail) letter to the Liquor Control Board at:
Washington State Liquor Control Board
Licensing and Regulation
P.O. Box 43098
Olympia, WA 98504-3098
Here’s what has to go in the letter:
Referencing The Oak
3019 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144-5853
With all of the discussion lately about The Oak, a few have been reminded of another drinking establishment expected to open soon on Beacon Avenue South, the Tippe and Drague Alehouse. The Tippe and Drague will be located in the former ROCKiT space building at 3315 Beacon Ave. S. It has been nearly a year since the news first broke about the alehouse (at the time, they said “anticipate suds flowing in June”), and there have been rumors going around the neighborhood that the Tippe and Drague might not open after all.
The Beacon Hill Blog contacted the alehouse’s owners, Melissa Cabal and Robert McConaughy, to find out what is happening. Here’s what they told us:
“There’ve been a few snags with the city and permitting but we’re moving forward and hope to open in May—alehouse with food, local beers and wines. One side of the space will allow minors to accommodate the high number of families with small children in the neighborhood.”
They say the liquor license is not an issue, and that they have been granted a provisional license already, with the permanent license to come shortly before the pub opens. It is possible, then, that both the Oak and the Tippe and Drague will open this spring. Big changes are on the way for Beacon Avenue nightlife.
[Editor’s note: Gwen Lewis’ letter has been edited on 2/22 to remove her address and phone number.]
Online reactions to The Oak, the new restaurant/bar planned to open soon on Beacon Avenue South, have generally been positive. However, not everyone is thrilled about the new business. Residents living in the area around the Oak, at 3019 Beacon Ave. S., recently found flyers on their doorsteps bearing the headline “Are You Aware?”
“Are you aware that there is a pending application with the Washington State Liquor Control Board for our new neighbor @ 3019 Beacon Ave. South to operate a TAVERN in our neighborhood? … This will definitely impact all of us (positive or otherwise) but the bottom line is that we should have a say about this matter. We are asking you to get involved!”
The flyer suggests sending objections to Alan Rathbun of the Liquor Control Board, as well as to James Kenny, the Assistant City Attorney, then ends with the appeal “Act Now … Participate … Beacon Hill is also yours!”
Redd Mateo is the contact person listed on the flyer. The Beacon Hill Blog asked Mateo how many people are involved in the group protesting The Oak, and he said “I can’t tell you that as of yet but from the initial input we gather, there is a good number of neighbors (mostly with children).” Asked about his group’s specific concerns with The Oak, he listed several potential issues: littering, noise, crowd control, and public urination. “The bar they operate in Capitol Hill opens from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Assuming that they close at 10 p.m., who will stop them from extending those hours to 2 a.m.?”
Mateo forwarded a letter written by another neighbor, Gwen Lewis, addressed to the Liquor Control Board and objecting to The Oak’s liquor license. (Read the letter here.) Lewis’ letter includes a concern that “…Beacon Baptist Church, Beacon Lutheran Church, and the Beacon Hill Library may be within 500 feet.” (According to Google Maps, the Oak would be roughly 630 feet from the front door of the Library, about 730 from the Baptist Church, and roughly 800 feet from the front door of the Lutheran Church. The Lutheran Church no longer operates but there is still a preschool on the site.)
The letter also alleges “chronic illegal activity (Per RCW 66.24.010) associated with the applicants operations of the premises proposed to be licensed AND the applicant’s operation of another licensed premise.” The letter then describes circumstances at the owners’ other establishment, The Redwood, back in 2006 when the bar had newly opened and had problems with some of its neighbors on Capitol Hill, who complained about noise and filed a zoning complaint with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). However, The Redwood’s case with the DPD has been closed since 2007 and the business is still operating at the same location on Capitol Hill.
Other allegations in the letter include statements that the Oak’s owners have worked on the property without permits and were issued a violation, and that representatives of the Oak “informed neighbors that the applicant was opening up a coffee shop (but) on February 6 the applicant posted a liquor license application notice.” According to the DPD website, there was a complaint and violation last month, but the Oak’s owners have also received two permits since that date.
Lewis’ letter also brings up the 2008 shooting at the Beacon Pub, limited parking in the area, and a “known drug area at nearby Triangle Park” (Stevens Place Park) as additional reasons to object to the Oak’s liquor license application.
Lisa Jack, one of the co-owners of The Oak, was shocked to hear about the flyers and the opposition by these neighbors. She told the BHB, “When buying this building we were told that Beacon Hill would support this move wholeheartedly as they were looking for new fun businesses. The Redwood is an entirely different establishment in an entirely different neighborhood; it would be lovely if one of these disgruntled people would just come talk to us.”
She added, “We have been very honest with everyone, even in the early stages of not knowing what it would be… we have said ‘restaurant/lounge that will serve children as well in the dining area.’ We intend The Oak will be a neighborhood place for Beacon Hill residents and we hope to have weekend brunch too.”
Mateo and Lewis are concerned that The Oak, as a drinking establishment, won’t be a good fit for the location, which is a commercial building but has residences directly adjacent to the south and west. Mateo said, “Please don’t get me wrong. I really welcome new business in our neighborhood… just like that new pizza place. What a great place. But a tavern is totally different. This is something that will impact a lot of people in the neighborhood.”
Jack, who along with co-owner Mat Brooke is moving to the neighborhood herself, is disappointed at the turn of events. “It seems like the responses in your blog as well as passers-by have been very excited by what we are doing. It breaks my heart that we may have to struggle once again to make a good honest business.”
(Full disclosure: BHB contributor Joel Lee has worked with one of the owners of The Oak in the past. He asked them for a bit of information about the new project. – Ed.)
I was pleasantly surprised stepping into the building at 3019 Beacon Ave. S. to discover its large, inviting, well-lit interior. Over the years a series of businesses have passed through this space with such crowded window coverings that I always imagined the interior to be dark and tiny. Although it is still in the early stages of a major remodel, it is now easy to see the potential of this space that attracted the new owners (Tim Purtill, Kelly Staton, Lisa Jack, and Mat Brooke) to open their new restaurant/bar The Oak in our neighborhood.
This group has already launched a bar on Capitol Hill in 2006 (The Redwood) and promises to bring parts of their successful formula (and hopefully their spicy sweet potato fries) to Beacon Hill with an emphasis on local-sourced, organic American comfort foods and local breweries.
The owners are holding their cards close to their chests and are not ready to give out too many particulars, as they are finding the right balance between all-ages restaurant and grown-ups-only bar. It is, however, safe to assume a spring opening as they are working diligently on the space. Two of the owners are also moving to North Beacon and plan to bring to The Oak that local touch and community focus that comes with living on the hill.
(Editor’s note: Co-owner Lisa Jack told the BHB in an email that “We hope to have an all-ages room with our full menu that will close at 10, and the lounge will be cozied in the back operating all day with a full menu also. We haven’t decided on the hours yet.”)
Some Beaconians have been morning the loss of The Beacon Pub, the dive bar formerly located at the site of Bar del Corso. Perhaps the new liquor license application we saw today will give you hope.
A “spirits/beer/wine restaurant lounge +” application has been filed by Bar4 LLC (Tim Purtill, Kelly Staton, Lisa Jack, and Mat Brooke) for a business named The Mighty Oak, to be located at 3019 Beacon Ave. S. This is the former location of Sharon’s Lutong Bahay and of Manila Video; the building sold a few weeks ago for $435,000. A liquor license of this type allows an establishment with more than 50% dedicated dining business to sell spirits, beer, and wine by the serving for consumption on the premises; the beverages may be sold on tap or in opened bottles or cans.
Bar4 LLC also own The Redwood, a bar at 514 E. Howell St. on Capitol Hill. Yelp reviews mention peanuts on the floor, hamburgers, cheesy corn nuggets, and sweet potato fries—we don’t know yet what sort of place The Mighty Oak will be, but all of those things are currently lacking on Beacon Hill. (The reviews also mention hipsters. Frequently.)
Some years ago The Redwood was under scrutiny after some of the bar’s neighbors complained about noise. (The Redwood, like The Mighty Oak, is located in a mostly residential area, though one that is considerably denser than North Beacon Hill.) The Department of Planning and Development has since closed the complaint case, and The Redwood continues to operate.
We are attempting to contact the Bar4 LLC folks and will update when we hear more information about The Mighty Oak.
The liquor license application is number 408904. Comments about the application may be e-mailed to the Washington State Liquor Control Board at email@example.com.
This is what the Mighty Oak building looked like in 2008, when Google Street View came by and took a photo. It has since been painted green: