I have written many words in this space. Most come easy. The ones that follow are both the hardest and the most important. It is hard to believe I am even writing them. My heart is pounding.
As many of you know, 2019 has been a year of loss and heartache for us. It’s not over, as we deal with The Geek’s mom who is still on hospice care after 8 weeks.
Since the unexpected passing of his dad in March, it has been a struggle. Processing not only that loss while trying to take care of his mom is a lot all at once. After 6 weeks in the Gero Psych Ward, she moved into memory care and has declined ever since. Still stubborn til the end.
Anyway. All this to say, after 24 years, we’ve made the hard, painful decision to sell The Roanoke. Gary, my father-in-law, used to be a weekly, if not daily, presence there. Fixing things, puttering, helping. It is a painful place for The Geek to be now. It’s time for the next thing.
Luckily, we are selling to some lovely folks that know the bar well. Who appreciate its history and community and place in Seattle. Sean has bartended for us for 4 years and his wife Teresa also bartends – they have years of industry experience between them and have long dreamed of owning their own place. It seemed meant to be. I wish Sean and Teresa many years of success and happy memories as the new caretakers. They’ll most likely take over in 4-6 weeks, depending on when their license comes through.
When we bought the bar in 1995, we were 27 and 28 years old. It was beer and wine only. Bottles were held in a big trough of ice that we covered with a furry rug at night. We added liquor in 2001. We’ve tweaked the food menu a bit over those 24 years, but it remains largely the same. Some might consider this a fault. Maybe so. But when I consider all the places that have disappeared in those 24 years while we survived, I think not.
We are looking forward to weekends off and long vacations. It’s been ten years since we left for more than 4 days together. His mom used to do the books then but lost that ability years ago. We aren’t sure what’s next for Jeff, but it won’t involve middle-of-the-night calls from ADT or moving all the newly prepped food to the cooler from the frig up front when the temp rises. A little time off for The Geek, for sure.
I won’t lie – I will miss it. What will we say now when people ask what we do? It’s been a part of our lives since before we had kids. It’s where we met some of the best people we know, as customers and employees. Where friends met and married and hung their photos on the wall. Where we held two baby showers, a bachelorette party and a wedding reception. Where we watched the Seahawks win and lose a Super Bowl. Where the staff Christmas parties are legendary. Where we celebrated the lives of two favorite customers after they passed and held the wake for Gary.
Where I convinced people they DO like brown liquor. Where many summer hours were spent on the deck or playing beer pong. Where Ashley took a chance on a place she didn’t know and came to ask a stranger if he’d sponsor a gay softball team, who then played for us for years. Where people of all colors and stripes are welcome.
So. Thank you – thank you to the old-school customers who took a chance on us way back when and stuck with us. Thank you to the new folks who saw through the ivy and stepped inside. Thank you to our amazing staff through the years – we know we were so lucky. Thanks to my Saturday crew who drink whatever I make them.
Being a part of this special place is the thing of which I am most proud.
I’m trying to see through tears as I sign off. Next time you see me at The Roanoke, I’ll need a drink.