Liberty cocktail bar owner Andrew Friedman, who’s been a vocal opponent of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law, cited the increasing minimum as the reason behind his decision to sell his Capitol Hill bar to two employees. But new owners Brandon Paul Weaver and Andrew Dalan, who’ve tended bar at Liberty for three years and nine years respectively, plan to make the equation work with few changes by continuing to pick up floor shifts at the bar, Friedman told Seattle magazine.
Weaver and Dalan purchased the 11-year-old bar for an undisclosed amount. Friedman said his bartenders, who collect tips, make more money than he did, and the mandated wage increases over the next three years would zero out his profits. The new owners will supplement their income by continuing to tend bar, which Friedman did not do.
Over the years, Friedman has developed Liberty into one of the city’s most essential cocktail bars, with a massive library of spirits and an extensive menu of original drinks. But he hasn’t avoided controversy as a vocal opponent of the $15 minimum wage effort, which drew protests outside of Liberty in 2014 from labor groups like Working Washington.
Friedman will finally move on from all of that, choosing instead to concentrate on his spirits distribution company, Scout Spirits, as well as other entrepreneurial pursuits.