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This Is the Last Weekend for the Kraken Bar... Maybe

Plus Matia returns to Orcas Island, and more

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The outside view of the Kraken Bar
The front of the Kraken Bar and Lounge
Harry Cheadle
Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

The Kraken Bar & Lounge, the beloved pirate-themed punk venue/dive bar that anchors the northern end of the University District, is closing after this Saturday. In January, the owners were informed that the building the Kraken occupies had been sold; the new landlords planned to demolish it and replace it with a new development.

“Music is supposed to be a big part of Seattle, but there’s no space for it,” Kraken co-owner Kat Colley told The Stranger in January.

There’s no way to spin this as anything but a bummer. The Kraken has been a part of the music scene since it opened in 2011, a standout in a neighborhood whose nightlife is dominated by University of Washington students. Two years ago the owners heroically (and hilariously) won a lawsuit against the Kraken hockey team after the NHL franchise tried to name a restaurant the Kraken Bar & Grill; in that suit filing, the bar owners complained that hockey fans were showing up to their place expecting to watch games.

The Kraken is finishing out a week of farewell shows on Saturday, but it may not be goodbye forever. The owners plan to reopen in a new neighborhood when they can, and there’s a GoFundMe raising money for relocation fees.

Ethan Stowell buys historic Attic Alehouse

In better news for dive bar fans, a group helmed by Ethan Stowell has bought Madison’s Park beloved Attic Alehouse, which closed in early 2020 (before the pandemic caused closures). Stowell purchased the Attic along with a company called Seattle Hospitality Group, which has invested in a number of Seattle-area brands, including Ethan Stowell Restaurants and Pike Place Brewing.

Stowell told the Seattle Times that he has no plans to transform the Attic into anything like his upscale restaurants and is primarily concerned with preserving history. “We would like to see other neighborhood institutions continue on. If we can help with that, we would be happy to take that on,” he told the Times.

Matia Kitchen returns

The first incarnation of Orcas Island’s Matia Kitchen and Bar had a brief but incredibly eventful life. Opened in 2021, it was widely praised by food critics, earned a mention in the New York Times, and was longlisted for a James Beard Foundation Award in 2022. Then it suddenly closed this January after a dispute between the restaurant’s owners and chef Avery Adams and general manager Drew Downing. But now Adams and Downing are reopening Matia under new ownership in a new Eastsound location, and also plan to open a Roman-inspired small-plates restaurant called Monti. The new location is now accepting reservations.

Starbucks HQ workers lash out at bosses

On Wednesday, about 45 white-collar Starbucks workers and managers at the company’s SoDo corporate headquarters issued an open letter calling on the company to return to its “core values” by changing what the letter describes as anti-union policies at Starbucks stores and allowing office workers to continue working remotely. The signatories made it clear they liked their employer, however. “We believe in Starbucks; we believe in its core values,” the letter said. “When all partners are included, as trusted partners with a voice, we know that Starbucks can truly be a different kind of company.”

This letter comes amid a lot of labor-related drama for the global coffee giant: The company is fighting back against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s demand that founder Howard Schultz testify in front of the Senate committee he chairs, and on Friday a judge called Starbucks out for “egregious and widespread misconduct” during union drives at Buffalo, New York, stores.

Matia Kitchen

382 Prune Alley, , WA 98245 (360) 375-4350 Visit Website

The Attic Alehouse & Eatery

4226 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112 (206) 323-3131 Visit Website