clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hillman City’s Beloved Slow Boat Tavern Is Closing

Owner Ken Provost announced that April 29 will be the bar’s last day

A bar interior, including a sign that reads “fuck Yelp.”
Inside the Slow Boat Tavern
Jason Price
Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

The beer-focused beloved hangout spot Slow Boat Tavern will be closing for good after April 29, owner Ken Provost announced on Instagram this week, as he’s selling the bar to some of his friends and bar regulars.

“The last 7 years have been the best of my life,” he wrote. “While I could talk endlessly about all of the cool beers that we’ve poured and events that we’ve had, it’s really the people I’ve met and the friendships and community that have been created here that are the most important things this bar should be remembered for.”

Provost, a beer industry veteran, opened Slow Boat in 2015, and Eater Seattle wrote his goal was to “create the perfect blend of Capitol Hill classics The Comet and The Stumbling Monk.” By all accounts he achieved that merger of dive bar and Belgian ale house, pouring some top craft beers and building a real community in Hillman City.

But Provost has known for some time that Slow Boat’s days were numbered. He didn’t own the building, he tells Eater Seattle, and that meant he couldn’t control his bar’s destiny. “Ultimately, it wasn’t going to be forever,” he says. He could have taken the option to extend his lease, but instead he decided to sell the business while there was time remaining on the lease, making it a more attractive proposition to buyers.

“It’s a scary time to be running a business,” Provost says, citing the number of restaurants and bars that have closed and the ongoing economic challenges stemming from inflation and supply-chain shortages. With those factors on his mind, he’s been trying to sell the bar for nearly a year.

“I’ve been working on this since last summer, and it’s fallen through multiple times,” he says. The deal was only finalized on Friday; the bar will be sold to new owners who will reopen it as Mimi, likely sometime this summer.

As for Provost, “I have literally no plans,” he says. “The short answer is I’m going to try to get a job pouring beer for one of my friends or someone I think is cool.”