Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,777 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, June 02, 2013

#2005 - Sunnydale Tavern, Seatac - 1/13/2013

Sunnydale Tavern, SeaTac, WA
This is a congenial, historic tavern in an area that the old-timers still call "Sunnydale," most the locals call "Burien," and government officials call "the city of Seatac." It is full of antique, western bric-a-brac and devoted, regular customers (one I met drives from Auburn five days a week).  After 70+ years, the place closed down briefly in 2012, until two long-time customers purchased and revived it -- and God bless 'em for preserving a bar with such history and personality.

Sunnydale Tavern, SeaTac, WA
European settlement in the area is said to date back to 1860s, and the original name of "Sunnydale" is attributed settler Mick Kelly from that time. But it was only a decade later that Gottlieb Burian moved with his wife from Seattle, constructed a cabin on the southeast corner of what is now Lake Burien, and started the community that, like the lake, would bear his slightly misspelled name. The surrounding area was mostly Italian farmers before SeaTac airport was constructed in 1944, and I am told that the road outside the tavern remained brick into the 1960s.

Antique chastity belt at Sunnydale Tavern, SeaTac, WA
Various sources including Carl, the current owner date the bar back 70+ years to approximately 1939. However, this must have been in a different building, as King County tax records date the current structure to 1955. Art Kleitsch owned the tavern from 1949 to 1975, and it was he who introduced the western vintage and antique items in 1960.

A number of customers were very willing to tell me what they knew about the place and why they loved it. I talked to Matthias, Brent, and others, with one customer noting that it "feels like you're in Colorado or Pendleton."

Sunnydale Tavern, SeaTac, WA
Though it is hardly convenient to my home or work, this is definitely a bar I will return to.

14404 Des Moines Memorial Dr S, SeaTac, WA 98168 - (206) 246-2029
Est. 1939? - Building constructed: 1955 
Previous bars in this location: None known

Reviews: link - b-townblog - nwkaraokeguide - yelp

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My father was the bar tender and night manager there from about 1947 (??) until about 1959. Art Kleitsch was the owner, and the building was in the same location. In its heyday, it did a tremendous amount of business with airport and Boeing workers. It was a stop for union boss Dave Beck and hydroplane driver Bill Brow.