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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#2296 - Just Left, Lynnwood, WA - 9/22/2013

If I were to graph how much I liked the bars in a given town against the population of the towns, I think the amount I liked the bars would start out very high at the lowest populations, drop fairly steadily with the increase in population, and then start to head back up as it got to the largest cities in the state. If there's a bar in Mineral, Washington or Goble, Oregon, there's a very high chance that bar has lots of character.  As you get to larger and larger towns, you tend to see more and more of the banal, strip mall sorts of bars, with the same old beer corporation paraphernalia, TVs, plastic menus of fried food, a few craft beers mixed in with Bud and Bud Lite, and pull tab bins. These bars can still be fun places with the right staff and crowds, but it is exceedingly difficult to find anything in the bar itself that distinguishes it from thousands of other bars across the country, as if they were all created by some nameless, giant chain. Then, as you start to get to the few largest cities in the state, a sizable portion of bars start to become interesting again in a variety of ways, from the divey character you see in small towns to fancy craft cocktail joints and unique decors and themes to separate them from the competition.

Thus the resulting graph would probably come out looking something like this:


And that nadir in the line -- the very lowest point before heading back upward through Olympia and Everett up to Spokane, Tacoma, and Seattle -- is Lynnwood.

Lynnwood is around the 30th largest city in Washington state, with a population of about 36 thousand people. There's no charming, old downtown Lynnwood, no Lynnwood Ferry Terminal, no Hewitt Avenue or Capitol Hill, no Lynnwood Bay, and indeed no shoreline at all, despite resting just a few thousand feet from Puget Sound, with the exception of one odd little sliver for the Lynnwood Wastewater Treatment Plant. There is a small handful of historical sites and snippets of interesting drinking settings at places like Old Village Pub or Harvey's just out of town, and old timers might remember the Alpine Tavern or the Owl. But at its heart, current-day Lynnwood is highways and shopping malls, and if someone mentions the "Lynnwood Performing Arts Center" they are probably referring to Hooters.

Unfortunately for people who like a bar to have a unique personality, Just Left fits right in to this scene. People are nice enough, and I'm sure there are plenty of good times had by locals and regulars. It if you don't already know and love the place, it's just not likely to be worth much of a trip, as it will strike you as just one more of the hundreds of cookie-cutter, banal, suburban, sports bars, and it would probably take a considerable amount of drinking to see it as anything else.

4308 198th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036 - (425) 776-7379
Est. 2001? - Building constructed: 1975
Previous bars in this location: Outabounz Sports Pub
Web site: Justleftpub.com
Reviews: yelp - beeradvocate

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