One of Seattle's oldest watering holes, the Buckaroo Tavern in Fremont, will close its doors Sept. 17 and turn off one of the city's iconic neon signs — a cowboy riding a bucking bronco.
Buckaroo's lease was not renewed, said owner Donna Morey, 69, and the historic neighborhood tavern will close after 72 years. Her grandson, though, hopes to relocate the bar in Fremont this fall, though no deal has been finalized, family members said.
Established in 1938, the Buckaroo Tavern is one of Seattle's famous dive bars, and has been around as long as Ivar's. The movie "10 Things I Hate About You," which starred the late Heath Ledger, filmed scenes there, and the rock band Nickelback filmed a music video in the bar.
Mostly, though, it's been known as a neighborhood spot, where the beer menu is split into "cheap beer" and "good beer." There is also "free popcorn and free coffee when the bartender feels like making it," said Christopher Morey, Donna Morey's grandson, who works behind the bar.
Property owners Lars and Nils Christian declined to comment, but according to their liquor-license application, the brothers will open a restaurant and bar called Nils-Sila Pub in the Buckaroo's home at 42nd and Fremont.
During its life, Buckaroo Tavern has had only three owners and has stayed open year-round for most of its 72 years. Morey, who has owned the tavern the past 25 years, throws a Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas potluck for regulars.
Her grandson hopes to take the bar's neon bucking bronc — and all the wood paneling scarred with patrons' heart-shaped carvings, as well as the wobbly pine tables — with him, as he tries to relocate the bar.
Patron Tal Goettling, 44, a stonemason and musician who has frequented the Buckaroo since the late-1990s, said the tavern is "like a clubhouse after work. These are friends and family."