Local group trying to save Seattle dive bars from final "last call"

Local group trying to save Seattle's dive bars from being pushed out by new construction. (KOMO)

SEATTLE, WA (KOMO) – In Seattle’s Southpark neighborhood, it’s the business known to many patrons as a second home. The former logger tavern has stood the test of time and the weathered sign out front labeled “Loretta’s” proves it.

“Definitely not a yuppie thing,” smiled customer Jimmy Dukes. “No one's taking the light rail here.”

That’s fine with Dukes, a longtime Loretta’s regular who sips his beer with the knowledge his favorite bar is only one construction deal away from a permanent last call.

“When it's lost, it's lost,” sighed Kji Kelly with Historic Seattle. “We're losing a lot of them [bars]. Help us, Historic Seattle save more of these places, it's really simple.”

Not as simple is how to save the unique businesses, which is why the group called a Tuesday meeting on Loretta’s back patio. The goal, discuss how the city can keep its legacy businesses for cold beer and a heavy dose of culture.

“Dirt in this city is more valuable than the buildings that sit on it,” said Kelly. “That's just a fact of life.”

Kelly says the group’s mission is to work with the city of Seattle to grant special status for places that may not technically qualify as historic. The working plan is currently being modeled after San Francisco’s Heritage Program.

If passed, it could keep ReBar out of Amazon’s shadow in Southlake Union and Belltown’s Five Point CafĂ© could stay in business for years.

Discussions for the city plan are still in the early stages, there’s no timetable set yet for when the program could roll out.

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