Seattle is a growing city. It’s not just growing, but growing quickly. New buildings are appearing everywhere, from Downtown to West Seattle. I counted thirteen construction cranes in Downtown alone!
I grew up in Pennsylvania’s Coal Region. The coal industry started dying out there even before I was born in early ‘70s. For decades, buildings have been getting shut down, demolished, or boarded up. Most of the little towns around the Coal Region have become ghost towns. It’s a sad reality. I learned early on that you want your city or town to be growing, not dying.
Progress and growth are great things for a city, but as the saying goes, you can’t have an omelet without breaking some eggs. To construct Seattle’s new buildings, the old ones need to be removed. Dozens of really cool restaurants and bars are being shut down and destroyed in the name of progress.
I was down in Portland a few weeks ago. What I noticed and admired about Portland was it still had tons of cool places that have been around forever, some since the ‘50s! You don’t have to travel far before you run into some cool old place with a neon sign flashing above its door. Seattle used to be the same way, but not so much anymore.
Thankfully, there are still some “old school” Seattle bars left. The Lava Lounge in Belltown is one of them…
The Lava Lounge is what I like to consider a punk rock Tiki bar. Here is my take on punk rock Tiki bars like the Lava Lounge
The Lava Lounge’s décor is a combination of a nautical and Tiki vibe. There is a giant mural of underwater life that spans the length of the tables…
And there is a very large Tiki Mug collection that is proudly displayed above the bar…
A word of warning for Tiki purists: you aren’t going to hear any exotica at the Lava Lounge. What you’ll be hearing instead is some Black Flag, Minor Threat, Ramones, and Sex Pistols. I heard each of these bands played while I was at the bar taking pictures.
As far as drinks go, I’m not really sure the Lava Lounge serves any full-on Tiki drinks. I did get a Cuba Libre and it was great. The Lava Lounge does have a large beer selection though.
What I liked most about the Lava Lounge was the clientele. Most of the people hanging out and drinking there were punk rockers and old school Belltown regulars. I really enjoy talking with these people. They all were laid back and friendly and not afraid to talk about “the good old days.”
As I see Seattle changing before my eyes, it makes me happy that I’m still able to have a drink at an “old school” Seattle bar and have it be a Tiki bar as well!