Owner Harley Hendrickson bought the property from the VFW about a year ago with the intention of opening a trendy bar in town that would accommodate the young, old, and in-between. “I think that what really sets this place apart from others around here is that we can meet the requests of really any group, be it age or lifestyle. We cover sports, we have all the sports games here, and our music varies a lot, so in the night time we can get the young hip-hop kids and during the day it’ll be country or classic rock; it’s just really widely varied,” Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson’s inspiration to start his own bar came from his desire to work with his friends and family. “With this type of work I knew I’d be able to employ some family and that’s pretty important. It was important to me as I was putting all this together and thinking about what I was going to do in my future. It’s nice to be able to have my friends and family around, working with me. It feels good to be able to work with my friends and family in a nice laid back environment like this.”
Special features at the bar include a 7 by 12-foot big screen for sports games, high quality stereo, and an upstairs with couch-lined walls, additional big screen, and balcony seating. Hendrickson also caters to every request for beer or alcohol that customers make. “Half the booze that I have here is from special requests by people. I’ve got eight on tap, but as far as bottles go, I started out with the basics and it’s pretty much doubled since then by just people asking for their favorites. I like to try and support what people want, especially if it means that they’ll keep coming back,” Hendrickson said. “We really do try and cater. I’m running out of refrigerator space; I have a list of like everything that I have to have just to keep everyone happy.”
Hendrickson has the establishment decorated with electric guitars from his personal collection, fitting with the musical, classic rock décor theme. “I do get a lot of compliments and questions on instruments. I like to feature music here. Chris Ginther comes in and plays dinner for me a lot of the time. But I’ve had Anatize here a couple of times. He’ll be here again this month, and next month I have a couple of different bands I’ve not yet had.” He hopes to have live music as often as possible at the bar and grill.
The bar also shows sports games on the big screen. “We really like to support the Seahawks and any Washington based team, the Cougs or Huskies, and we’ll usually do wings or we’ll push a special on a beer or a meal plus a beer. You can usually bet that on a game day there’ll be some type of special.”
Hendrickson explained that customers have been extraordinarily pleased with the food. “The restaurant aspect is really doing a lot better than I had expected it would. People come in here for the food and come back,” he said. “Surprisingly enough, the Harley Burger sells very well. The BBQ Chicken Burger, which is my personal favorite, is amazing. Onion rings are way better than I could have imagined they would have turned out. I just let the kitchen decide how to take care of their own things. I have a real good head chef; I believe she’s a graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle Culinary School. She has all kinds of ideas and knowledge; she comes up with these special batters and I think that’s got a lot to do with it.”
“What makes the Harley Burger special is that it has a slice of ham on it, and I didn’t know that would make such a difference to people, but they really do sell,” Hendrickson explained. “Our BBQ Chicken Burger is what you’d expect of a BBQ chicken, except it has coleslaw on it too.”
Hendrickson has big plans for the future of the bar. “I’ve had a lot of requests for pool league. I definitely want to and will increase my frequency of live music. Happy hours and specials will become a more regular thing now down the road. Once we’ve got time to work it all out, I would like to have something like karaoke, or a lady’s night, things of that sort.”
Hendrickson has been blown away by the response of the community. “Probably the thing that makes me the happiest is the amount of compliments that I get. Easily, I could say on a daily basis someone comes in here and says how beautiful it is, and I am frequently getting thanked for doing this for the town. So aside for it being my bread and butter, it’s nice that people appreciate it. Just everybody’s happy that we’re around, so that’s a pretty good pay off.”