Ballard's nightlife scene has long been marked by a sense of community. And as with any community, the vibe is always heavy with intrigue when word of a new neighbor spreads. Linda Derschang, who by now is synonymous with Seattle nightlife for owning Linda's Tavern and the Viceroy (to name only two), is continuing to spread her roots away from Capitol Hill and now into the snugness of Ballard Avenue.
"I've been looking around at different neighborhoods ever since we opened the Viceroy in Belltown," says Derschang. "My business partners and I just really love Ballard. When this space became available, it's just such a beautiful old building, we knew that we should take it and do the project."
That building would be the one adjacent to Hattie's Hat which was left vacant years ago when Ballard Hardware relocated further down the street. In an attempt to preserve the integrity of the building, Derschang and her longtime business partners Wade Weigel and Jeff Ofelt (both of whom co-owned Chop Suey with Derschang) have dubbed the bar King's Hardware and promise it will offer the same stiff drinks and cozy atmosphere of their previous endeavors, as well as "things you can put coins into" (pool table, Skee-Ball, jukebox). But perhaps one of the bar's best selling points is its open-air seating area off the back of the building, or what Derschang calls "Ballard's Biggest Back Patio."
Outside of that, it appears King's (which Derschang hopes to have open by August) will be akin to the other Ballard establishments, a no-frills watering hole housed inside a historic building.
"Luckily, we've got these big brick walls and wood floors, really old wood floors, that we're going to keep," Derschang says of the building's interior. "We want to preserve that rustic old feeling as much as possible."
There has been some chatter, however, concerning King's Hardware's proximity to Hattie's (which has held down the fort as Ballard Avenue's primary hipster haven). Though no one at Hattie's could be reached for comment, Kwab Copeland, longtime booker for the Sunset, says he feels another bar will have a positive effect overall.
"The community of bars, clubs, and restaurants is pretty strong on Ballard Ave.," says Copeland. "Everyone gets along and helps each other, so I just hope [Derschang's] place continues that tradition."
Derschang agrees. "It's like Linda's and the Cha-Cha being on Pine Street and helping each other out," she says. "I think it's gonna be great. I think friendly competition is a good thing, and I think being next to the Tractor and Hattie's is gonna be good for that end of the street. There's a lot of the energy at the other end of the street . . . and not that there isn't where we're at, but I think a couple more business can only do good things.