Sarah Anne Lloyd
According to Buckaroo owner Donna Morey, the property's owners, Lars and Nils Christian, declined to take her up on her offer to either buy the building outright or enter into a new lease agreement. The State Liquor Control Board's website confirms the Christian brothers' intent to open a fully licensed restaurant-lounge in the space; the application (notification date: July 16; application #351086) currently lists the heir to the Buckaroo space as "Nils-Sila Pub."
Morey says she's heartbroken, but will do her darndest to try and find a space to relocate before the tavern's lease expires at the end of September.
"I'm seeing fliers all over the neighborhood about us. I feel grievously sad about it, but I didn't do it (i.e., post the fliers herself)," says Morey, whose husband and business partner, Keith, passed away in 2007. "We're gonna give it a 1-2-3 try to give it moved elsewhere in Fremont, but we have no legal papers signed or anything. It is our desire to relocate, and we will try to do that, if at all possible. The lease expires on the 30th of September, but we will probably vacate on the 17th. I am grieved over [the landlords'] decision after 72 years. All I know is they want the space for their own use after they led us to believe that a new lease has been possible all the whole four-plus years they've owned the building."
"I asked them to sell me the building, and they said no," continues Morey. "I asked if they'd discuss a new lease with me and they said no. And I'm gonna shoot out the door without a living cent I guess. It's virtually impossible to replicate the Buckaroo in a modern building, but maybe we can make it look like the old Buckaroo. I know my customers are as sad as I am. I saw tears in a young fellow's eyes. He was about 30; it blew me away. There are so many people who are so fond of this silly old place, and I never imagined I'd be the person who would shut the door here. I guess they need the space to build a restaurant; that's all I know."
In Seattle's Best Dive Bars: Drinking & Diving in the Emerald City, the Buckaroo is described as "one of the few bars where bohemians and bikers drink shoulder to shoulder without exchanging harsh words, and it'd undoubtedly be the first stop for the cast of Easy Rider if they were passing through town."
The Christian brothers declined to comment for this story.