Top Hat: Like Monopoly With Downtown Views

Top Hat: Like Monopoly With Downtown Views

Part one of our series looking at neighborhoods that might not be neighborhoods.

Shaped nothing like a top hat, the ridiculously named Top Hat is actually a working-class neighborhood in West Seattle between Burien and White Center off Meyers Way. Just don’t ask me any specific follow-up questions about where it’s located (the borders are a little vague).

You’re probably wondering why it’s called Top Hat. The legend goes (it’s not a legend) that the name is based on the somewhat-giant top hat on top of Warner Transmission on Meyers Way, which used to be a gas station and became a bit of neighborhood landmark over time. “I’ll meet you at the top hat,” the kids probably used to say. When I saw it I thought it would look good on the Fremont Troll, but I don’t have the resources to make that happen. Maybe the engineering department at UW could figure it out.

There are actually three businesses with the name “Top Hat” in Top Hat, including Top Hat Novelties, Top Hat Mini Mart, and Top Hat Market. None of them actually sell top hats, which is a little disappointing. Sorry for using the words “top hat” so often. A few more paragraphs and we’re done.

Though it’s primarily residential, the neighborhood is also home to many spots that don’t use the eponymous name, including Lakewood Park, Cascade Middle School, Hicklin Lake (Hicklin?), NimBim Pot Shop, Evergreen Community Aquatic Center, Greenbridge Cafe, and various places of worship. It also bleeds a bit into the White Center area, so Top Hat can appropriate all those features as well if it wants to.

An ongoing issue has been whether the North Highline area—comprising Top Hat, White Center, and Arbor Heights—should be annexed by Seattle or Burien. So far no deal has been reached. It’s just like when LeBron James was deciding between Cleveland and Miami, except involving tax incentives and police coverage.

Should you move here? Top Hat isn’t a loud, flashy neighborhood like Maple Leaf, but it’s a nice little blue-collar spot with some good intermittent views of downtown Seattle. And check this out: Down the way from the giant top hat is a giant barrel, which was originally a Triple XXX Drive-in built in 1963, and now houses Bombay Grill, an Indian restaurant. Between the top hat and the barrel, you’ve almost got a full set of Monopoly pieces. That’s got to be worth something.

NeighborHuh is a four-week series helping would-be gentrifiers find Seattle’s more obscure neighborhoods to destroy.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology.
EPA loans King County $96.8 million to prevent untreated water from spilling into Puget Sound

Loan comes a week after an over 10 million gallon overflow into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Courtesy photo
Survey shows rent debt to be disproportionately distributed among minorities

More than half of Black renters surveyed said they owed rent money from previous months.

National Guard troops, pictured Jan. 11 at the state Capitol in Olympia, have been on standby in case of violent protests. (Photo by Roger Harnack, Cheney Free Press)
At the state Capitol, a quiet day amid heightened security

There were no protests or arrests as troopers patrolled and the National Guard assumed a lower profile.

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Robert Allen, 61, had never been homeless in his life before 2019, when he lost his housing. The chef has been trying to get back on his feet, and hopes to open a nonprofit and make hot sauce. File photo
King County implements 0.01% sales tax to raise money for housing the homeless

Officials plan to buy hotels, motels and nursing homes for conversion into permanent housing.

Most Read