Seattle Forces Beloved Takeout-Only Cider Bar To Close
This week Yonder Bar, a beloved, months-old, licensed, takeout-only neighborhood cider bar that operated out of the residential garage of one of its owners, was forced to close. Maybe for good.
Visitor’s to Yonder Bar’s Yelp page are now greeted with the dreaded words that, so often these days, sit atop the site’s listings for the more than 100,000 similarly beloved bars and restaurants around the country: “Yelpers report this location has closed.”
But Yonder Bar’s closure, unlike many thousands of other bars and restaurants, has nothing to do with COVID-19, the recession, or the economic impact of quarantine policies.
Instead, the closure has everything to do with the persistent complaints to Seattle regulators by one anonymous person and those regulators’ choice to bow to that person’s complaints.
I visited Yonder Bar, in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, last week. What I saw there, as I stood behind a dozen or so other masked, socially distanced customers also waiting patiently in line, was a small, converted garage space that had clearly energized and brought together the local community.
“This makes our community better,” local resident and Yonder Bar supporter Ben Kotovic told KIRO last week. “It’s a place for us to greet and have a chance to meet our community. The idea of shutting it down doesn’t make any sense.”
Indeed, many residents seemed to stop at the bar during their early evening walks, soaking up what would be the last sun for several days, before rain and then snow would hit the area. Several customers pulled dogs. Others pushed children in strollers. I saw happy kids biking along the street, runners passing by, and neighbors talking to each other from their porches.
After making my way to the front of the line, I bought a couple of four-packs of Yonder’s dry cider, which—and I write this both as a middling, low-tech, at-home cider brewer and regular drinker of bone-dry craft ciders—is among the best I’ve tried.
On Monday—Yonder Bar’s last day in business—I spoke with Yonder’s co-founder, Caitlin Bramm. I asked her first about her anonymous persecutor.
“We didn’t have a lot of people complain,” Bramm says. “We had one person complain. A lo
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