Kessler’s aims to be Capitol Hill’s catch-all sports bar with grand opening Thursday

IMG_3091IMG_3211Walking into Kessler’s, the new Capitol Hill bar on E Olive Way, there’s little doubt what type of place you’re stepping into. Sports paraphernalia cover the walls, a stark contrast to the space’s dimly lit predecessor Tommy Gun, and there’s a good chance the game you’re looking for will be on one of ten big screen TVs surrounding the bar.

With Rainier on tap and $4 shots of Fireball, Kessler’s is a sports bar pure and simple. “No blenders, no juicers,” said owner Tracy Ward.

The “beer and shot” bar held a soft opening last week ahead of its grand opening on Thursday. Aside from the TVs and new decor, the physical space remains relatively unchanged from the Tommy Gun days. Sports bar staples like hot dogs, brats, pizza, and chicken wings make up the bulk of the food offerings.

Kessler’s doesn’t claim a house team or sport. Ward, a Wisconsin native, said sports fans of all stripes should feel welcome. “I invite any one who wants to bring pennant and flag and I’ll find a place for it in my bar,” she said.

Capitol Hill baseball fans should take note: Ward says she plans to be open for early afternoon games and pretty much any other game on the bar’s MLB Network package. In the meantime, Ward is holding a free March Madness bracket competition. The winner takes home two roundtrip tickets to Hawaii.

A self-described sports nut, Ward told CHS that opening a bar is the fruition of a longtime dream. She spent several years managing corporate restaurants in the Midwest, including Houlihan’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. She moved to Hawaii for 15 years to raise kids and work in her husband’s construction company before making the move to Seattle.

After four years, Tommy Gun after owner Erin Nestor sold the watering hole to focus on a new project on E Madison. Kessler’s will be snuggling in just uphill from bear bar CC’s which moved to the street in 2011. It also joins a handful of other sports-centered bars in the area, like 95 Slide, the Auto Battery, and eventually Bill’s Off Broadway.

Ward, whose maiden name is Kessler, drew inspiration for her bar from her grandfather’s pubs in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Next week, Ward’s father is coming into town to see his daughter’s new venture and to find out that she bestowed the bar with the family name. We hope we didn’t ruin the surprise.

Kessler’s is located at 1703 E Olive Way. Hours are Monday to Friday: 3PM – 2AM, Saturday and Sunday: 12PM – 2AM. “Open during all major games!,” it promises at

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20 thoughts on “Kessler’s aims to be Capitol Hill’s catch-all sports bar with grand opening Thursday

  1. Welcome to the neighborhood! I look forward to visiting soon. Congratulations on opening in time for March Madness and the start of MLS/MLB seasons. I hope they show EPL soccer matches, as well.

  2. My girlfriend and I stopped by last night. Good crowd, cheap food/drinks, friendly staff, cool decor. Seems to be a win all around. Hooray! Welcome!

  3. Serious question — is there anywhere in town to watch non-team sports? e.g. minor events of the winter olympics, Jeopardy championships, …

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