Clever Dunne’s steps aside as Hula Hula finds new home on Capitol Hill

424190_336299219726477_1421862183_nOne classic Seattle nightspot will replace another on Capitol Hill. Tini Bigs sibling the Hula Hula Lounge will move into the longtime E Olive Way home of Clever Dunne’s.

Beyond trading an Irish pub for a divey tiki joint, the change will mean a longtime corner of Capitol Hill nightlife will stay in motion, free from a new “condo” building for now.

“We got a very fair deal, this isn’t like we were pushed out,” Dunne’s Jamie Saling told CHS Friday afternoon now that the ink is dry on the deal for the owner of Tini Bigs and the Hula Hula to take over the 14-year-old Capitol Hill pub.

Keith Robbins also owns the building Dunne’s calls home. He has been searching for a new location for his lower Queen Anne establishments as they prepare to close to make way for mixed-use development. We have not yet spoken with Robbins about the finalization of the deal but he told us something was in the works earlier this week.

UPDATE: Robbins tells CHS Tini Bigs likely won’t reopen but the Hula Hula will come up the Hill to make its home on E Olive Way.

“I’m glad to be in the neighborhood,” Robbins said Friday night.

The plan for Hula Hula is pretty simple — “tiki the shit” out of it and reopen with a stepped-up tiki cocktail game, and the usual 365-night-a-year karaoke.

Robbins said he’s still finishing off the agreement and isn’t yet sure when the Hula Hula will close in its original location or reopen on Capitol Hill. Stay tuned.

Saling said she has worked for Clever Dunne’s from its first day when Bernard McGuire opened the pub in 2003. McGuire long ago returned to Ireland, leaving Saling with a stake in the bar and in charge. She says her plans now are to move on from the Capitol Hill bar scene she has been part of through the various trends and booms that have come to the neighborhood. Saling is ready to go back to school, she said, with hopes of becoming a teacher.

CHS reported on the closure announcement for Clever Dunne’s earlier this week — news that brought cries of sorrow from longtime patrons of the neighborhood bar and stirred worries of what would come next in a neighborhood where development can occasionally chew up and spit out neighborhood favorites.

We’ll have more on the tiki transition soon but, for now, know that January 30th is the final night of service planned at Clever Dunne’s — if there is any beer left to serve, that is, after a planned Saturday, January 28th blowout party.

Saling said while the end may seem abrupt, there were signs Clever Dunne’s time had come.

“This is an important bar to a lot of people,” she said. “And this year was particularly hard because we lost a lot of regulars. When they died, some of this place did, too.”

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8 thoughts on “Clever Dunne’s steps aside as Hula Hula finds new home on Capitol Hill

    • I’m not aware of any Robbins ownership stake in the Lower Queen Anne building. It was sold in March of 2016 for $14,450,000 to a company registered as NWCH 101 DENNY LP but I don’t know who is behind that limited partnership.

  1. Word on the street is that Keith pushed Clever Dunne’s out because he needed a home for Hula Hula and their fake tiki. If this is true, it is an asshole move and a stupid move doing karaoke next to a place that’s been doing karaoke forever and is so beloved by the community.
    Clever Dunnes filled a need in this city in this era of gentrification and Keith’s half assed tiki/karaoke joint competing directly with his next door neighbor will not fill the gap.

  2. Why would you open a karaoke dive bar less than 20 yards away from Seattle’s most notorious dive Karaoke bar, The Crescent? It seems like a really bad move on this owners part. It’s either really stupid, really ignorant, or just a jerk.

    • It’s all three. The actual title of the article should have been “Millionaire pushes out local business to build pet bar”

    • Hula is infinitely better for karaoke. Not only is the sound awesome, but the times I’ve gone to crescent I found it completely uninviting unless you were in the inner club, not to mention generally bad karaoke from sound to setting.

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