There will be no end-of-2013 New Year’s bash to say goodbye to this incarnation of 15th Ave E’s The Canterbury Ale & Eats. The more than 37-year-old dive will be open through Sunday before shutting down for a scrubbing and major overhaul to rebuild the much loved tavern under some familiar new owners.
Stefanie Roberge tells CHS that with the final days of her lease winding down, the time has simply come to close her version of the joint down.
“I’m hoping to run into a lot of old customers,” Roberge said. She and her husband David Roberge have managed to plan a much smoother exit after 13 years running the Canterbury than they originally feared when CHS talked to her about Capitol Hill Housing’s decision not to renew their lease earlier in 2013.
UPDATE: CHS has learned that the lease with Capitol Hill Housing is still up in the air. We’ll have an update on the situation soon.
The new owners seem to know a few things about transitioning Capitol Hill dives into viable engines in the neighborhood’s new food+drink economy. Dave Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse, apparently aware of a market inefficiency, also recently added the Comet Tavern to their holdings. That Pike/Pine dive’s overhaul including the removal of rotted wood and some extensive cosmetic upgrades to some quality old bones is likely a preview of what will come at 15th and Mercer as the Canterbury gets a facelift.
“Basically, Capitol Hill Housing wants a yuppie place,” Roberge told us when the new first broke earlier this year.
She was more diplomatic in announcing the end of business for her version of the Canterbury on December 15th. Roberge said the transition of the business to the new owners including the transfer of the Canterbury name has set the couple up for retirement. They’ll continue to live nearby. Roberge said she’ll probably be a customer of the new Canterbury.
For the rest of the week, however, the joint is still hers. The Canterbury’s Facebook page has been full of nostalgia even if all the bar stools haven’t been filled lately. Roberge hopes to see a few more familiar faces before the weekend ends. “Being around for so many years, there are a lot of old bartenders,” she said. “I haven’t heard from some of them in a long time.”