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‘Well-worn but cozy’ on North Capitol Hill, Roanoke celebrates a 20th anniversary

Chris Price shared this, "the oldest photo I can put my hands on right now - most likely from the late 90's, possibly 2000, since it's pre-liquor. Note the cassette tape rack! And the tall blond guy in the middle is Greg, the regular most everyone would recognize. He died in 2013 and there is a little plaque marking his spot at the bar..." (Image: The Roanoke with permission to CHS)

Chris Price shared this, “the oldest photo I can put my hands on right now – most likely from the late 90’s, possibly 2000, since it’s pre-liquor. Note the cassette tape rack! And the tall blond guy in the middle is Greg, the regular most everyone would recognize. He died in 2013 and there is a little plaque marking his spot at the bar…” (Image: The Roanoke with permission to CHS)

"The original cooler we had until it died in 2015," Price says (Image: The Roanoke with permission to CHS)

“The original cooler we had until it died in 2015,” Price says (Image: The Roanoke with permission to CHS)

The Roanoke isn’t fancy, and it doesn’t try to be. The bar, celebrating 20 years under the ownership of Chris and Jeff Price with a big 10th Ave E party Saturday, goes for more of a comfortable, living room vibe.

“It’s well-worn but cozy, like your favorite pair of tennis shoes,” Chris Price tells CHS.

The Prices took over in May of 1995. Jeff had been working for his parents at the now closed Factoria Pub. That place had a change of ownership, and Jeff didn’t fit with the new owners, so he left to find new opportunities, as Chris Price tells it. They had some connections to the broker selling the Roanoke, and the couple looked at it and snapped it up.

Roanoke 20th Anniversary Party
Saturday, May 16th 5 PM
Roanoke celebrates its 20th year with raffles, grilling, and special deals on drinks!

Since then, Chris Price said, they’ve tried to keep it much like it was back then, outside of repainting the place 10 or 15 years ago. She said some actually criticize the place for being on the dingy side in some spots, but it doesn’t bother her.

“That’s probably true, but we like it that way,”

“Maybe people get over-saturated on that new stuff. There’s not too many places left with character.”

And the pub still has a core group of customers who have been coming in almost every day since before she and her husband took ownership.

“It’s their living room,” she said.

The Roanoke hasn’t made many changes to their offerings, either, remaining a beer-and-a-shot joint, instead of following the herd to craft cocktails. Price said that about two years ago, they started going down that route and planned to have a couple different cocktails that they do really well, but that’s not what Roanoke customers are after.

The food menu, Price said, changes sometimes, but they try to keep to bar food staples like burgers and nachos. They don’t own a deep fryer, though, so don’t go in expecting fries.

The simplicity of the bar may be one of the things that helps keep it in business. She said that people are always looking to try the new thing, but sometimes they want to come back to the classics.

“Maybe people get over-saturated on that new stuff,” she said. ‘there’s not too many places left with character.”

Price said there have been some small frustrations stemming from a time five years ago, when it looked like the bar might lose its lease. They were able to work with the landlord, and secure the location through 2020, but Price said she still has people tell her they thought the Roanoke had closed.

There are no plans for any major changes in the coming years. They sometimes kick around ideas for things like game nights or trivia nights but for various reason, nothing gets much beyond the suggestion stage.

They do plan to celebrate the start of their third decade in business, however. Price said she plans to grill on their back deck (home to a couple of ping pong tables), hold a raffle and offer beer specials. At the Roanoke’s 15th anniversary, there was a band, but that didn’t sit well with the neighbors so it won’t be happening this time around.

The Roanoke Park Place is located at 2409 10th Ave E. Happy birthday.

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9 thoughts on “‘Well-worn but cozy’ on North Capitol Hill, Roanoke celebrates a 20th anniversary

  1. I like this place, but only being able to order at the bar keeps me from coming back regularly. It’s a bit annoying to have to stand in line for 5+ minutes each time I want a drink.

  2. Just a note about a typo:

    In “following the heard to craft cocktails,” it should be herd, not heard.

    Thanks for all the neighborhood articles.

  3. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Soi — the other ambitious restaurant project coming to 10th and Union | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle