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Clever Dunne’s, Capitol Hill’s ‘Irish House,’ to close at end of month

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

2017 is shaping up to be a sad year for the neighborhood bars of E Howell. Wednesday night, the staff and management of Clever Dunne’s are telling regulars the bad news. At the end of January, the Capitol Hill Irish pub will close.

“It came quick,” Dunne’s manager Jared Thomson tells CHS. “We knew things were happening but not like this.”

Thomson said Clever Dunne’s had another two years on its lease but the pub’s deal has been bought out and the drinking spot needs to be shut down and moved out by January 31st.

CHS hopes to learn more soon from Dunne’s owner Jamie Saling about the buyout and closure. Saling confirmed the closure with CHS after a post from Clever Dunne’s spread the news to patrons:

The staff at clever dunnes wanted to let you all know in person, but due to social media, we are letting you know this way.we will be closing at the end of this month. It’s been a good run and we love you all. Come enjoy the last week and a half with us. We will be doing a big close out for the employees so you can come say goodbye and us to you.

We will also try to dig up more on the history of the bar. The original company paperwork appears to date back to 2003 when Bernard McGuire operated the pub.

UPDATE 1/19/17: The 1916-built building’s owner also has held a deep connection to Seattle’s neighborhood bar scene. Keith Robbins also owns Tini Bigs and the Hula Hula Lounge in lower Queen Anne as they prepare to close to make way for a mixed-use development. Before you make any connections to possible development coming to Clever Dunne’s corner, our check of permits and property records shows no recent sale and, as of yet, nothing on file regarding plans to develop the E Olive Way at E Howell property. But we did find this regarding the search for a new home for Tini Bigs:

As Tini Bigs readies for its final day just after New Year’s Eve, Robbins reports that the search for a new home for the lounge has produced only “soul-less” locations. After 20 years occupying its charming 1929-constructed building, also home to Robbins’ neighboring Tiki lounge, Hula Hula’s, time will tell if Tini Bigs reemerges elsewhere in the city.

UPDATE 1/19/2017 9:45 AM: Robbins declined to comment on the situation at this time.

Meanwhile, just up E Howell, the Redwood is also counting down the days until it closes for good to make way for a microhousing and mixed-use project.screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-19-11-am

While two longtime contributors to the area’s drinking scene are about to hang up their pint glasses, more recent newcomers have turned the stretch into a busy nightlife zone anchored by the likes of Montana and the newest newcomer Dino’s. In 2014, we talked with the folks behind the Crescent and their vow to remain Capitol Hill’s last dive bar. At this rate, their vow might be realized sooner than most hoped.

Clever Dunne’s manager Thomson said plans for the final weeks along E Olive Way are still being shaped but will definitely include a final Saturday blowout to say goodbye.

UPDATE 1/20/17 9:25 AM: While we’re told you probably don’t have to worry about “condos” coming to the corner, there is still nothing to report on what comes next for the bar. In the meantime, fans have apparently begun to take some of their beloved pub with them:


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5 thoughts on “Clever Dunne’s, Capitol Hill’s ‘Irish House,’ to close at end of month

    • i’ve heard from a local realtor it’s eventually going to be redeveloped, but apparently the landlord/owner won’t return phone calls and won’t offer any short term leases – except apparently to a Vape shop :(