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New owners, new chapter at Capitol Hill classic the Canterbury

Just under four years after reopening with new owners and a major overhaul, 15th Ave E medieval dive bar turned medieval not-so-dive bar the Canterbury Ale House has new ownership.

Business partners Pavit Jagga and Ryan Lewis are taking over the 15th at Mercer watering hole. You might hear Capitol Hill favorite yo, son Macklemore on the sound system but, no, it’s not that Ryan Lewis.

Entrepreneur Jagga tells CHS that this Ryan Lewis is the owner behind Belltown’s Amber and that the two friends will be working together to bring new energy to the “one of a kind” 15th Ave E bar that Jagga has long coveted. Expect a new food menu soon and a wider selection of beer, wine, and booze.

The new owners take over from two big players in Capitol Hill nightlife.

Neumos partner Mike Meckling, and Sam’s Tavern owner James Snyder hooked up to bring the Canterbury into the new era of Capitol Hill’s food and drink boom after Capitol Hill Housing, the owner of the Fredonia Apartments building the Canterbury has called home since 1976, began a search for new ownership of the tavern. At one point, Lost Lake partners Jason Lajeunesse and David Meinert were attached to the project before stepping aside for the Meckling-Snyder partnership. Meckling and Snyder helped former owners Stefanie and David Roberge get a good start on retirement, buying the business outright, including the Canterbury name.

The new Canterbury reopened in 2014 with dark walnut everywhere, a giant new bar, a vintage pool table, a big roll-up door, lots of video screens, and the old suit of armor.

Now, the Canterbury starts another new era. Jagga told CHS last year as the planned takeover was just getting started that his primary hope was simply to keep the bar’s great history alive. With the deal on the bar closing this week, the Canterbury’s new chapters can now begin.

The Canterbury Ale House is located at 534 15th Ave E. You can learn more at

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6 thoughts on “New owners, new chapter at Capitol Hill classic the Canterbury

  1. Great news! The current iteration of the Canterbury has been underwhelming to this longtime 15th resident. Neither as a great a dive as it used to be, nor really going beyond mediocre either. Plus I’ve had some unfortunate interaction with the managers/owners over the last few years. Fingers crossed that this is a good move!

  2. The service has been TERRIBLE the last 2 times I’ve been there. Waiting 20 plus minutes for your beer. If it’s a dive bar, fine. Have us order at the bar. If you don’t want it to be a dive, work on the service!

  3. I agree with the service. Lately the employees seem lackluster in their enthusiasm on customer service. But it’s such an important part of a successful business.

    For me, it’s an awesome spot to stop in and get a quick drink and possibly some food. I like the vibe it has. It’s not trying to be more than it is and it’s great as it is. It’s approachable and nice. The old staff was very friendly and accommodating (3-4 years back). I like that I can bring in my laptop and work at the bar in the afternoons (don’t do often but will if it gets better) and I love the open windows seating during the summer. The late evening during the sunset is great during to summer to get a beer and fries and chill. I know that it has a great games scene at night and that’s fun to (just not my vibe).

    What I would do to get to the root of the customer service issue is bring in secret shoppers or give the ability to give feedback when they ring you up for your bill (get the iPad receipt service). So then you can get quick responses to specific interactions. I just found that the service was slow and the servers unfriendly (almost pretentious). Lot’s of friendly folks looking for work so don’t be afraid to turn some staff over.