A Misunderstanding at the Alki Tavern
[Dear Ms. Clement,]
You know what, you need to come [to the Alki Tavern] more often. The patrons at the Alki are like a family. I am certain that you are one of those Capitol Hill messenger-bag-carrying yuppies who is living off mom and dad's money, so you need to realize that you need a change from the Comet, Satellite, or in your case Neighbours. Get off Capitol Hill, explore Seattle, and quit being a stuck-up cunt.
Butch Fields, longtime patron of the Alki Tavern
P.S. Thursday is taco night.
Dear Mr. Fields,
Please forgive my tardiness in responding. I regret not replying sooner; it's been months since I went to the Alki Tavern ["Tacos, Bikers, a View," Sept 13], and your letter has weighed on my mind. One develops a pretty thick skin about the kind of assumptions you've made (though name-calling, however unwarranted, always hurts a little bit—poor form, sir). But while your specific remarks are less than instructive, your letter raises an issue about Bar Exam in general.
The Alki Tavern is great. Everyone there, from the bartenders to the bikers to the shoeshine guy, was welcoming in their own way. The beer was cold. The tacos more than fulfilled every expectation one could possibly have about $1 tacos at a bar. (It was, in fact, Thursday, not Tuesday: a regrettable error. One day is much the same as another here at Bar Exam.) The decor: real-deal roadhouse. The view: beautiful.
But Bar Exam isn't a thumbs-up/down type of affair. Bar Exam is a column replete with observation and arguably long-winded atmospherics meant to give a sense of place, meant to allow readers to draw their own conclusions. Bar Exam is admittedly sometimes obtuse. Regrettably, more than once, this has led to total misunderstanding. But when I get mail like yours, I almost always also hear from people who've received the spirit of the thing as intended.
That "one-man welcoming committee" behind the bar is my son Gill, and you hit it dead-on with the reference to "the Dude." Your article caught the true essence of the Alki. My husband, Gill Sr., especially liked your remark that the Alki "doesn't give a damn and never will." After 31 years, why start now?
Just for the record, it's Taco Thursday. On Tuesday we have Wimpy burgers, same deal—$1 build-your-own with the same guy in the kitchen and Gill behind the bar. So come on down Tuesday. Thanks again for keeping the Alki alive and well.
I'm sorry for the confusion, Butch. Onward and upward! I wish you and the Alki Tavern family a very happy New Year.
Alki Tavern, 1321 Harbor Ave SW, 932-9970