I'm sitting at the bar in Flowers Bar & Restaurant. It's June 7. It's 6 pm. Smiling Fadi Hamade, the joint's owner, has just served me a glass of drinkable sauvignon blanc.

I'm reading on my phone Paul Dirac’s very short banquet speech for the Nobel Prize he won in 1933. (He shared the prize with man who is responsible for the quantum cat meme, Erwin Schrödinger.) This part of the Dirac's speech catches my attention: "There is in my opinion a great similarity between the problems provided by the mysterious behavior of the atom and those provided by the present economic paradoxes confronting the world."

What to make of this? My thoughts come to two conclusions: For one, 1933 is in the middle of the greatest economic crash of the 20th century. The second conclusion will be explained in another post because, just as the thought began to form in my brain, something unusual happened in Flowers. 

All of a sudden there's a flurry of activity. I look up and see a group people facing Hamade, who is behind in the bar and clearly on the verge of exploding. "What happened to America!" he yells at the unmoved group. "This is not the same country I came to. I came here for freedom. Freedom! What happened to freedom? This is not the America that I love."

Hamade is originally from Lebanon, and, as I wrote in a 2020 post concerning the Ave, he has owned Flowers, a University District institution, since 1992.

As two police officers stood calmly by the business' door, the group began handing Hamade papers.

What was going on? It looked like the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) was shutting down the place. 

"We are not closing the place down," a member of the LCB team told me. "The owner just can't sell liquor here any more. There will be a press release tomorrow that will explain the situation. That's all I can say for now." 

Sure enough, the press release appeared on June 8.

[Y]esterday [LCB] issued an emergency liquor license suspension for Flowers, located at 4247 University Way NE in Seattle. The suspension is effective for 180 days beginning June 7, 2023. During that time the LCB will seek permanent revocation of the license. 

Permanent? Flowers is truly fucked. This business stopped serving good food a very long time ago. (Its lunchtime vegetarian buffet was once the talk of the town.) One comes here to drink, and its location is perfect for this because the U District Station is right across street.

Also the place is very popular with students. They come here to get drunk. Indeed, Flowers' main source of income, the young and boozy university crowd, seems to have been a cash cow in one hand and a curse in the other. LCB reports that its "officers have conducted 39 premises checks since the beginning of 2022. During this time, officers confiscated 20 fake IDs from minors in possession of alcohol inside the location."


In the last 12 months, there have been at least 11 calls to Seattle Police Department (SPD) for acts of violence directly related to Flowers, their staff and their patrons. Most recently, on May 21, 2023, an incident involved security staff and the licensee repeatedly punching a patron on the sidewalk outside the building, inciting a larger altercation which ultimately escalated to gunshots being fired.

I called Hamade about these accusations, but he did not answer the phone, and his phone takes no messages. Also, this was not the first time his business ran into trouble. In 2020, Public Health – Seattle & King County suspended its license "after management defied the state’s social distancing guidelines."

But what a bummer the present suspension must be for graduating students, who planned nothing less than a booze-blitz at this popular place. And I, a geezer, might have been served one of its last drinks.