Easy Street Records was hoping to take over the downstairs bar and even had keys and lease in hand.
Easy Street Records was hoping to take over the downstairs bar and even had "keys and lease" in hand.

Another bummer in a week of major bummers—first Café Racer closes for good, and now this—it looks like Easy Street Records owner Matt Vaughan won’t be able to expand the shop into the Corner Pocket bar space in West Seattle, which closed last year, after all.

For months, Vaughan was under the impression that Easy Street Record’s expansion into Corner Pocket bar, which closed last year after a drug bust, was practically a done deal. His hopes were to move all the in-store, all-ages shows to the downstairs space and then expand Easy Street’s in-house food service upstairs.

According to what he told West Seattle Blog, Vaughan said “It had been discussed over the years with the building owners, the Yen family, that if the Corner Pocket was ever to be made available, Easy Street was the first choice as a successor.”

He even “had the keys and the lease,” and sent a check to the owners, but it was never cashed. Now, it appears as though a deal has been made for another local bar to take the space, though nothing has been confirmed.

Luckily, the building that houses Easy Street Records, the Hamm building, was given landmark historical status in January—so it can’t be torn down by a developer (or at least, the façade can’t). Tom Jenkins, a former manager at Corner Pocket, says he believes it was that very landmark designation that caused the owners and the building’s manager, Mike Trifolio (known around the neighborhood as ‘Jersey Mike’), to hold a grudge against the record store.

“It was pretty much common knowledge that Jersey Mike wasn’t going to do any favors for Easy Street after the designation happened. Easy Street got blamed for just being on the corner, for just being Easy Street,” he told Westside Seattle.

But, sadly, for whatever reasons, the Yen family and the building’s manager, Mike Trifolio, don’t seem to realize the value of having a world-famous record store in their building.

Vaughan says he is “mulling” over what possible recourse he may have in this situation.