Painter Ethan Jack Harrington has immortalized The Viking Tavern (6404 24th Ave NW) on canvas before it closes for demolition at the end of the month. Harrington finished the oil painting earlier this month and it has reportedly been a big hit with both regulars and staff at the iconic Ballard watering hole.
The Viking, which has been a staple of the community since 1950, is being demolished to make way for apartment complex “Ballard Lofts”. The complex will be built at the southeast corner of 24th Ave NW and NW 65th St where The Viking and 2 and 1/2 Happy Barbers Barbershop now stand. The Viking will continue to operate until April 30, however, according to a sign in the window, 2 and 1/2 Happy Barbers have already relocated to a new spot in Ravenna at 502 NE 65th St.
Developer Bill Parks purchased the land in May last year. He then submitted a Land Use Application to the Department of Planning and Development in November to turn the block into the Ballard Lofts apartment complex comprising of 54 residential units above a ground level of retail. After the development was approved, there was talk of inclusion of The Viking in the new complex, however, that is now unlikely. In regards to the businesses that would have to go to make way for Ballard Lofts Parks said, at a November meeting, “people have emotional investments in these businesses, and I can appreciate that, but that doesn’t help us to develop a building.” Check out our initial coverage of the development here and our coverage of the project’s community meeting in December here.
Despite the looming closure Viking employee Erin remained positive when questioned about the future. Although she noted that the closure was “depressing” for many, The Viking will continue to operate with enthusiasm until the end of the month. Erin could not confirm what was in store for The Viking past April but did confirm that Harrington’s painting has been popular. “It is a fantastic way for people to remember The Viking,” says Erin.
Prints of the painting are now available for purchase at The Viking for $40, or $60 for the matted version. Anyone is welcome to head over to the tavern to place an order and Harrington will deliver prints for pick up.
We will be sure to update readers with coverage from The Viking on the closure day at the end of the month.