A little over two years ago, two of my former coworkers, Trevor and Liza, opened up a bar in Wallingford with one of their good friends, Taryn. I had full confidence in their abilities, as excellent workers and wonderful people in general, but even I couldn’t have prepared myself for how awesome The Octopus would turn out.
I’ve been going there steadily since it opened, and I can say with confidence that I will continue to go there regularly as long as both the bar and I are still in Seattle. There are a lot of good places to hang out in Seattle, a lot of bars and restaurants from which to choose on any given Saturday night, Tuesday evening, or Thursday afternoon. It takes something special to move an establishment from just being good to being excellent, to become the place that you think of first when you’re figuring out your plans, to truly capture your decision-making apparatus. We all like easy decisions. Going to The Octopus is one of the easiest decisions to make in Seattle.
What is it that separates The Octopus from other bars? It’d be easy for me to just say “everything”, but, as it turns out, it’s true. It starts with its wonderful location in the heart of Wallingford, manifests itself in the thoughtful and inimitable décor, expresses itself through the bevy of original and classically remastered food and cocktail choices, and is ultimately reflected and embodied in the amazing people that have and continue to work at The Octopus. It’s clear that this is more than a job for them: it’s a passion, a passion that defines the entire establishment, a passion that seeps into the very woodwork, that lets the patrons know that they are welcome here, that they will always be welcome here.
You can feel it when you walk into the place, you can see it in the eyes and on the faces of the customers, who are more than customers, they are passengers, allowed access, for a joyously fleeting period, to a journey into the hearts and imaginations of the wonderful people who own and operate The Octopus. It’s rare to find a place where you know that you can trust every person there to make your journey as memorable and meaningful as possible.
There are many times when I turn with both conscious and unconscious intent to The Octopus, knowing that walking through its doors will be as refreshing as a sea-breeze, and knowing that everyone there will be a friend, even if I’ve never met them before. Whether I’m celebrating a soccer victory on a lazy summer Sunday, catching up with some reading during a Thursday happy hour, or swinging by for last call on a Friday night, I know that I’ll find a friendly face, a cold beer, and a listening ear. Especially in those times when I’m wandering, lost, amidst the endless ways of the world, I know that, like a strong light through the fog, The Octopus will always be there for me, an anchor when I am unstable, a rudder when I am directionless, a set of sails when I have stalled, a strong deck beneath my feet when I am weak, and, above all else, a safe haven in the stormy seas surrounding.