Vessel, the influential bar that helped fuel the cocktail craze in Seattle, has closed. After their shift ended early this morning, bartenders and staff raised their glasses and then shut the doors and turned out the lights.
“It was not doing the volume that we were hoping it would do,” Co owner Clark Niemeyer said Saturday. “We talked to them (the landlords) about renegotiating our lease to take the pressure off us. But they were not willing to do that. But we take full responsibility. We took a risk. We did it with our eyes wide open.”
This is the second time since that Vessel has had to shutter amid a lease dispute and rumors of financial problems. According to court records, Vessel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.
Opened in 2006, Vessel was one of the most influential cocktail dens in Seattle, drawing national attention to the city’s drinking culture. It was also one of the most sought after bartending jobs in the Northwest, a work space where bartenders were given free rein to create their menus and got to serve an attentive audience of cocktail geeks who all wanted a front row seat at the bar.
After closing in December 2010, Vessel returned August 2012 on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Olive Way — in a new, industrial chic space that was even bigger. Its return was a costly one. Despite signing a lease, it was still months away from opening due to inspection delays and an expensive build out.