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Dori Monson

Farvel, Viking Tavern

FILE - This Jan. 27, 2016, photo provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office shows Ammon Bundy. The leaders of an armed group who seized a national wildlife refuge in rural Oregon were acquitted Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 in the 41-day standoff that brought new attention to a long-running dispute over control of federal lands in the U.S. West. A jury found brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy not guilty a firearm in a federal facility and conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 300 miles southeast of Portland where the trial took place. Five co-defendants also were tried one or both of the charges. (Multnomah County Sheriff via AP, File)

After serving customers for over 63 years, an icon in Ballard closes its doors on Tuesday.

The Viking Tavern wouldn’t be the first locale to make room for beige condos. It follows Sunset Bowl and Denny’s in Ballard’s core.

Dori, who grew up on the “mean streets of Ballard,” has fond memories of the little watering hole on the corner of 24th and 65th.

“I used to walk by it every single day on the way to and from school.”

Of course, Dori wasn’t of age, but he spent a lot of time across the street at the Milk Barn in the 60’s and 70’s. A good day was when an extra quarter would afford him a cherry Hostess Fruit Pie as an after school treat.

“I’d look across the street at the Viking Tavern and there was a pretty good chance that my uncle Johnny was going to be in there.”

At the time, Dori said he thought of the Viking as a sad place where a “broken down old warrior” who had served his country for some 25 years would go drink his life away.

Now, “with the perspective of time,” Dori thinks the Viking was a place where uncle Johnny could go hang out with like-minded guys and not be judged.

Dori said he has since lamented the change in clientele. He said the Viking seems to be an ironic hangout for a bunch of hipsters. But he doesn’t want to see it go.

The big, new “Ballard Lofts” will replace the tiny tavern, which has no plans to reopen in a different location.

“All of these landmarks where I grew up in Ballard (Denny’s, Sunset Bowl, and now the Viking Tavern)…all these things that gave my childhood character, (now) there’s just this sameness,” said Dori. “Every one of those buildings looks exactly the same.”

“So I bid the Viking Tavern a fond adieu. If uncle Johnny heard me bid goodbye to the Viking Tavern with ‘adieu,’ he’d crawl out of his grave and slap me.”

OK, uncle Johnny, here goes: Ha det or farvel, Viking Tavern. Farvel.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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Stephanie Klein

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