Now & Then
The Dog House restaurant served comfort on the edge of Seattle's Aurora Avenue
The Dog House restaurant on the edge of Seattle's Aurora Avenue served comfort food in a convenient location for those heading north out of town from the 1930s until it relocated in the 1950s, then survived another 40 years as a working person's wayside.
WHEN IT BECAME certain that Aurora Avenue would be chosen for the city's principal speedway north from the business district, the neighborhood around its southern origin at Denny Way began to fill in with automotive enterprise: car parts, gas, beer and hamburgers.
Bob Murray sited his new Dog House restaurant on the best short block available, on the north side of Denny Way between Aurora, where a driver would soon be allowed to reach speeds of 30 miles an hour, and Dexter Avenue, which was also wide and straight and almost as convenient as Aurora for reaching the new — in 1932 — Aurora Bridge over the Ship Canal.
Despite the Great Depression, the Dog House — with its comfort food, comforting name and convenient location — survived. In 1940 it was joined, one block to the west, by another eccentric, the Igloo. Together they flourished until their gateway to the Aurora speedway was bypassed in the mid-1950s with the opening of the Battery Street tunnel. Then traffic heading north through this connector between the new (in 1953) Alaskan Way Viaduct and Aurora passed under Denny Way at a speed inconvenient for circling back to either the Dog House or the Igloo.
While the Igloo closed, the Dog House moved nearby to Seventh Avenue and Bell Street, and survived until the last whiskey was served to the singalong organist on Jan. 31, 1994. It was still a working crowd's bar filled with tough sentimentality even on that last night.
The bartender's closing-hour instructions are quoted in Floyd Waterson's historylink reminiscence, article No. 3472: "It's time folks. Get the $#@!#! out of my bar. I wanna go home; they quit paying me."
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