The Scoop on the Sloop Mural
In an area chock full of restaurants and bars for every taste from artisanal to mundane, owner Patrick Files is happy to share one of several things that make the Sloop Tavern unique. The Sloop, as it's known to locals, is Ballard's last tavern, meaning that it only serves beer and wine. According to Files, there used to be 40 taverns in Ballard. The Sloop Tavern, which is popular with machine workers, other local workers and sailors, is also a friendly stopover for Henry and his fellow artists.
One day, Henry approached Files about filling the blank exterior wall on the west side, the one facing a gravel alley. After being given the go-ahead, Henry and two other artists painted the mural. In this clip, Files tells the story behind the different characters that appear on the mural, an idea that was hatched by Henry and his friend and one of the fellow mural artists on the mural, Andrew Miller.
Video music: Herrain (Instrumental) / John Shough
Files's Ballardite Litmus Test and Thoughts on Seattle's Changes
Files, who grew up in north Seattle and attending seafood fests, says he has a litmus test to suss out true Ballardites. The test involves answering the following question: Who is the famous accordion player who always played at the Ballard Seafood Fest? The answer? Stan Borreson, who Files refers to as "the man who knew 2,000 songs on the accordion."
As for the changes sweeping Ballard, Files has mixed opinions. "I wish they would have kept some of the more of the original stuff around here," he says. "They did their best to preserve some of the old historic buildings down on Ballard Ave ... The rents have gone up quite a bit so a lot of the more blue-collar workers have been forced to move out of town or north," he adds.
His final thoughts? "Change is going to come, it always happens. You can't stop it, so you have to embrace it a little bit."