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Ahoy, matey! West Seattle's pirate-themed bar is back and better than ever

Admiral Benbow Room first opened in 1950 and became one of West Seattle's most popular gathering places. #k5evening

SEATTLE — A longtime West Seattle bar is getting new life — while still honoring its past.

Admiral Benbow Room is the updated incarnation of the pirate-themed establishment, which first opened in 1950.

Named after the inn described in Robert Louis Stevenson's book "Treasure Island,” the Benbow Room was a go-to spot for decades.

Mudhoney shot a music video inside. Populist political figure Charlie Chong held meetings there while running for mayor of Seattle.

Jo Clutcher, who joined the staff in 1968 and worked as a bartender for 35 years, said there were always “fun people” popping by.

“We had the longshoremen that came up and we would make martinis by the gallon for lunchtime,” she said. “We had KZOK (DJ’s) Robin (Erickson) and (John) Maynard, Robin came here every day.”

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New owners remodeled parts of the room but maintained the original vibe. Customers can play pinball and video games, sit inside the shipside cocktail lounge, and dance to nightly DJ sets in the main room.

Credit: KING TV
Customers can sit in the "shipside lounge" to enjoy their drinks.

The most popular drink? Bar manager Tony Larson said the Coco Loco slushie is “flying off the shelves” — it’s made with vodka, tequila, run, cream of coconut, and coconut milk.

"All our cocktails are batched out in large format and then we pull them off of a tap like you would a beer so everything comes out super consistent and super-fast for the guest,” he said.

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Bar bites are also available — and on Mondays and Tuesdays, Ma’Ono chicken is on the menu.

The changes are building a bridge between past and future patrons.

“You come in during the day and it’s all the people who used to frequent the Benbow Inn — 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago,” Larson said. “And then at night, we have a new generation. Younger millennials and Gen Z coming in to see the venue, too. So, it spans all ages.”

Credit: KING TV

Clutcher said she wouldn’t change a thing.

“I love it, I love it,” she said. "Definitely come back now because it's great, I love what they've done to it. It makes me kind of choke up."

Admiral Benbow Room is located at 4210 S.W. Admiral Way and is open daily from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

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