“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,” is the famous chorus to the Cheers theme song and as the Northshore continues to grow, finding that place can be harder than ever.
Luckily for Kenmore residents that friendly atmosphere can be found any night of the week at the Cozy Inn tavern.
Tina Alexander has worked at the bar since 1988 as a bartender.
“It’s just an old Cheers style bar, everybody likes it,” she said on a sunny afternoon sitting on the taverns deck overlooking Lake Washington.
The Cozy Inn has been serving beer and wine since the end of prohibition, back when it was Henry’s Hamburgers and Watermelons, as the name implies it used to be a hamburger joint and fruit stand.
On a recent Thursday evening the tavern was filling up. Walls laden with posters, articles and pictures of American icons house a growing number of locals ordering beers, smokes and conversing with friends.
John Brown has worked here for 13 years and said the people keep him coming back.
“It’s a lot of fun actually,” he said. “There’s a good sense of community in the Cozy.”
A regular stepped up to the bar as Brown greeted him by name and asked him if he’d have his usual Coors Lite.
In a region with so many faces passing by, personal service can be hard to find, but Brown said it’s all part of the allure.
“The phrase that we like to use is ‘oldschool,'” he said.
In a recent Seattle Times piece, the reporter documents the slow death of neighborhood dive bars. Places with history that locals can grab a drink at.
Brown said he thinks it’s important for the community to have a gathering place.
“To me, it’s very important to maintain some of the community roots,” he said. “I wouldn’t exactly call it a lynch pin, but I would say it’s a vital part of the community.”
Rock music plays in the background as a man in his young 20s walks up to the bar as he and Brown launch into a conversation like old friends about when he was in last, settling for between nine days to two weeks.
Both Brown and Alexander mentioned the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere the bar exudes.
Newcomers are greeted with a warm welcome from the old-timers, Brown said.
“I think it’s a little more inclusive, a little more welcoming than a lot of places,” he said.
The Cozy Inn is also looking to attract new patrons. Construction along State Route 522 has put a damper on business since last fall, Alexander said.
They recently started an open mic comedy night on Tuesdays starting around 8 p.m.
But for the regulars, construction hasn’t been a problem.
“They will always manage to get here,” she said.
The Cozy Inn is located at 6215 Bothell Way Northeast in Kenmore.