Archive for April, 2014


Have a Birthday Drink

April 24, 2014

Anniversary Cocktail

Wow. Five years we’ve been open. Screw it, that’s enough. See you around.

– MJ

P.S. Alright, one more week. Maybe more, but NO PROMISES. Anyway, tonight there will be cake, guest bartender Leslie Johnston with her unfortunate arms, and peach and sage for the cocktails, since that’s what we did five years ago on opening night.

Please come drink with us, and raise a glass to many more years of bartenderly bliss. Yes, it is so a word.

– Even Older Man Johnson


5 Years Behind Bars

April 23, 2014

Feedback Lounge 5th Anniversary

On April 25th, 2009 we opened the Feedback Lounge. Now it’s five years later, a pretty cool milestone. So how do we celebrate? Loudly.

We’ve been doing warm-up celebrations all week long, but the big bash happens on Thursday, April 24th, with an awesome rock show on Friday. Here’s what we have planned…

We’re launching our new spring/summer menu, loaded with Chef Wade meals that’ll set off food alarms in your head. Not only that, he tweaked our wildly popular $3 – $6 Happy Hour menu AND is extending our kitchen hours until 1AM. So when you get a case of the late night hunger games, we got your back. And insides.

Matt Johnson, co-owner and master cocktail craftsman, has some new house drinks for your consideration in anticipation of our new cocktail menu, which he’s still fussing over.

And to make the place look special, we hung rare rock art, with select pieces from co-owner Jeff Gilbert’s private stash. These include Pearl Jam, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones and Kiss. Speaking of, we have our Rok Box loaded up with amazing Kiss memorabilia, just as we did five years ago when we opened the doors.

And what would a milestone celebration be without some Feedback Lounge alumni? Joining us as guest bartender is Leslie Johnston, who left us last year for sunnier weather (Los Angeles). We talked her into coming up and getting back behind the bar. She’s not the only one. Wait ’til you see who else is re-joining us.

There will be custom floral arrangements, DJ Kingblind doing a special anniversary night of music, and a custom anniversary cake made by Bradi Jones, who has been doing all our cakes since we opened. (We also replenished our Feedback Lounge hoodies and t-shirts.)

As for the big rock show on Friday, April 25th, it’s A Very Ozzy Anniversary, a tribute to Ozzy and, well, us! Opening the show is Bastard of Reality, a stellar Black Sabbath tribute. We’ve had this show here several times since last October and our customers keep begging us to bring it back. Beg no more.

Thank you West Seattle for an adventure filled first five years. We have much more planned for the next five, so come celebrate with us; It’s as much a party for you as it is us.

– The Feedback Lounge Staff


Things You Didn’t Know About The Feedback Lounge

April 22, 2014

Feedback Lounge

Here’s some gossip-worthy fun facts you may (or probably may not) know about the Feedback Lounge and those of us who are owned by it…

• The original Feedback Lounge logo was designed by famous artist, Art Chantry. Subsequent renditions of the bar’s branding were designed by the not-nearly-as-famous Jeff Gilbert, co-owner. One of Art’s early renditions is shown above, while another still adorns our Twitter profile pic:

• The bar’s original sound system was the same one used for years by the iconic Crocodile rock club downtown. (They sold it to us at a pretty good price when they got their new fancy pants PA and digital mixing board with lots of shiny buttons.)

• Construction and remodel of the Feedback Lounge was done by Jason Levenson, Jeff Angell and Ben Anderson. Jeff and Ben now tour internationally with their very famous band, Walking Papers. (Jeff and Ben also perform with their other band, The Missionary Position. They released The Missionary Position: Live at the Feedback Lounge DVD last year. You can’t see us in the background attempting to photo bomb the show as we were edited out. Again.)

• Of all the rock stars who came to visit us, we’ve only had to cut off one: Alan White from Yes. He drank a LOT that night back in May 2009 during a star-studded gathering honoring Gene Stout from the Seattle P.I. Alan didn’t do anything rowdy, like throw our TV off the balcony. But when you can’t even recite lyrics to “Roundabout,” your band’s biggest hit, it’s time to call a cab.

Conversely, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons came in, drank a single Corona, leaving two swallows in the bottle. A customer asked if he could have it so as to build a shrine around it at home. Hard to deny a hard core rock fan.

• Co-owner Matt Johnson has won contests and awards from Grey Goose, Woodford, Crop Organic Spirits, Cutty Sark, and King 5 amongst others. For his job as a mixologist with Young’s Market he has created hundreds of custom cocktail menus for bars and restaurants of all sizes, most recently the Azteca chain, Cactus restaurants, Salty’s on Alki, and 1923 (the new bar at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas), and done over 1000 hours of staff spirits and mixology training. And he wears colorful ties while doing it.

• The legendary Johnny Ramone painting hanging in the bar for the last five years was done by Pearl Jam road manager, Kevin Shuss.

• Our Feedback Lounge hoodies and t-shirts are printed by Jim Sorenson, who screen printed the tour shirts for Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney and just about every other band in Seattle back in the day. Most fluids that come out of him are ink.

• Co-owner Jeff Gilbert, who works with Live Nation Concerts, Live Nation Comedy and STG, created all the gigantic posters, banners and billboards for the Paul McCartney show at Safeco Field last year. “It was a pain in the arse,” says Jeff. (Gilbert is also the guy behind all those wildly colorful, building shrouding outdoor banners for Cirque du Soleil in Portland.

Duff McKagen (Guns ‘N Roses/Walking Papers) played an acoustic show here several years ago. Looked plugged in to us.

• Numerous commercial rock videos and concerts have been filmed here, including the aforementioned Missionary Position, along with Van Epps, Travis Brächt, V & The Noise, Daughters of the Dead Sea, Nick Vigarino & Back Porch Stomp, and The Wired! Band. Our Tuesday night Blues To Do Live shows are taped for Public Access TV and streamed live on the internet.

• We were asked to host a KNDD-presented acoustic concert with Social Distortion a few years ago, but got rock blocked by an unnamed super jealous club downtown that wanted the show for themselves. (P.S. Their martinis still are overpriced and sucky.)

• Prior to being elected state governor, Jay Inslee held a pre-election fundraiser here. Before addressing the crowd he talked to us about the bar and liked our collection of rare rock memorabilia. His fav? The Who. (And The Stones.)

• Prior to becoming a bar owner, Matt Johnson ran Obsidian Press, a small publishing house specializing in rare and limited edition works from national horror genre authors. You wouldn’t know it, but Matt’s an accomplished (i.e., darn good) writer himself.

• Actress Judith O’Dea, best known for her roles as the immortal “Barbara” in the horror classic Night of the Living Dead (1968), was a guest at the Feedback Lounge a few years ago and signed some Halloween posters for us. They still hang in our office.

Speaking of horror…

• Co-owner Jeff Gilbert has been writing a daily horror/sci-fi movie blog called Drinkin’ ‘n Drive-in for the last six years – three of which was for You can find at least 1,300 posts here:


Anniversaries, Flowers and Booze

April 17, 2014

Booze 'n Flowers


I once again have to take the night away – it’s my 10 year anniversary with my beautiful wife, and we’re going…you may not believe this…OUTSIDE OF WEST SEATTLE. I know.

Anyhoo, Amanda and new guy/already popular Jason will be making you feel all boozy. And, cuz I feel like it, I’m gonna make them work with flowers. Sure, St. Germain Elderflower, but Orange Flower Water, Rose Flower Water, Crème de Violette, Magellan Gin… You’re going to love it, promise.

And, if you run in to my wife sometime, please tell her thanks for putting up with me for 10 years, ‘cuz damn, could NOT have been easy.

– OMJ on behalf of JF and AH


Big Perfect Gin

April 10, 2014
Big Gin

If you’ve heard me talk about local booze, you know it’s a mixed bag in my book. Some of it’s terrible, some of it’s good, and a few are outstanding.

Cuz it’s how I roll, I finally got around to buying one of the absolute best – Big Gin and Big Gin Bourbon Barrel Aged. I’m a nut for gin and theirs makes my arm hairs stand up and tummy sleepy. And the barrel aged one is the best locally made booze I’ve ever had, full stop.

So, we’ll try not to hack it up too badly by making some drinks with it tonight

Perfection is: Big Gin Jasmine: Big Gin, Lemon, Cointreau, Campari. Just sayin’.

– Hugs, OMJ



Interview With A Bar Owner, Pt. 1

April 5, 2014

Interview With A Bar Owner

As the Feedback Lounge nears its five year anniversary [April 25, 2014], we decided rather than look back on what we’ve learned about owning a bar (we did that three years running), we thought we’d give you an insight by answering a pile of reoccurring questions customers ask us all time. In no particular order…

“I thought you were a heavy metal bar…”
That’s not a question. But we hear this uncomfortably too often. Answer: No and no; We are NOT a heavy metal bar. We’ve had hard rock bands occasionally play here, but 99.9% of the time we do blues, funk, soul, classic rock, rockabilly, acoustic, singer/songwriter, folk, pop, alt-rock, jazz, country, disco… Everything but rap. Our customers made it very clear they do not want to hear rap music, recorded or live, at the Feedback Lounge. Disclaimer: We’re planning something really fun with West Seattle’s iconic rap star, Kirk Dubb (he raps about booze).

What have been some of your best promotions over the years?
Answer: Almost too many favs to mention. But our annual Elvis and Frank Sinatra events (“El-Fest: E Meets West” and “Frank Fest”) immediately come to mind. On these nights people dress up, we get tribute performers to play and we pay homage to two of the greatest singers in the world – and pack the house at the same time. We’ve also hosted several Rat City Rollergirls parties and continue to do so. Those gals are crazy fun.

“How come you don’t put sports on your big screens?”
When we opened in 2009 we wanted to establish ourselves as a music bar and leave the sports to the experts. At the time, West Seattle’s RockSport ruled the sports bar scene. They’re gone and now our good friends at The Bridge have stepped up and provide you with as much sports as you could ever want. And the Beveridge Place Pub – our great neighbors next to us – always has the World Cup games and lots more on the tube.

We did, however, listen to our customers, and had the entire Hawks season on our two 10-foot screens with breakfast specials for the early games and, of course, that insanely exciting Super Bowl thing. Kinda big news for a minute or so around here. You may have heard about it.  Ahem.

So are we gonna do more sports? We’ll do the Hawks start to finish. Baseball, basketball, and soccer probably not. Like we said, leave the sports to the pros. We’re not opposed, however, to showing a championship game, but by and large our regulars have stated they’d prefer we not have sports blaring all the time.

“How often do you do charity events?”
As often as we can. We’ve hosted a wide variety of charitable fundraising events from the day we opened, and continue to do so. Our ongoing charity event is Booze, Balls & Bingo, a riotous live drag bingo game with singing, a deejay and Tru St. James, one of the most entertaining and talented performers in the city. And the prizes are insanely cool. We’ve been doing this monthly for over a year and they have raise thousands of dollars for a variety of charities.

“Can you take drinks outside to the back deck?”
During the warmer months, yes. Why anyone would want to stand out there drinking in the cold and rain is beyond us. So we don’t open it to that when the weather’s acting up. You can go out there and smoke, though. P.S. Smoking is bad for you.

“I don’t see your ads in The Weekly or Stranger; Where can I find out about your live music shows and other events?”
Both of those papers are great, but cost-prohibitive for a neighborhood bar. We tend to focus on Facebook, Twitter and our website, which we update almost daily. (We have one of the most active bar/restaurant websites in town.) And where would we be without the indispensable West Seattle Blog, who cover everything that happens in West Seattle? (Do they even sleep?)

“How come you don’t charge cover for your live music nights or any other event?”
Answer: The Feedback Lounge is a neighborhood bar. We never charge someone to come in to sit down to a drink and dinner, whether live music’s playing or not.

“I hear you have a lot of rock stars come in here…”
Yes, we do. Sure, we could name drop guys from ZZ Top, Heart, Yes, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Guns ‘N Roses, Quiet Riot, Queensryche, The Wailers and lots more, but that’d be just plain bragging. Ahem.

So ends part one of An Interview With A Bar Owner. Next up: The nuts and bolts of owning a bar from a bill paying perspective. (You’re gonna wanna hear some of this stuff – we’ve got your reality show right here, pal.)


Vegas Punch

April 3, 2014

Vegas Punch

Lovelies, I’m heading to Las Vegas (Spanish for “The Vegas”) for a couple days to teach bartenders how to make some drinkies and sample some 60 year old scotch or something.

Instead of me working tonight, Kevin Phillips will return for a guest appearance, and our new guy Jason Flatebo will join him. Ironically, they chose punch as the theme for the night. It’s ironic because I’ve seen them play a game they call “punch” when they’ve been drinking where they literally punch the s**t (“snot”) out of each other, like only true friends do. Oh, and they’re VERY good at making drinks.

And if you get to see them punch each other, all the better! Tonight, all night.



West Seattle’s 1st Annual Comedy Competition

April 1, 2014

Comedy Competition

The 1st Annual Feedback Funny Invitational Comedy Competition is happening at the Feedback Lounge in April with the first preliminary round happening Wednesday, April 2nd at 8pm.

This will be an outstanding display of Seattle’s local comedy talent. We will have 17 comedians on stage that night and they will each have 6 minutes to convince you that they should be the Feedback Funny Champion. The 2nd preliminary round will occur on April 9th with an entirely different group of comics.

Five comics from each of the preliminary rounds will advance to the finale on Wednesday, April 23rd. Seating is limited and the room will likely reach capacity before the competition begins. Come early for food, drinks and more laughs than you deserve. No cover or minimum order required.