UPDATE: We’ve learned that the Tippe and Drague is not for sale. One of the servers (Wieber) is taking over, so it’ll be in good hands. The rest of the story is correct.
According to a report by KUOW, a beloved Beacon Hill beer-focused bar is for sale. The Tippe and Drague Alehouse’s owners, Melissa and Robert, are relocating across the country.
If you’ve ever been to Tippe and Drague in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood either Melissa or Robert has very likely served you a beer. The owners of the beer-focused alehouse are always there. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been there when one of the two was not tending bar or working the floor. Most often, they’re both there. (photo above from Facebook.)
Their reliable presence is one of the things that makes the Tippe and Drague Alehouse so special and so warmly embraced by the neighborhood since the couple opened the business eight years ago, but every labor of love has its limits. Fun things like curating a kickass draft menu and establishing relationships with local breweries are among the fun parts of bar ownership. Impossibly long hours, stretching already tight budgets and sweating to make payroll, not so much. It seems that Melissa Cabal and Robert McConaughy have decided to sell the bar and relocate to another part of the county.
According to a report from KUOW, the life partners have decided to sell the Tippe and Drague Alehouse. More than that, they’re leaving Seattle. Selling the business, selling their house, and relocating across the country are three independent things that are indelibly linked. If the cost of living were lower in Seattle, maybe they wouldn’t have made the decision to sell the business and uproot their lives.
Robert told KUOW that they’ve become frustrated. The frustration seems to be linked to the cost of living. “We’re barely pushing middle class, for how we work, and you go to other places, and a bar owner, tavern owner, restaurant owner, is pretty firmly middle class. So it’s kind of frustrating that way.”
The idea of relocation had crossed the couple’s minds prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic helped drive the point home. Robert told KUOW, “Literally, like a week before we said, ‘Should we move to Detroit?’ we were like, talking about building a deck on the front of our house to have a nice view of the sunset.”
They decided to forget about building the deck and instead put the house on the market.
There’s no doubt that a buck goes a lot further in a place like Detroit or Cleveland. Other things that factored into the decision, like Robert’s desire to further his career as a board game designer and Melissa’s desire to have more free time to “follow baseball teams around.” Also, they expressed a desire to be closer to their families.
I love the Tippe and Drague Alehouse. To me, it is the quintessential neighborhood bar. It is tiny, the food is tasty, the rotating draft list is always impressive, and the people are really friendly. Robert and Melissa will be missed and I wish them nothing but the best and all the happiness they deserve and desire.
As for the Tippe and Drague, I hope the new owners carry on with what Melissa and Robert have so lovingly created. According to a statement in the KUOW story, one of the current servers is stepping up and taking the reigns.