Tim Pipes really just wanted a place where he could go watch hockey. He found himself stopping in bars throughout the city asking if they’d put the hockey game on, and he’d repeatedly get shut down based on whatever baseball, football, or basketball game might be on at the time. Then in 2012 he decided to take matters into his own hands when he decided to open The Angry Beaver, Seattle’s Original Hockey Bar. That’s when it started, the first of what would become a pattern of uncontrollable events that would make Tim’s dream an ongoing struggle.
What could be a worse introduction for your brand-new hockey bar than months without hockey? That’s what happened when the NHL lockout ran from September of 2012 and into the new year. Then in March of 2016 a natural gas explosion across the street from The Angry Beaver blew out all their windows and sent bottles and pictures flying off the walls. Shortly thereafter, before they could even reopen, thieves broke into the bar and stole thousands worth of alcohol, equipment, and memorabilia. And we all know the difficulties that COVID-19 has imposed on bars and restaurants over the past year.
Pipes is a very open and honest individual. It’s easy to understand how these events have filled him with mental anguish and him confessing he’s “depressed with the bar business and life.” Most of us would have thrown in the towel long ago when faced with such hurdles, and Tim wasn’t far away himself. A few things have kept him going through it all though, the PNA, a GoFundMe, the Seattle Kraken, and, most importantly, the hockey fans and folks that love the Beaver.
Back when the explosion occurred, the PNA collected donations to help the businesses impacted by the incident. It took over four months for The Angry Beaver to reopen on account of the long and tedious process of dealing with insurance. Thanks to donations via the PNA, Tim was able to keep his employees on the payroll during the shutdown.
Navigating Covid has been a challenge no one was ready for. PPP loans have been needed, assistance from landlords, and often just trying to find a way to survive. Closing, opening, closing again, opening at 25%, there was no way anyone could prepare for it. When a friend finally started a GoFundMe to Save the Angry Beaver a goal to survive until October presented itself.
What’s so special about October you ask? That’s when Seattle releases the Kraken of course! For a city starved for hockey, and a bar whose identity is tied to it, what could be better than your own, brand new, professional team?
Traction for the GoFundMe began to take off. First it was shared through friends and the local blogs. Then ESPN ran a profile on Tim and The Angry Beaver. The Seattle Times soon followed, as did some of the local television stations. Posts were made and shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. The $50,000 goal was within site, but still remains $7,835 shy of the number. Still, through various means, Pipes has confirmed, “Come hell or high-water, I’m going to be here in October when the Kraken come.”
Tim hasn’t forgotten what this neighborhood has done, and continues to do, for The Angry Beaver and the rest of the community. “This neighborhood is full of a lot of good people, and we’re all just trying,” says Pipes. “I want to be more than a bar owner. I want to be a better steward for the neighborhood. I’ve had to learn some very hard lessons about owning a small business in this state. I don’t want to sit at the bar aimlessly if there’s something I can do to help this community.” He aims to become more involved in the neighborhood and to find more ways to work with his neighbors so they can all be more successful.
As for The Angry Beaver itself, Tim is excited about what lies ahead. He recently hired a new chef. “He’s our first proper chef in eight years. My food game has gone up substantially,” says Pipes. He promises an upscale atmosphere that is family-oriented and offers plenty of “bang for your buck” options. Offerings like the “best poutine in Seattle”, a burger that “rivals some of the best in the city”, and plenty of other Canadian favorites and traditional bar fare complete the menu.
At nearly nine years, Tim Pipes knows The Angry Beaver is the best hockey bar in the city. He thinks it can be the best hockey bar in the PNW… maybe even more. Still, after all he’s been through, all he really wants is to finally “parlay this into happiness” for himself.