Meet the Man Dedicated to Maintaining the Legendary Hattie’s Hat

Meet the Man Dedicated to Maintaining the Legendary Hattie’s Hat


I got a job doing dishes, which is that room right
there about 10 feet from us. I would go from doing brunch dishes to do happy hour bartending. Once I bartended, I really liked it, you know, I really liked just asking people what
they wanted to drink. I’m Max Genereaux. I’m the owner of Hattie’s Hat. In 1904, it opened as The Old Home Saloon. It was a drinkin’ neighborhood. This was the nicest saloon
in the neighborhood. It was bought by a Swedish couple. In 1950, they turned it from a saloon into this same footprint
that we’re in right now. It was THE place to eat, fancy. By the late ’60s, things
had changed a little bit. They sold it to the guys who turned it into Hattie’s Hat. Hattie’s was, of course, just
the space was legend, right? It was a neighborhood
bar that everyone knows in this neighborhood and in Seattle. I knew that neighborhood. I knew what it was like then, right? I’d been coming to this neighborhood since the ’80s to drink, and then I was working in a bar, and that made it really easy to drink. That’s when it all started, you know, I was an
alcoholic from the get-go. So I had about a nine-year
run when it was like things were a little out of control. I mean, I kept it together. I bought two bars. I
kept two bars operating. I knew I needed to get sober, and I gave myself a month
to finish up loose ends. And so I pretty much went on, like, an extended sabbatical
for about four years. In 2009, the guys who owned this place were the guys who I came
to work for originally. One of them called me and said, “You know what, we’re gonna sell Hattie’s, and we got a deal kind of in the works.” And I said, “Don’t sell it. Sell it to me.” He’s like, “Really?” And I’m like, “Yeah.” You know, I had never run a restaurant. I just ran the rock club and
the little neighborhood place, and so I had to start to
understand a kitchen better. My first goal is to make happy employees because if the staff is happy, then we’re gonna have happy customers. Now that the city has changed as much as it has in the last decade, it’s like it’s even more special to me because there’s all these new bars, and there’s very few of the old ones left, and so my job is to
maintain old Seattle bars and I want them to survive. And so that’s kind of like my, I don’t know, that’s my purpose in life. (calm music)

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