Well this is just rotten: KOMO recently reported that stupendous Tacoma bar 1022 South was burglarized around 4am on Friday. This morning owner-bartender Chris Keil told me that the thieves threw a brick through the window in the front door and absconded with between 40 and 50 bottles of liquor.
“We lost a lot of basic inventory,” says Keil. “We still take a lot of pride in our basic inventory, but we lost a lot of curated bottles as well.” The stolen bottles included some Pappy Van Winkle, and various unusual whiskeys.
Keil posted on Facebook that the thieves “wiped out our whiskey and rum selection, as well as put a pretty significant dent in the gins.”
The apothecary-inspired Hilltop bar, which earns both awe and affection from industry folk and civilians alike, carried on over the weekend, but needs a little time to replenish its inventory. It’s a process made even more sticky by the March 1 changes in liquor distribution. “I actually don’t know where or how to replace some of these bottles,” says Keil. “I’ll figure it out in the coming weeks, but it’s going to take a while.”
Fans of 1022 South have been descending upon the bar to order drinks as a show of support. Since the bar usually operates at capacity on weekends, a weekday cocktail session would be a particularly supportive gesture. While the shelves of liquor bottles have been depleted, Keil says he and the staff can still make most items. The bar owner is no stranger to adversity when it comes to sourcing uncommon spirits in this state. “Being limited in product will just challenge us to be better bartenders,” he says.
While this saga has been daunting for Keil, he is quick to thank patrons for their support. “What has me a little choked up is everybody reaching out to us,” he says. “It’s a large part of why we do this, is to create this sense of community.”
If you have plans to drink in Tacoma any time soon (or feel like making them), get thee on I-5 and ask the staff to ply you with staggeringly tasty concoctions that make heavy use of infusions, bitters, and other flavor notes, many created by Keil himself. There’s also one fan’s suggestion that Keil thwart future burglaries by leaving the front door “slightly cracked with a giant glass jar of agitated wasps perched precariously on top of it.” That would work too.