The Old Sage Closes on Capitol Hill

Brian McCracken and Dana Tough's 12th Ave house of meat and malts served its last round on Friday night.

By Allecia Vermillion June 20, 2016

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Arthur Denny keeping watch over the Old Sage as it prepared to open in 2013.

The Old Sage, Brian McCracken and Dana Tough’s 12th Avenue den of meats and brown spirits, served its final round this past Friday night. “We have had a[n] amazing run and truly appreciate all the support you have given us over the years,” read the Facebook post inviting folks to stop in for half off the remaining Scotch and other wares.

I haven’t heard back from anyone regarding the details, but the closure comes just two months after the sudden shuttering of the gents’ original bar, Spur in Belltown. At the time Tough said a series of “compounding events” made it impossible to stay afloat financially. On June 2 the owners of the building that houses the partners' nearby space, the Coterie Room, filed a suit in King County Superior Court seeking unpaid rent. There are a few other legal factors at play here, too. Thus far no public documents have surfaced to confirm industry rumblings that Tavern Law has been sold to a new owner.

The takeaway: It's complicated. So let’s take a moment to focus on everything McCracken and Tough have contributed to our scene these last eight years, from Spur helping usher in a seminal era of craft cocktails to the Old Sage epitomizing the great smoked meat and whiskey rush of 2013 (with some really lovely vegetable dishes in the mix, too). Also: The closure of the Old Sage leaves a vacancy in a prime Capitol Hill address on busy 12th Avenue.




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