If you don’t have your New Year’s plans locked in, you may want to set aside some time for a visit to a Wallingford tradition that is soon to end. Shana Kelly writes:
It’s official, The Moon Temple is closing its doors. January 9, 2014 is the last day Johnny Chen will be slinging drinks for his loyal patrons. The new property owners, Velmeir Companies, will begin demolition to make way for a CVS, the 3rd drugstore in two block radius, on the northeast corner of 45th Street and Meridian. This is following a long battle with the community regarding building plans, calling for the removal of the historic 1929 building.
For some, The Moon Temple is just another dive bar, but for others it is a place where memories and long lasting friendships were formed. A place where Superbowl parties, holiday events, and birthdays were celebrated by patrons and employees alike; where people congregated for Tuesday night coin collectors club and Sunday night trivia. The Moon Temple, for some, was a place that you can always return and know that you will have a friend at one end or side of the bar, where strong drinks and great Chinese food were offered far after other kitchens had closed.
In speaking with the ‘old timer’ crowd, stories of the history of The Moon Temple are as varied and colorful as the loyal patrons sharing them. One thing is for sure, it will be missed. Stories of this historic Chinese restaurant, local ‘dive bar’ date back to 1958. The Moon Temple was reported to be “one of the first Chinese restaurants in North Seattle.” Harry Eng, bartender and friend to many, worked here for nearly 50 years and in 2006 and retired from The Moon Temple at the age of 72. Harry, with his strong accent, stiff drinks, and a true love for his customers, left big shoes to fill. One thing is for sure, The Moon Temple is consistent.
Johnny Chen, began bartending in 2000. With a flair for fun, a heart of gold, and an artist’s creativity, Johnny has gone the extra mile to meet his customers’ needs. Johnny is the creator of the original Trash Can, which has since been adopted by various surrounding establishments, has made it his mission to create a new drink annually, drawing crowds in to try these legendary concoctions.
While The Moon Temple for some is one of the last surviving dive bars in Seattle, to many of us, it is the end of an era filled with fond memories and great friends.
Something tells me, this isn’t the end for Johnny . . . stay tuned for Johnny Moon’s!