The new Kraken training center in the city’s Northgate district will serve three ice rinks starting this fall. They will host morning to late night hockey games, the inaugural Kraken training camp, training for the NHL team and all levels of youth, figure skating programs, public skating, skating clinics and lessons, learn to play sessions, curling, broomball and more.
It all brings a smile to skateboarders and Kraken fans can’t wait to be. Truth be told, all this activity will probably make us hungry and maybe a little thirsty as well.
Mick McHugh is here to fuel the passion and the palate. When the Bar & Grill opens at the training center in the fall, the legendary restaurateur will exploit the must-see destination to believe in it in partnership with the 32 of the NHL.nd franchise.
“I consider myself to be a staunch Seattle sports fan first and foremost from the early days of the Sonics, to the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders,” says McHugh, who has opened 16 restaurants / bars in Seattle, most famous FX McRory’s in Pioneer Square in 1977., a short walk from the Kingdome. “It’s just that now I can help welcome the Kraken to the city.”
The Bar & Grill will be nothing less than a daily welcome party for every fan, skater, parent, ball-on-ice player, visitor to the city, you name it, walking through its doors. McHugh is known for its establishments offering first-rate service (he calls it “friendliness”), delicious food, a wide selection of draft beers and spirits and, most importantly, an atmosphere of belonging.
“Win or lose, we want everyone to feel on board,” says McHugh, now in his sixth decade of showing up at his home regularly, welcoming guests and staff. “It will be a happy place. Seattle fans know that we are lucky to have our sports teams. Whether it’s watching practices or just being in the Kraken house, it will be a place. ideal for everyone to come together and share their love for the city and its teams. “
Statistics on the new Bar & Grill:
- Capacity of more than 300 customers in the catering and bar areas; private dining room for 40
- Overlooks two of the three rinks, located between the Kraken’s “Rink 1” practice rink and the “Rink 2”
- 17 TVs, also views of the 15ft by 25ft LED video card in “Rink 1”
- Kitchen run by an executive chef serving a fan favorite menu to customers and preparing meals and snacks at the Kraken Player Training Center under the direction of Gary Roberts, the team’s sports science and performance consultant
- The menu will feature quality, locally sourced food and drink with influences from FX McRory
The Grill Bar intends to respectfully join the city’s established ‘hockey bars’ and sports bars / restaurants with those of a planned network of Kraken hockey bars throughout the Washington team area, Alaska and Oregon. The bar and grill will be hockey-oriented, but fans can still cheer on Seattle’s other beloved teams when the games are on the schedule.
Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke, who previously headed the Seahawks and Sounders organizations, is “thrilled with what Mick is about to do for Kraken fans and the hockey and skating community.”
“We create a unique bar experience and he’s the perfect person to run it,” says Leiweke. “Mick is famous in this town.”
A unique feature is that Kraken fans can not only gather for home and road games, but also be available to watch NHL practices and / or get a glimpse of how the team is doing. trains and prepares for NHL competition.
“Rather than waiting for the next home game, Kraken fans can come to the Bar & Grill and interact with their team every day of the week,” said McHugh. “We are pioneers in a different neighborhood [from his previous 16 places] and we’ll mold whatever the fans want including the sauce on the fries [one or more versions of poutine]. “
Registration for the hockey, skating and rookie programs will begin this spring, but fans will have to wait to see the fun signing moments that were common with McHugh as an operator. Seattle insiders may remember a singing bartender or 28 taps of draft beer then unheard of at McRory’s or McHugh flying in the first bottles of certain French champagnes to be served in its restaurants.
Many Seattle sports fans are familiar with or have seen the painting of the McRory’s bar scene painted by famous artist LeRoy Neiman (who was regularly commissioned by NBC and other networks to paint scenes from the Olympics or the Super Bowl) . McHugh met Neiman at McRory’s one night for a late dinner after the artist’s gallery opened in 1980.
Neiman admired the hundreds of bottles of spirits on display to the general public at the counter, remarking that he had not seen such splendor in his travels around the world. In fact, the display count has indeed been named in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The two men discussed Neiman’s willingness to paint the scene. It got complicated – mainly because Neiman was in so much demand – but after many phone messages, Neiman accepted a then high $ 100,000 commission.
The project was stalled until McHugh and his partner Tim Firnstahl grabbed the artist’s attention by buying $ 25,000 in gold from a Delaware federal analysis office and then personally delivering the broths to the Neiman’s apartment in New York. The painting (which includes an actual bottle label that was soaked and sent to Neiman for artistic details) has become the bar’s calling card for Seattleites and the world.
It was then and still makes McHugh laugh via a recent Zoom call. But the “now” inspired McHugh on what to expect fans and players (from the NHL to the little ones and boys) at the Bar & Grill.
“The sky is the limit,” says McHugh. “We will welcome everyone involved in hockey, figure skating, curling. We will be hosting special events for the ball-on-ice crowd. The glass walls of the rink will make us different, where you can see your favorite skaters, maybe a child or a spouse We will take care of you.
“The timing of the Bar & Grill is so perfect. In a city that has brought so many successful industries to the world, with such a rich history of bringing people together through sport, we can start over in the hockey industry.”