Public House aims for spring 2022 opening
The community of Mazama has periodically buzzed with rumors that a new pub or restaurant was in the works.
Rumors confirmed. Mazama resident Bill Pope, until recently co-owner of the Mazama Country Inn, last week revealed plans for the Mazama Public House, which will offer drinks, food and a neighborly ambiance along with ample decks and great views.
The Public House will be built next to the North Cascades Mountain Guides building now under construction at the intersection of Goat Creek and Lost River roads. If all goes according to schedule, construction will begin next spring and the pub will open in spring 2022.
Pope, the lead investor and developer for the project, has been contemplating the pub idea for several years, but financing was always a challenge. To back the venture, Pope has assembled a consortium of about 30 investors, many of them valley residents, under the business name Grumpy Goats LLC.
Old Schoolhouse Brewery (OSB) will manage and operate the facility under a contract with the ownership group.
In his previous efforts to get the project going, Pope said, “the amount of investment required, and other issues, made it too difficult.” He decided to recruit a larger group of investors including “a lot of people interested in having a watering hole in Mazama.” Once word got out, he said, interest in the project “snowballed” among potential investors.
“The other thing that helped is that we were able to convince OSB that they would like to lease and operate it,” Pope said. “We’re not in the pub business, we are in the real estate business.”
Jacob Young, one OSB’s co-owners, said he didn’t need much convincing about operating the new place, but timing has always been an issue in the past. OSB last year completed its new brewing facility on the TwispWorks campus, and recently opened a new taphouse adjacent to the brewery. OSB continues to operate its original pub in Winthrop.
Pope, a former Microsoft attorney who has lived full-time in the valley for the past eight years, said the Public House “is first and foremost designed for locals. Of course, we’ll happily accept visitors.”
“Personally, I enjoy a good place to watch sports, hear music and gather as a community,” Pope said. The location, he said, is “perfect” for serving the community and the tourism trade.
Pope has for several years owned three adjacent lots abutting the Mazama Trailhead parking lot, one of which is the site of the North Cascade Heli-Ski building. He said the remaining two lots will be combined into one, which will be the pub’s site, so there can be more separation between the two buildings.
The pub’s inside space will be about 1,700 square feet including the bar, kitchen, bathrooms and storage. There will be covered outdoor decks on three sides of the building. On one side, the plan is to have garage-style glass doors that could be rolled up in good weather.
With the new Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies store now operating and the North Cascades Heli-Ski building nearly done, the pub would add another element to the “core” of Mazama. Pope doesn’t think that will be too much. “The pub is going to help other businesses and the Mazama community as well,” he said. In fact, the new owners of the Mazama Country Inn, which has a restaurant, are also investors in the pub project, Pope said.
OSB, Cast on the team
OSB has been directly involved in designing the pub’s kitchen facilities. The Public House won’t be a full-menu restaurant but will serve good food prepared on-site, Young said.
Young said he and Pope first discussed the idea of a collaboration in 2017. “I loved the idea but had to turn it down,” he said, because of OSB’S other projects at the time. A year later, Young said, OSB and Pope began “talking in earnest.” Investors “wanted the security of knowing it would be properly managed,” he said.
Young said the Public House will be a compatible extension to OSB’s existing operations. “For us, it makes a lot of sense,” he said. One advantage, he said, is “we don’t have to put up capital” because the building will essentially be turn-key ready for OSB to take over.
The pub is being designed by Stefan Hampden of Cast Architecture, the firm that also designed, the North Cascades Mountain Guides building, under lead architect Tim Hammer. Hampden said he is intent on making the two buildings compatible. Cast Architecture is also an investor in the Mazama Public House.
Hampden said the design goal was for a “basic but beautiful space.” He described it as a “community building” that includes “a great room with extended outdoor living,” thanks to the windows on three sides. The shed-style roof is oriented to take maximum advantage of the views, Hampden said.
“We’re always looking at the streetscape, the relationships between the buildings, and the relationship to the road,” Hampden said.
Pope said the business plan for the new operation assumes that by spring 2022, COVID restrictions will have been eased. Plans include a take-out service option.
Pope said he has “no precise expectations as to monetary gain” from the project.
“The primary focus is making it happen now,” he said.