The Sunset Tavern was originally opened in the space that now contains The Ballard Smokeshop by Ballardites Betty and Jim Jones in 1972. Four years later they moved two doors down to the current location which had previously been the home of Ballard’s first Chinese food restaurant, The Chung Sun, owned and operated by Tommy Chin from it’s inception sometime in the forties until 1972. Many an old timer in Ballard will tell you that The Chung Sun was a hopping place to be, especially early in the morning after a night of drinking at one of the many bars in Ballard. After Tommy Chin passed away the The Chung Sun was closed and the building was sold to John Scott who had hopes of opening his own bar in the location after he remodeled. At some point during a long remodel process John decided not to open his own bar but to rent the space to Betty and Jim Jones so they could move the Sunset Tavern into it. Betty ran the Sunset after John passed away until April 2000 when she sold it to the current ownership group led by Max Genereaux and consisting of Heidi Park, Peter Ramberg, Dan Cowan, Matt Genereaux, Jim Cox and Joe Howe.
Over 10 years later the Sunset is still thriving and has greatly excceeded anyone’s expectations as a music venue in the once quiet streets of Ballard. The Sunset stage has been graced by the likes of many amazing acts such as Mudhoney, John Doe, Seattle grunge pioneers Green River, The Fleet Foxes, Camper Van Beethoven, Of Montreal, The Cave Singers, Green River, Bobby Bare Jr., The Presidents of the USA, Visqueen, The Young Fresh Fellows, Monotonix, The Intelligence, Thee Oh Sees and so many more. Over the years The Sunset has proudly provided a stage for everyone, from the legendary bands mentioned above, to the smallest up-start local and touring acts. Not many rock clubs can stake claim to surviving this long, and doing it so well. The Sunset has been a mainstay for live music nearly every night since June of 2000, offering shows of rock n’ roll, alt-country, punk rock, metal, hip-hop, electronica, singer-songwriters, comedy and Kung Fu movies, all while having the cleanest bathrooms in rock n’ roll.
In October of 2010 the Sunset teamed with Flying Squirrel Pizza and it’s creator Bill Coury to begin offering the best pizza in Ballard.
Q: How do I buy tickets for a show?
A: We sell advance tickets for some shows through Brown Paper Tickets. When that’s the case, you’ll see a link to buy advance tickets next to the listing on our website. This is the only way to purchase advance tickets for a show. We typically do not sell hard tickets in advance through the bar or any place else. We usually have tickets available at the door, but we recommend buying advance tickets for guaranteed entry to shows with tickets for sale. If our website says the show is sold out, then the show is sold out and no tickets will be available at the door.
Q: Is this an all-ages venue?
A: All shows are 21+ only, however kids are allowed to come in for dinner from 5 to 8pm .
Q: I left my credit-card there last night, when can I come and pick it up?
A: Any time during our normal business hours of 6pm to 2am. If you leave your card here, we will run it and add a 20% gratuity, drunky.
Q: How do I get there from I-5?
A: The best way to get directions is to follow the handy map link on the upper left corner of every page. If that doesn’t work for you: from I-5 North or South, take the 45th street exit (University of Washington) and go west on 45th. Stay on 45th it as it zags under 99 and becomes 46th. Stay the course on this street as it goes northwest downhill and becomes NW Market Street. Stay on Market until you make a Left on 22nd. Go 1 block on 22nd and make a right on to Ballard Ave NW, back towards Market street (Ballard Ave is a one-way). The Sunset is about 3/4 block on your left. There are also a number of Metro buses that will drop you off less than a block away. Check out www.kingcountrymetro.gov for bus routes.
Q: Do you have a cash machine?
A: Yes, with a small fee.
Q: Do you allow smoking?
A: No. As of December 8th 2005, it is illegal to smoke in bars in the city of Seattle.
Q: What style of music does the Sunset Tavern usually host?
A: All kinds: Rock, Punk, Metal, Country, Hip-Hop, Electronic, Klezmer…you name it, we have probably hosted it here.
Q: Are there Hotels near the club?
A: Hotel Ballard and Ballard Inn Both are located on Ballard Ave just a short walk from The Sunset.
Q: I heard the Sunset has the nicest bathrooms in rock n’ roll, why is this?
A: Well, we do a unconventional thing that doesn’t happen at most rock clubs…we CLEAN the bathrooms.
Q: How often do you clean the bathrooms?
A: Every Night
Q: When did the Sunset start serving liquor?
A: March 24th 2005 during a Carolyn Mark and Her Stallions show. The Sunset was a tavern only, until that date.
Q: Who was the first person to be served liquor at The Sunset?
A. John Ramberg, from The Model Rockets and The Tripwires. Maker’s on the rocks.
Q: What’s with the Chinese decorations?
A: The Sunset was a Chinese restaurant in the 1940s-1970s. Then, it was one of Ballard’s most notorious dives until Max Genereaux bought the place and turned it into a live music venue in 2000…much of the original Chinese decor remains, and we like it.
Q: Who painted the Dragon mural in our world famous Dragon Room?
A: Scotty Summers
Q: For years, The Sunset hosted the events for the Ballard Wrestling Federation. What was the name of Max Genereaux’s wrestling character?
A: Ice Aid
Q: What Will Ferrell movie did Sunset owner Max Genereaux make an appearance in?
A: Blades of Glory
Q: Do we have the cleanest bathroom in rock n’ roll?