Jack and Jin Ng welcome people to the grand opening of the Muse Whiskey & Coffee Bar in the 100-year-old Weyerhaeuser building on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jack and Jin Ng welcome people to the grand opening of the Muse Whiskey & Coffee Bar in the 100-year-old Weyerhaeuser building on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Cheers! Weyerhaeuser Building finds new life as coffee, whiskey bar

The century-old building on Everett’s waterfront is now home to The Muse Whiskey Bar Coffee Shop.

EVERETT — When the Weyerhaeuser Building at the Port of Everett debuted, it was a showpiece for big timber.

Now the Prohibition-era building has found new life as an elegant watering hole.

About 50 people gathered Wednesday at the port to christen The Muse Whiskey Bar & Coffee Shop and to congratulate Jack Ng and Jin Ma, the whiskey bar’s owners.

The Muse opened this week, but the husband and wife team didn’t take a breather.

Ng, the owner of three restaurants in Snohomish and Island counties, plans to open his fourth, Fisherman Jack’s, at the Everett waterfront next month.

“I’d open it now,” Ng said. “I just need to hire 80 people.”

The couple took on the gargantuan task of restoring the Weyerhaeuser Building to its 1920s grandeur, said Ng, who signed a 10-year lease with the port, which owns the building.

The port contributed $1 million in the project. Ng invested “several million,” he said.

The upgrades included a new electrical system, sprinkler system and the addition of a lift to carry visitors to the second floor, Ng said.

“This building has been an icon for as long as I’ve been here,” said port CEO Lisa Lefeber, who joined the port’s staff in 2005. Every time Lefeber passed by the ornate Gothic building, she thought: “We’ve got to get this building back into public use,” she said.

With whiskey, wine and coffee on the menu, “this is a place all ages can enjoy,” she said.

With its collection of artifacts and historic photographs, the Weyerhaeuser Building will also double as a museum. Space on the second floor is reserved for the Mukilteo Yacht Club and the Milltown Sailing Association. When not in use by those groups, it is available to rent for private events, Ng said.

One shot whiskey, one shot tear gas

Empty for 30 years, the century-old structure offered a few surprises, including a painful booby-trap.

Constructed in 1923 — when cash was king — the first floor houses a 160-ton concrete and steel safe.

Unfortunately, a worker discovered the walk-in vault was still armed and standing guard. When a project manager pulled a hidden lever inside the steel cage, “he took a shot of tear gas in the face and ended up at the clinic,” said Troy Johnson, project development director at Graham Construction.

The former safe has been re-purposed and is now a temperature-controlled wine cooler.

Still, caution is the watchword for Muse bar manager T.J. Rogers. When he steps inside the former safe, there’s no reaching for any unknown steel levers or arms, he said.

Mayor Cassie Franklin, who thanked the Ngs for their “fantastic” investment, said she had rented one of the cooler’s small, individual lockers.

A portrait of Weyerhaeuser founder Fredrick Weyerhaeuser inside of the the Muse Whiskey & Coffee Bar in the 100-year-old Weyerhaeuser building on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A portrait of Weyerhaeuser founder Fredrick Weyerhaeuser inside of the the Muse Whiskey & Coffee Bar in the 100-year-old Weyerhaeuser building on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

State Rep. Julio Cortes, a Democrat in the 38th Legislative District, also snagged a locker — No. 38, he said in a Facebook post.

Jin Ma oversaw the transformation of the interior while abiding by guidelines set by the National Historic Registry.

Ma chose blues, greens and grays to decorate the bar and coffee shop and an outdoor patio, building on the historic palette.

She paired photographs of Everett, the gritty mill town with solemn portraits of Weyerhaeuser executives and founder Frederick Weyerhaeuser.

“There was no detail that was overlooked,” Port Commissioner Glen Bachman said.

Candy Wells-Sehorn, a Marysville resident, took a front seat at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting. Years ago, her great-grandfather, Robert William Hunt, was a Weyerhaeuser manager with an office in the building.

She was awed and grateful to see the building returned to its glory.

“I think it’s fabulous, ” Wells-Sehorn said.

Inside of the the Muse Whiskey Bar side of the 100-year-old Weyerhaeuser building on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Inside of the the Muse Whiskey Bar side of the 100-year-old Weyerhaeuser building on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Despite its imposing exterior and heft — the building weighs 350 tons — it’s a well-traveled structure.

It’s been moved three times since it was built, in 1938, 1983 and 2016, occupying four different locations at the port. Weyerhaeuser occupied the 6,000-square-foot office space until the mill closed in 1979. The company donated the building to the port in 1983.

In 1986, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And in 2022, Port of Everett commissioners authorized a 10-year lease with the Lokey Group, which Ng heads, to redevelop the historic building.

The lease is $6,000 per year for the first five years. After that, it rises to $12,000 per year with 3% increases in the final four years.

Initial rent is low because the surrounding area hasn’t been fully developed by the port yet. There are six options to extend the lease another five years at market value for each extension, but rent won’t be lower than it was in the 10th year and can’t increase more than 15% in any one year.

People explore inside the wine locker vault at the Muse Whiskey & Coffee Bar on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

People explore inside the wine locker vault at the Muse Whiskey & Coffee Bar on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The port also gets 6% of sales after $500,000 in annual gross sales.

Ng projects $1.25 million in sales the first year and over $2 million by the 10th year.

Under the agreement, the port paid $1 million to get the building ready. The work including replacing all the windows, renovating the interior and upgrading utilities and restrooms.

The Muse is the third food and drink establishment to open this summer at the port. Sound2Summit Brewery and Woods Coffee at the Everett Marina Village opened in June. Fisherman Jack’s and South Fork Bakery Co. at Waterfront Place are expected to open next month.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Pride flag vandalism raises concerns on Whidbey Island

Reports of theft involving LGBTQ+ pride-themed displays have increased around South Whidbey.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As deadly overdoses decline, Snohomish County builds on what’s working

Opioid-related deaths have decreased 20% compared to this time last year. Local health officials say there’s “still much work to do.”

Police blocked off southbound I-5 near Marine View Drive in Everett after an “incident” blocked the roadway on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
None injured in shooting that closed I-5 south in Everett

The shooting shut down traffic on the freeway Wednesday near Marine View Drive, causing a major backup.

Edmonds City Council members answer questions during an Edmonds City Council Town Hall on Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds begins process to join South County Fire

To avoid a lapse in services, the city will likely come to voters in April asking for their final approval.

A man led police on a high speed chase through north Snohomish County on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
New public database answers Snohomish County’s pressing crime questions

Prosecutor Jason Cummings hopes the database can give a better understanding of the local criminal justice system.

PUD employee Kyle Tucker opens part of the breaker system at the Jennings Park Substation in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
With eye on growing county, PUD replaces aging Marysville substation

The $8.4 million project north of Jennings Park is expected to be finished in October. It’s one part of a 10-year PUD plan.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.