Regulars Michael Fay and Java greet one another Friday afternoon at Brews Almighty in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Regulars Michael Fay and Java greet one another Friday afternoon at Brews Almighty in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

On Christmas Eve, Everett locals find community at watering holes

For some, the Christmas spirit can be found at a bar, with friends and a greyhound-mix named Betsy.

EVERETT — Deek Slovek missed Christmas last year.

The Everett man said he lives alone and doesn’t watch TV, so the day came and went without his realizing it.

“I went, ‘you know for Christmas I’m gonna do this …’ then I realized Christmas was yesterday,” he said. “I was hiding from COVID and everything, you know?”

This year, Slovek, 67, didn’t let the holiday pass without getting together with friends in downtown Everett. He was among dozens of locals who celebrated Christmas Eve out on the town.

Slovek and four friends spent Friday afternoon at their favorite watering hole, Brews Almighty. The friends laughed at each other’s wisecracks over beers and talked about countries they dream of visiting.

Across the table from Slovek, his friend Roland made steady progress on a crossword puzzle from Friday’s edition of The Daily Herald. And below Slovek, his well-behaved dog, Betsy, lay chomping on a bone.

Betsy, 11, is a greyhound mix. That’s about all Slovek knows about her, he said.

“She’s a rescue,” Slovek said. “Most of us here are rescues.”

Tawni Dillion (left) talks with Joe Kutz on Friday afternoon at Brews Almighty in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Tawni Dillion (left) talks with Joe Kutz on Friday afternoon at Brews Almighty in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Slovek said he and his friends love Brews Almighty because of the inviting atmosphere and friendly owner, Joe Kutz.

“Around here, if you find somebody to love you, that’s great,” Slovek said. “Once you find a chill spot and you like the people, you have a tendency to go back.”

A couple blocks away, old friends celebrated Christmas Eve with games of nine-ball at their favorite Everett haunt, the Soundview Tavern.

“One Way Out” by the Allman Brothers Band blared from the jukebox as a bartender handed Sean Jon a shot of bourbon. The Everett man walked back to the pool tables, holding a cue in one hand and the shot in the other.

Jon, 60, said the Soundview feels like home to him and other born-and-raised Everett locals.

“It’s a family of working guys who have known each other all of our lives,” he said as he gestured around the bar. One of the friends there that day was Kevin Larson.

Jay Nordquist (left), Todd Pullman (center) and Deek Slovek share a table Friday afternoon at Brews Almighty in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Jay Nordquist (left), Todd Pullman (center) and Deek Slovek share a table Friday afternoon at Brews Almighty in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Larson said he is a third-generation born-and-raised Everett resident. He said he started playing pool as a boy at 12 years old.

When asked what the secret to pool is, Larson said it’s all about cue ball control.

“Where’s whitey gonna end up? All the good players, they know where that cue ball is going to end up when they’re done,” Larson said.

Across the bar, Jamie Berg, 60, sat sipping a cocktail and chatting with a friend and her favorite bartender, Susan. Berg said the community at the Soundview reminds her of her former home in West Seattle.

“It’s like ‘Roadhouse’ in here,” Berg said. “You’ve got homeless people and millionaires, and they all interact and get along. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re going to be part of the crowd.”

Berg said there have been years in the past when she wasn’t a fan of Christmas, but this year felt different.

“There seems to be a bit more magic in the atmosphere,” she said.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

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