MUKILTEO — Gone is the tidy row of picnic tables with red umbrellas and the sounds of clinking glasses.
The sidewalk is just a sidewalk again.
The six tables that were a highlight outside Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse since May are history.
Last week, the state said the tables had to be removed because of their placement on park property, which abuts the edge of the building.
Diamond Knot sits at the entrance to Lighthouse Park, across from the old ferry terminal. As with many restaurants, the alehouse has struggled through the pandemic, and sidewalk dining was a needed boost.
The city of Mukilteo approved the permit to temporarily operate on the sidewalk, as did the state, but the state later reversed its decision.
“Diamond Knot is in a tough spot, without any outdoor property to use,” Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said. “I was disappointed that the State Recreation Office was not able to provide a waiver as we near the hopeful end of COVID restrictions.”
The mayor and bar manager say a citizen complained and escalated matters to the state.
Charlie Pancerzewski is that guy.
Pancerzewski, a former Microsoft auditor, is known for his strong opinions in city matters, taking elected officials to task and writing letters to the editor.
“The sidewalk is for people to enter and exit through the park, not for Diamond Knot to serve beer,” he said.
He said permits should have never been issued. The state agreed.
“RCO informed the City that their original approval of Diamond Knot’s request was in error, due to a misunderstanding on their part,” city administrator Steve Powers wrote in an email to Pancerzewski.
Pancerzewski puts it this way: “The city was in error for not providing all the facts.”
He said his motive goes beyond whistleblowing.
“It sets a precedent for selling alcohol in Lighthouse Park,” he said.
He and his wife moved into the neighborhood over 50 years ago.
“I drove through the park and said, ‘What the heck is this?’” he said. “There were families there drinking beer and there were young kids, like five, six, seven years old, running around the tables when they were bringing beer in and out. Maybe that’s what they do inside.”
He went to Diamond Knot once, years ago. The alehouse has been at the waterfront since 1994 and underwent a major remodel with menu expansion in 2013.
As with Ivar’s across the street, people line up at the sidewalk window to buy ice cream, sold in bowls and waffle cones at the alehouse. That’s still allowed.
The side where the picnic tables were is by the family dining room. The bar that’s 21-and-over is on the other side.
Diamond Knot operations manager Korey MacKenzie praised the city for its support in getting permits.
“The city bent over backwards. The community was excited to be able to sit outside. This was a lifeline for us,” MacKenzie said. “We are a small business trying to get back on their feet.”
The sidewalk tables were an instant hit and a way to offset revenue lost due to COVID-19 guidelines, he said.
“We bought brand new tables, umbrellas, tablecloths. We had a stoop built. We hired new employees,” MacKenzie said.
He asked the governor’s office to appeal the decision.
“They said it would be a waste of their time,” MacKenzie said.
The tables were removed Sunday.
MacKenzie sent an email to media outlets on Tuesday, beginning “Dear Knotheads” …
“This has been a pretty tough pill for us to swallow but as with most things in the past year and a half, we resign to the fact that our hands are tied and the best we can do is continue to push through these challenges,” he wrote.