Published on April 30th, 2013 | by Katy Evans


Chris Keil Says Goodbye to 1022 South

The beauty of not being a journalist is that sometimes I get to be radically partial. I love Chris Keil and am honored to share his goodbye with you here:

“I don’t really know where to start. I guess the best place is to convey my deep sense of gratitude to my friends and family. I really appreciate all of your support through the lean first couple years and the busy last couple. I wouldn’t have been able to be creative and do something that I truly love without all of your support through kind words, patience, and frankly, patronage.

I know that a lot of people think that the bar is stuffy, pretentious, or the spearhead of gentrification in a neighborhood that I love, but for me it was at its heart just a neighborhood bar. I tried (with varying degrees of success) to create a place that I would feel comfortable coming into after a day working in the yard or taking a date out on a Friday night. It has been a privilege to build something and share it with all of you. I can’t express how much it has meant to me that so many people have shared so much of their lives with us – from the parents who had a sitter and grabbed a quick snack and a cocktail to the young man who proposed to his girlfriend out front. It has been fantastic that the bar was the local spot for everyone from the barbers next door to professors at UWT and Puget Sound.

I’m not going to get into details about what happened Monday morning other than to say that they terminated my position, after which I told them that it would be a good idea to dissolve our business relationship. The majority of my equity in the bar was in a handshake agreement which they told me they had no intention of honoring. When I asked them to buy out the equity that is in writing, they offered a small amount in return for me signing a non-disclosure agreement. I declined the offer, they threatened with having my reputation in the community destroyed, and at that point I promptly left.

I don’t know what is going to happen to the bar, but it can’t and won’t be the same because the owners don’t share my values. I would be shocked if they continued to work with local farmers and vendors or if they sourced ingredients based on quality and not profit margin. Who knows, maybe it will end up fantastic, but it definitely won’t be the same.

My new project Hilltop Kitchen is still in the works with a friend and different business partner. It should be open in about a month or so. We are very excited to see all of you and to get the chance to serve you food and drinks again. You can follow our progress or get in touch through all of the usual social media.

Thank you so much to Katy for being awesome. Thank you so much to Corey, Cynthia, Jena, and everyone else who works or has worked at the bar. It has truly been an honor to work with all of you. You are my surrogate family and are the kindest, funniest, most generous and creative group of people I could have ever asked for. Thank you.”


Chris Keil, formerly one of the owners of 1022 South, the once-favorite Tacoma haven for cocktails and community. Please support him in his next venture, Hilltop Kitchen.





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About the Author

Founder and Co-Managing Editor at Post Defiance, Katy writes and fundraises for Tacoma. Follow her @katynicoud.

6 Responses to Chris Keil Says Goodbye to 1022 South

  1. Jennifer says:

    We love you Chris and we will continue to support you wherever you go! I am sorry to hear of this but as they say, painful endings are usually lenders to beautiful beginnings. ~Jen and Jason

  2. Heather Hope says:

    Oh, my. So many things that pass through my mind when I read this. For everyone (myself included) that pulled the short straw in a business or personal relationship – read what Chris has written.

    1022 South opened after I left Tacoma – but I was fortunate enough to visit on a few occasions. Moving back… and my first stop will most likely be Hilltop Kitchen!

    Hang in there, Chris – we’re behind you.

  3. Chris was 1022 as far as I’m concerned. Although I never can get used to people calling him “Keil.” The letter i is in the wrong place and everything.

  4. Another legend rises at Hilltop Kitchen.

  5. Carlos & Christine says:

    My wife and I made it a point to frequent 1022 as often as we were able to get a sitter, and when we couldn’t , I know my wife snuck out a few times when I was watching our girls. We will definitely miss the atmosphere that you brought to this establishment. We look forward toward visiting Hilltop Kitchen !

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