Flatstick Pub owners hope for hole-in-one with new business

Flatstick Pub owner Sam Largent takes his shot with in downtown Kirkland with a new business model for the Eastside.  - TJ Martinell, Kirkland Reporter
Flatstick Pub owner Sam Largent takes his shot with in downtown Kirkland with a new business model for the Eastside.
— image credit: TJ Martinell, Kirkland Reporter

At the Flatstick Pub in downtown Kirkland, owner Sam Largent hopes to score a hole-in-one with a combination of Washington-only craft beer and an indoor mini-golf course.

The pub, located at 15 Lake Street, recently held its grand opening. The bar is the culmination of Largent’s desire to open a pub that can offer both local beers and unique entertainment, setting it apart from other pubs on the Eastside and even the greater Seattle area.

Largent said he wasn’t comfortable quitting his job as an accountant for 15 years and sinking his life savings into the venture without a creative idea for the place. He was first inspired for the idea of a miniature golf course in a pub by Smash Putt!, a Portland-based golf course that was originally located in a warehouse in the SoDo area. It was only after Von Trapps, a German-style restaurant with bocce ball, opened up in Capital Hill that he decided the unusual concept would work. He started looking for places on the Eastside that would allow him to build the golf course, though he said Kirkland was always his top choice.

“It seemed like there was a big need for a really beer-focused place,” he said. “There are lots of great wine, cocktail restaurants, but not a lot of beer.”

Largent said that adding this mini-golf offers a different environment than other sit-down pubs and gives patrons a social activity to do while enjoying their beer.

“Everyone we talked to thought it was a great idea,” he said.

Largent designed the nine-hole golf course with his brother and co-owner, Andy. They also had help from Sam Largent’s neighbor, a welder, who built the holes for them while they were obtaining the space for the pub.

Although putt-putt is often thought of as a child’s game, Largent said he designed the courses to be extremely challenging, whether the person has had several beers or not. This way patrons would keep coming back to play, and the course would also allow for competitions and tournaments.

The pub features beers from Washington breweries in cities like Marysville, Woodinville, Poulsbo and even small town breweries like Tieton.

For Largent, there was no reason to go outside the state to find quality beers. According to the Beer Institute, Washington has the second highest number of breweries, 251 to California’s 509 breweries, and it also had the second highest number of new breweries open in 2013. The Yakima Valley is one of the biggest producers of hop, a vital component of beer, in the entire world.

Largent signed the lease in December and construction began in mid-March.

The pub also only offers beer, but provides menus of local delivery restaurants, such as Zeeks and Jimmy John's, where patrons can order food, or bring their own into the pub. Lagrent said this helps cut costs on overhead and staff.

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