• September 24, 2021
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I wish this post could be about many other things.

In February, I was composing one talking about the distillery, the new location, plans for the future, and how amazing 2020 had kicked off. I was in the process of looking for a new building to buy and starting to set down plans for the future beyond this location and keeping AFK going for a long, long time.

Regrettably, this is not that post. We put it off due to the stress of last week. But, November the 28th will be the last official day of operation of the Tavern. It’s the end of our 10 year lease, and we really couldn’t in good faith push on. We had the choice of rolling the dice now and bankrupt. Or taking our licks and having a chance to reopen in the future.

In a way, this is a triumph; we did ten years; we’re walking at the end of our lease, not going bankrupt. Physical location aside, our goal starting out was to foster a community and be a community center. We did that! We did that in spades. Cry for what we’re losing but look at what we have! One of the most amazing communities ever. Just wall to wall decent people who helped make this dream of mine reality, a place where I didn’t feel alone. Where so many of you didn’t feel alone anymore, and that is AFK, not a location, not a silly menu…that community is what has and will always be the most important aspect of this entire adventure.

To the people who’ve shown up every week to help us limp across this finish line, thank you. The gaming groups who showed up for the pods, the new friends in the bar, the every-week-take-out people, the folks who always order delivery, and the everyday regulars who never really left us. Seriously thank you. I often thank many of you in person, but it’s worth restating here. It’s been rough running the Tavern like this, and your humor, patience, and attitudes made it so I could get up and do this day after day.

But if you didn’t manage to make it in or grab some take-out, or you still don’t feel comfortable with it. We’re not going to hold in against you. We’re not ourselves right now; AFK is a ghost under the restrictions. It blocked us from all the things that made us…us…so we’re pretty much not ourselves and haven’t been since March.

We still have plans for the next year… they’re just different now. We’ll be posting theme menus you can make yourself, we’ll be running events sans location, and much more. You can check out this link if you’d like the list I’ll be going into in a separate post. There is also a Patreon if you’d like to get some drink recipes out of me. We’ll have fun with this afterlife.

Please don’t go freaking out and pointing fingers. We came to this choice here ourselves. Sure, a lot of things outside our control dragged us down here. But no bake sale, t-shirt, or event would have changed any of this. If you’re into hindsight, check out our Twitter because there has been a lot there. But this post isn’t about that, and to be frank, and I am so done being angry at things I have no control over.

In closing, here at my home, crying while typing… I’m still excited about the future. But even I will have a hole in my heart till I can walk in a place that accepts me again. Thanks for reading. Hopefully, I’ll see you all again.

-Kayla


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Kayla

Photographer, Published Bartender, Ex-Bar owner, Sci-Fi nerd, and sorta kinda gamer. She/her

30 thoughts on “Not the post I wanted to make”
  1. Much love, Kayla. Thanks for having Friday Afternoon Tea in your nerd family for awhile there, it was great working with you!

      1. The location will be missed, the friendly gathering place for geeks, nerds and the unique. But the connections remain. Perhaps the future will see a new location. Until then nurture the community. Unfortunately between being a bit far away and work I have not been as consistent a customer as I wish.

  2. This is a true loss for the northwest. I greatly enjoyed my time there, both as an employee and as a customer. Many wonderful memories that will stay strong

  3. I will be sad to see you go. It was so fun to have a local geeky place to go and eat. On the first Valentine’s Day you were open, my husband and I came to eat there. It was so much fun! You also hosted a book launch party for my husband–even came up with themed food and drink menu for him. It was magical. Thank you so much for being there–right when we needed you and AFK the most. So long and thanks for all the fish. 😉

    1. Thank you and ..big virtual Hug. Your amazing. You will be a Phoenix..and will rise again…not from ashes..but from the piles of love and good memories. Until that day. Thanks

  4. Thank you so much from the Feathermeet crowd for all the good memories. I hope we get to make more with you sometime down the road!

  5. I first went to AFK tavern when you posted about its opening on the Feathermoon server forums, Kayla. Watching it grow for a decade has been a joy and it’s always been my favorite stop between my home across the border and my family further south. One of the best memories I have of the tavern was a late night with a friend painting the steampunk mural above the emergency exit, and I kept having fresh bacon and fries brought to us late into the evening to fuel the painting frenzy. For me that will always be the tavern, that community center that I always felt at home in.

    I know you and your spirit, and the spirit of everyone who had touched the Tavern. I have no doubt we will see it return when the time is right.

  6. Kayla,
    There is no place like AFK anywhere. I have laughed harder there than anywhere else. The nerd talk. The penis talk. From my own table of weirdos and drifting from other tables of weirdos. We love your place and it will be deeply missed. Are you framing those bathroom stall walls? That’s art for real. (but also kinda gross to frame bathroom stall walls). I hope your next venture is equally weird and wonderful!
    Amy and family (big corner table with celestial star masks)

  7. Really sorry to hear that. I came in a few times during the shutdown and wish I could have done more. Best wishes for the future and best of luck to where life takes you next.

  8. You have been such a huge part of my life. From first dates, to hanging out with friends, trivia nights and late night burger runs. I’ll miss your space so much.

  9. I may not have been around in years but AFK will always hold a special place in my heart. AFK helped me realize that I didn’t need to hide who I was and that it was cool to be geeky. My husband and I had many dates at AFK and even brought our firstborn daughter once during the day. But as you said, one thing I’ve learned in life is to stop being angry about the things you can’t control. I got the short end of the stick in life and had to leave Everett and the state I call home. But since leaving and coming back and leaving again, I found myself stronger each time. It’s different than how I saw my future but it’s better than I could have ever imagined. I’m sure that you’ll get to turn AFK into something you wouldn’t have ever thought of before. So I’m looking forward to what you will bring up from the ashes and hope that I can bring my girls and my wonderful husband a long.

  10. I have so many great memories of the AFK. I’m glad you made it to ten years. I was there for the opening. I wish I could be there for your final night.

    Love from Italy <3

  11. I’m from Canada… so I’ve only had the fortune of visiting the AFK twice thus far. Fantastic concept, always wished there was something like that around here. Should the day come again and the AFK once more raises the flag, I shall be sure to find a way to drop by again! Take care all! 🙂

  12. Oh man. This was a great place, and I am hurting for you. Uggh. I will miss you and hope we can return in some other form.

  13. My husband and I came there. We played yahtzee and had a wonderful dinner and great time. I need the recipe for the battle toast. Truly a wonderful place. We felt welcomed.

  14. Oh, this is not the news I needed tonight.

    I’ll miss you. From memories of late night New Year’s to the frenzy of NaNo.

    Fuck. Now I’m sobbing.

    You made a good place happen.

  15. I’ve only been to your marvelous establishment once (I live 2000 miles away) but I love it so much. It is the geek dream. I felt instantly at home, and squee’d around at everything. I hope you are back, better than ever, after COVID is vanquished. There is a Very Large Burger I want to purchase.

    Please make a mailing list, so that when the time comes and you need some crowdfunding to get the new place started, we can all come together to make it happen. <3

  16. Kayla I loved being able to host D&D at your location when I lived in Everett. The times spent there where truly magical. This is truly the v universe rolling a nat1 on a great place that started out with a nat20. If you ever reopen please post everywhere and I will bring a group to play amazing D&D.

  17. think not of the things that you have done
    nor of the things that could have been
    but of things done that will help you become what someday you will be

  18. I am so sorry to hear that. I was a regular at the AFK for the past 6 years, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Hopefully the AFK will return soon.

  19. I’m so sorry we ended up here. Ed and I have worried about AFK since March. We kept coming in and ordering out and adding extra stuff to try to do it part to keep things going. I wish it had been enough.

    I can’t express how much the Tavern has meant to us over the years. We have gone there to celebrate (I’ll never forget the night I graduated from nursing school), to commiserate, to try out new costumes, to eat when neither of us had the energy to cook, and mostly to nosh, drink, play games, and just be.

    We’ve been to other restaurants where they know our names and smile when we walk in. But we’ve never been to a place that felt so much like home. It’s always hard for us geeks to feel comfortable in public and there’s never been a space where we felt more secure and more accepted than at AFK.

    We’ll miss the tots and the amazing burgers and pizza. We’ll miss the endless cocktails. (I always hoped to one day try every one) Mostly we’ll miss the camaraderie; the shared language, the bathroom scrawls, the smiles at nerdy t-shirts, and the endless thrill of overhearing geeky conversations a table or two away.

    We have high hopes for the future and eagerly await the AFK reincarnation. Till that day, we’ll treasure our memories of our favorite place and all the joy it brought.

    We shall never see its like again.

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