Get A Taste Of Ballard’s History And Fish & Chips At The Lockspot Café

Jul 3, 2017

The Lockspot Café is your classic fisherman’s bar, a stone’s throw from Salmon Bay and the Ballard Locks. It’s pretty much the first place Alaskan fishermen see when they arrive on dry land. The establishment has been some kind of fish and chips joint for more than 100 years.

Credit Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

History of the Lockspot

Pam Hanson owns the Lockspot and began working here as a bartender twenty years ago. She says the Lockspot has been known for its rough and tumble past, especially when she arrived and was greeted with “gambling over pool, crusty fisherman, and drugs.”

Hanson didn’t tolerate those things and quickly turned the place around.

The Lockspot is located inside two old houses that are attached. They were original homesteads in Ballard.

There are rumors that this place used to be a brothel, which Hanson says makes sense.

“There’s an apartment above the kitchen area, and men were coming off the locks and fishing boats with pockets full of money. And as good business people will do, they’ll find a way to take money from people," Hanson said. "There were stories there was a brothel upstairs, and why not?”

The restaurant has also had a more recent brush with fame.

Producers of the fishing show Deadliest Catch reached out to Hanson and asked if they could pay her to close the restaurant for a few days while they filmed an episode there. She had never heard of the show and figured she could use the time to paint the bathrooms.

Show narrator Mike Rowe came in and asked the captains questions at the restaurant on an episode titled “After The Catch.” Hanson says after the show aired, they got phone calls from all over the world.

People asked how far the restaurant was from the airport. Other callers asked if they could talk with the captains.

"As if they were hanging out at all hours of the day!" Hanson said.