Killer Seagulls, Seafood, and Shrunken Heads

Neek sez about Ivar’s Fish Bar:

What would you think of a man who got in trouble with the law because he put a windsock of a salmon on top of the Smith Tower? How about a man who regularly pushed his pet seal in a baby carriage?


Ivar Haglund was a man who didn’t always follow the rules and kept reinventing himself.  He was a singer, aquarium owner, children’s television actor, radio personality, philanthropist, prankster, adamant champion of regional folk music, owner of the Smith Tower, and a restaurateur. Sadly, Ivar passed away in 1985 but his legacy remains with his restaurants.

Ivar’s Fish Bar was introduced to the Seattle population in 1938.  This was after Ivar had created the city’s first fish aquarium on Pier 54.  He would charge admission and serenade the visitors with his songs about life in an aquarium.  He also noticed that seeing all that seafood swimming around made his visitors hungry so he decided to open up his own eating establishment which was the fish bar. In 1946, he would open his sit down restaurant, Ivar’s Acres of Clam

With a wry sense of humor, Ivar was a beloved Seattle showman who was instrumental in preserving the charm and simplicity of the pier rather than making it into a business center.  His motto was to “Keep Clam”.

Also, don’t forget to feed the seagulls (if you dare!) they’re very welcome here.

Lex sez about Ivar’s Fish Bar:

We left the Space Needle and drove to Pier 54 because we were craving seafood for lunch.  We had read a lot about the history of Ivar’s Acres of Clams and were eager to satisfy our curiosity!  This place has been a part of Seattle going on 77 years thanks to Ivar Haglund, the irrepressible entrepreneur whom they refer to as the “flounder” of the restaurant responsible for the original recipes they still use today.  They have a great reputation for their seafood, but fortunately we didn’t have to wait in line to long to find out.


Neek ordered salmon & chips, I ordered cod & chips and we shared a bowl of smoked salmon chowder.  (Actually, we ended up sharing everything!)  We opted for the more casual outdoor patio dining to enjoy the sunshine and view of Elliott Bay.  With just one bite, I became a huge fan of the way they bread their fish!  So crunchy and tasty; the fish soft and flaky.  And what flavor!  I think my favorite out of everything was the smoked salmon chowder.  Very savory taste filled with chunks of smoky fish!  We ate until our bellies were full, but we still had plenty of fries leftover.  So we decided to toss them to the seagulls.  Oh boy!  Their aggression over a few strips of potatoes is astounding!

Neek sez about Ye Olde Curiosity Shop:

Did you ever want to meet a statue named Black Bart that was once arrested by the Seattle police for unlawful gambling?  How about encountering an assortment of shrunken heads for sale and a macabre western mummy with his whiskers still intact?

Well I’d take you to Pier 54 where the Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe.  Joseph Edward Standley set up the shop in 1899 on the Seattle waterfront.  This amazingly odd museum/store looks like it belongs in Ripley’s Believe it or not.


There are even antique fun house doll named Jolly Jack.  Just put a coin into the slot and he’ll laugh and dance for you (actually more of a jiggle).

Everything in the store is for sale and most of it reflects the kitschyness of jokey touristy souvenirs.

They even sell fake Official Zombie killer ID cards and authentic water shooting ray guns for kids.  But to be fair, they do sell legitimate items such as beautifully carved totem poles and a variety of jewelry items, antiques and real fossils.

Going into this shop is like Alice going down the rabbit hole, curiouser and curiouser!

Lex sez about Ye Olde Curiosity Shop:

Literally right around the corner from Ivar’s on Pier 54 is another Seattle institution that amazingly has been around even longer.  Ye Olde Curiosity Shop has been open since 1899!  Inside we found such unique oddities as shrunken heads, mummies and a two-headed calf.  My personal favorite had to be Jolly Jack.  This was a doll dressed like a sailor that if you feed him some quarters, he’ll start laughing his head off.  Listening to Jolly Jack laugh has a very funny-creepy vibe; reminded me of Heath Ledger’s Joker laugh.  So many weird, wacky novelty items to drop your jaw at!


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