The Loakal Public House aims to be a little bit of everything: family-friendly eatery, pub, live entertainment hotspot.
But there’s one thing owners Kory Dyer and Mark Szypula insist that it is not — a nightclub.
It’s an important distinction to Dyer and Szypula because of the location’s past life as a bar frequented by an often-rowdy, noisy crowd of late-night patrons.
The pair intends to make The Loakal a community gathering place of a more respectable nature. Make no mistake, it will be lively, but in a way that won’t disturb the neighbors.
“In colonial times the town’s public house AKA tavern or pub was the center of social activity where all townspeople could gather with friends, family and colleagues to discuss business, weather, farming concerns, or any other social topic of the day,” wrote Szypula in an email. “We want to be that gathering place for people to come and socialize and enjoy themselves in a family friendly atmosphere welcoming to all.”
The grand opening is set for today, Saturday, Sept. 17.
“I volunteer for the Main Street Program and see this project as a real opportunity to celebrate locally-generated business development,” wrote Margaret Burton in an email.
True to its name, nearly all aspects of the pub tie into the greater Whidbey community, from its decor to its food and beverage selection.
Dyer said the intent is to keep it as local as possible, with a tap selection, wine list and food menu filled predominantly locally-sourced selections. The tap includes a choice of 21 beers, with multiple other bottled options to choose from. Most are from breweries in Oak Harbor, Anacortes, Bellingham and Seattle; the wine selection includes selections from Spoiled Dog Winery in Langley. Both wine and beer can be poured into a growler for patrons to take home and enjoy later.
All of the dishes will be made in-house as well, with no fresh-from-the-freezer burger patties.
Its interior designed with an inviting, rustic aesthetic composed mainly with re-purposed and sustainable materials and interspersed with vintage historical items.
Dyer himself is “as local as they come,” with a generations-long family history on the island.
Szypula is a recently-retired Navy transplant who just completed a brewing program at Skagit Valley College.
“Even though I’m an East Coast kid from Maryland originally, the Navy brought me to the rock in the summer of 2004 and I’ve considered myself a transplanted local since I first got here,” Szypula wrote.
Szypula eventually aspires to establish a brewing operation within the pub, serving home-brewed beers.
In the meantime, aside from spirits and grill-style fare, the pub will be serving up a slew of live entertainment events, including comedy shows, improv nights, live music and a dinner theater in conjunction with Whidbey Playhouse. The location even includes a built-in stage.
In addition, they’ll have karaoke, billiards, shuffle board, darts and several HD TVs perfect for watching the Seahawks this season and other sporting events throughout the year.
Besides inviting the community in to share a bite and some good conversation, Szypula and Dyer intend to partner with other community businesses and organizations to help eradicate hunger for families in need.
“These two guys are working so hard and have terrific vision, goals, and business objectives for their new venture in the heart of Oak Harbor,” wrote Burton. “They have a lot of friends and well-wishers who want to see them succeed as a part of our historic downtown, waterfront community.”