In what may have been the very best hair-brained idea that James Hardesty and Nate Carlson ever had, what percolated in their brains on a fateful afternoon in the Spring of ’05 turned out to be the seed that turned into The Green Frog. The idea was to recreate the weekly gatherings at Carlson’s house that were simply known as Wednesday Night BBQ’s. Lots of friends hanging out, drinking beer, eating food, and playing music together. Those are the things that brought them all together and they just felt like there was something they could do in the public realm that might be enjoyed by even more folks.
For over 5 years the duo ran the Green Frog Cafe Acoustic Tavern in a tiny room on Bellingham’s famed State Street. What was once their idea took on a life of it’s own, created instead by the community of musicians and appreciative listeners that made up the crowd. It became known as a beacon of quality shows and as the best beer selection around. In essence, it was exactly what Hardesty and Carlson had hoped for.
But then they hit a ceiling. There was no more they could do with the space and so it was determined to find a new location. Hardesty looked at a lot of places, but nothing felt just right. That is until he was shown a room just a block away! Instantly he knew that the correct room had been found and after a couple of months, it was secured for the new location.
But James and Nate couldn’t do it on their own. They needed backing and one lone ranger, Tom, walked out of the fog and gave them the financial support they needed to make it happen. With Tom’s contribution and the physical support of many friends, The Green Frog began to take shape.
The thing that sets The Green Frog apart from most places is the solid foundation of community that surrounds it. The patrons donated a lot to the effort. The owners and their friends built it with their own hands. People care about it. It is a place that James, Nate, and Tom are very proud of.
So now, in the Spring of 2012, The Green Frog is back with a larger stage, a dance floor, a larger selection of craft beer, a growing selection of a whiskey heavy spirits list, a huge outdoor seating area, and a kitchen that focuses entirely on Grilled Cheese! The proprietors and staff are all very excited about it and would love nothing more than to share it with you!
“So what’s with the name?”
We have heard the question so many times now that it is likely our least favorite, but it deserves an answer. So here goes. Upon deciding that a tavern would in fact be opened, James and Nate needed to come up with the name for all of the reams of paperwork that would eventually go into the creation of said tavern. There was no hesitation by either, and after a couple of wry smiles and perhaps a wink, they both said, “The Green Frog Cafe, of course!”
For those that haven’t swam in the waters of Texas folk music of the 1970′s, the name Green Frog Cafe may not mean a whole lot. But to James and Nate the opportunity to name a tavern after a line in one of the greatest songs ever written, Desperadoes Waiting For A Train, would not be passed up. It was also a tip of the hat to one of their favorite songwriters, Guy Clark, who thankfully didn’t have anything else going on the day that Desperadoes came into his brain.
Everything was in place; they had a name to put on the paperwork. But that wouldn’t be the end of it. No, the State of Washington and the Liquor Control Board in particular, in all of their infinite inability to have faith in the very people that put them in office, decided that the word “cafe” could not be used unless of course it was, in fact, a cafe. Even with all of the required signage for a tavern it was deemed that the public would be too “confused” by this simple misuse of words.
James attempted to trick them with everything from Texas-bashing (They figured it out in Texas, so of course we can figure it out!) to a patriotic ploy (what do we care what the French definition is? We’re Americans!), but nothing would appease the appetite of the ferocious beast that is bureaucracy!
With his tail tucked between his legs, Hardesty conceded and put the word “tavern” in the name in order to effectively kill any threat of befuddled masses. But little did they know that that tucked tail was just hiding his real intentions! In the act of a true asshole, Hardesty created a name that was sure to confuse everyone equally. Is it a cafe? Is it a tavern?
Adding the word “tavern” into the name acted like the spike of a heroin needle and lulled the State into a satisfied stupor. Oblivious to the confusion that was sure to follow, they quickly signed off on the applications. Bless ‘em.
So now to some it is the Green Frog, to some The Acoustic, but whatever people may call it, the Green Frog Cafe Acoustic Tavern is the place to be. Don’t be confused about that!