Despite the well documented troubles of Langley’s last watering hole, a new pub has opened on Second Street and neighbors are looking forward to a new and positive relationship.
And so far, so good.
Spyhop Public House opened its doors on Monday, Aug. 1 at the location that was formerly occupied by Mo’s Pub and Eatery. Langley’s new addition opened quietly and without pomp, but co-owners Dan and Susan Morgan say happenings have been quite hectic at the pub.
“Business has been great since we opened,” Dan Morgan said. “We’ve been so busy we haven’t had time to think about advertising yet.”
The Morgans are aiming to give Langley something they say has been missing in the city since Mo’s closed: a pub atmosphere. Upon walking into Spyhop, the space is split into two sections: an all-ages restaurant area and the bar, which has a couple of tables and an outdoor patio. TVs and a full bar signify Spyhop’s status as a pub, but Morgan says he and his wife are going for a family-friendly atmosphere where adults can have a drink while not having to worry about their kids witnessing people having a little too much fun at the bar.
The space has been given a significant facelift. Everything has been repainted, the floors have been replaced and the bar top and bar back have been redone. The know-how of opening and maintaining a bar is something that comes from experience for Dan Morgan, who has owned and operated the popular Teddy’s Off Roosevelt in Seattle for 31 years. That experience is important to next door neighbor and “chief critic” of Mo’s, Kay Lagerquist.
“These are people that are really nice, they’re really caring and they know how to run a business,” Lagerquist said. “They’re very seasoned owners. They came in fully recognizing the brouhaha with this location.”
The problems between Mo’s and the surrounding neighbors were extensive. The pub was built in the residential neighborhood which fueled complaints from nearby residents and questions about zoning. The neighboring houses are only 20 feet from the pub, with only a wooden fence separating Lagerquist’s house from Spyhop. Late-night noise from patrons and live music was a constant issue at Mo’s, as were cigarette butts and belligerent behavior, Lagerquist said. It set the Spyhop owners and the neighborhood up for a wary reception, but the Morgans say they’ve tried to be accommodating to its desires and communicative with those close to the business.
It seems to be working. Morgan says the neighbors have been supportive, and interactions have been positive. He pointed out an example last week when Lagerquist came by because a commercial grade fan from the kitchen was making noise late in the night, and he obliged.
Lagerquist and the neighborhood organization she is a member of, the Langley Association of Neighbors Downtown, worked with Spyhop during the months prior to opening to hash out some dos and don’ts. She says the association outlined its issues and brought them up with the Morgans, who she says accommodated them by agreeing to close the pub earlier than Mo’s and to keep the property tidy. The cigarette butts that used to “be everywhere” have been cleaned up, noise hasn’t been an issue yet, and business decisions have been made with their involvement.
“The minute Dan and Susan came in, they really cleaned everything up and that’s a huge boon to the neighbors,” Lagerquist said. “Noise has always been a big issue, and they have been really sensitive to that and we all really appreciate it.”
The new pub seems to have avoided issues with city officials as well. Langley Mayor Tim Callison says the community’s response has been positive, and said he heard the Morgans have reached out to the neighborhood and been careful throughout the process. The city hasn’t received any complaints regarding the property, although only two weeks have passed since opening. Spyhop could be an important player in the city’s initiative to bring a younger demographic to the city, he said, and also offers South Enders a place to gather and mingle.
“Quite frankly, during the summer peak time we could use another restaurant lounge for the busy streets,” Callison said.
Morgan thinks business is good so far because the pub offers something Langley has been missing. He points out that Prima Bistro and Village Pizzeria have nice bars, and Double Bluff Brewing some quality beer, but Spyhop brings the casual, friendly pub atmosphere to town. He says he thinks people have been wanting a place where they can order good food in a casual atmosphere that facilitates mingling. He classifies the pub as a “third place,” where people spend time to socialize away from home. A “first place” is home, and a “second place” is a workplace.
“Part of being a third place is being a place for locals to hang out,” Morgan said. “You can bring your kids as well — our 8 and 12 year-olds are there all the time, and I haven’t thought once about people being inappropriate in front of them.”
Although rules were discussed with neighbors not to allow live music or late hours, Morgan says he wants to stay open to the idea of potentially hosting music if it doesn’t end too late, and staying open until midnight on the weekends. But that’s something he says he would like to bring up with the neighbors, since building a good relationship is a priority moving forward.
“I’m confident of a healthy relationship with the Morgans,” Lagerquist said. “It’s just who they are as owners.”