Popular watering hole plays the name game
The popular tavern in Spokane’s Gonzaga neighborhood is still there, but the name keeps changing.
For most of its 65 years, it was the Bulldog Tavern. In 2005, the partnership that owned the bar, Trefry Enterprises, changed the name to The Bulldog. Last summer, after a property dispute, lead partner David Trefry shut down the pub, saying he planned to reopen elsewhere and would take the trademarked Bulldog name with him.
Trefry said he’s still considering a new location.
Meanwhile, Mary Livingston, the owner of the building where the Bulldog had been, has gone through a series of business names.
Her first choice was to call it The Dog, in homage to the original business. But Trefry Enterprises contacted her and told her that name infringed on their trademark.
Livingston next named the pub Zagz, a salute to Gonzaga University’s students and faculty, who have been among the tavern’s most faithful patrons.
That name didn’t last long. Gonzaga contacted Livingston and told her they didn’t want people to associate the tavern with a Catholic university.
So Livingston changed the name to the 1305 Club, since its address is 1305 N. Hamilton.
“I got to be pretty good at (changing the name),” Livingston said with a laugh.
Now, in an effort to find a permanent handle, Livingston has launched a “name-this-tavern” campaign, inviting fans and patrons to submit suggestions for what to call it.
Livingston will select a half-dozen suggested names, then run one more public poll to find what she hopes is the final name.
The naming hassle has dwarfed one other business matter that Livingston has had to address – the John Stockton wall mural problem.
Last fall the person who sold the building to Livingston commissioned local artist Tom Quinn to paint a wall mural on the south side of the tavern.
Quinn created a tableau of notable GU alumni, including Gov. Chris Gregoire, former Speaker of the House Tom Foley, and hall of fame basketball star Stockton.
Stockton contacted Willard Quinn III – the one who sold the building, and no relation to the painter – to say he didn’t like the painting. Stockton, who’s developing a retail complex not far away, told Quinn he wanted his image removed.
Public figure or not, Stockton is not someone Livingston wanted to cross. “I’m not a fighter, so we’ll take it off,” she said.
For Livingston, running the bar has been a return to her roots; she was the Bulldog Tavern manager until Trefry took it over in 1996.
“This is really a community bar,” she said. “It really does belong to the people who support us. That’s why I’m letting them help decide the name. I wouldn’t be here without them.”