Planned ‘Chieftain’ pub near Seattle U ruffles some Redhawk feathers

It will be a couple months before Seattle University students and faculty will be able to grab a pint at the Chieftain, but the planned Irish pub has already stirred a few people up. Playing off the name of the former Seattle U mascot, owner Peter Johnson is hoping to embed the bar in Seattle U culture.

Drawing from his experience with his other two pubs, Finn MacCool’s in the U District and McGilvra’s in Madison Park, Johnson said the Chieftain will likely be more of a combination of the two. The pub — which will be located across the street from the University — will try to pick up the lunch crowd, but it will also have a happy hour geared toward college students. A good college happy hour is “lacking in that area,” he said.

Several Irish pubs take the name Chieftain in reference to Irish clan leaders. However, the Chieftain of Seattle U’s past referred to Chief Seattle. The University switched the mascot to the Redhawks in 2000. According to the Spectator, SU’s student newspaper, some faculty members are not happy with the pub’s name:

“Reinvention aside, the chieftain that people will always associate with Seattle U is Chief Seattle,” said Ted Fortier, an associate professor of anthropology, who supported the change of the university’s mascot from the Chieftains to the Redhawks.

David Madsen, an associate professor of history, felt that the university’s former mascot was an honor to Chief Seattle, but that the portrayal of the chieftain as a mascot was inappropriate. Like Fortier, he finds it difficult to think of any other type of chieftain so close to Seattle U’s campus.

“As long as [the pub] is where it is, it’s going to be associated with the former mascot,” said Madsen.

Johnson said people at the school are excited about the bar, and he hopes it will change what the word “chieftain” means for the school. He understands some people are just not going to like the name, though.

“You’re never going to please everyone,” he said.

Johnson is still in the process of getting permits, and some work on the interior has started. However, he said he is “taking it slow” and does not expect the pub to open for a couple more months.

0 thoughts on “Planned ‘Chieftain’ pub near Seattle U ruffles some Redhawk feathers

  1. Some higher-ups at SU suggested the name to Johnson. Also, SU intends to furnish the pub with SU memorabilia like old campus signs, sports photos and, of course, patrons.

    You guys are making in to a bad thing when it isn’t. I just wish I’d thought of it first!

  2. Ted Fortier, David Madsen – you guys are “associate professors” – ie, no one cares what you think, you have no tenure. Redhwaks is better than Cheiftan? Really? Why not spend your time becoming a REAL professor and quit ruffling feathers. What a massive waste of time.

  3. Shouldn’t the University’s objection have more to do with the alcohol and planned student happy hour?

  4. SU isn’t a dry campus and the pub isn’t associated with the University directly, so on both counts it’s completely fine. My only qualm is that the Chieftan won’t be open in time for graduating students to enjoy.