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AFK Tavern, Everett’s haven for geeks, closes

EVERETT — The commanders of AFK Tavern, on 41st Street, are faced with folding their cards.
The 10-year lease is up, and the coronavirus has not been kind to business.
The restaurant and bar’s last day was Friday, Nov. 20.
AFK — “Away From Keyboard” — played host to wedding proposals, wakes for deceased regulars, and everything in between. It served as a no-shame outlet for the socially awkward and a place for (potentially obsessive) conversations on all types of niche interests.
A place to be yourself is exactly what its owners wanted, they said in an interview with the Tribune in 2011.
People wouldn’t give many side glances to someone singing karaoke in a Star Trek uniform here. Especially since others wore their own flair while hunkering down for rounds of video games.
When it opened Nov. 5, 2010, choosing Guy Fawkes Day by design, three female gamers had turned the interior of a former sushi restaurant into a steampunk-themed setting with a well-stocked games selection. Opening a tavern was the metamorphosis of a plan conceived four years earlier to open a game store.
AFK gained a loyal, regional following. An expansion foray a few years ago in Renton failed, but it didn’t kill the main business.
This year they had to make a choice with the coronavirus: Extend the lease and risk it all, or take a breath to fight another day.
“The goal is to be a community center for gamers,” owner Kayla Graves said in 2011. In a goodbye message online, Graves wrote that while the Tavern is closing, she hopes to continue serving the community it built by holding some events in 2021.

The Sisters Restaurant closes
The Sisters Restaurant closed after 37 years of operation on Grand Avenue. Its owners made the decision when new statewide restrictions on indoor dining came into effect. The landmark restaurant was known for its homemade food and for hosting artists’ work.

• The Strawberry Patch Café, on Colby Avenue, announced it would suspend operations until 2021.


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