Coming home to "The O"


Rich Rowley is the new proprietor of The O in Skamokawa. The O will be open on a limited basis for music events, and eventually more. Check out their Facebook page for details. Photos by Diana Zimmerman.

"The O," a historic saloon in Skamokawa, formerly known as the Oasis and more recently the Roadkill Saloon, is now open on a limited basis, thanks to new proprietor Rich Rowley.

With a liquor license, cider, beer, and wine on tap, Rowley plans to open the venue once a month for a live music event. His first affair this month was a success, and more live music is planned for July 29.

"My passion is music," Rowley said. "We're just going to do one event a month like that."

Rowley bought the old saloon a year and half ago and has been remodeling the living space upstairs and expanding the kitchen, using the skills he's mastered in his primary work of construction, remodeling, and roofing.

The old bar space feels very much like an extension of his home and he kept a lot of the charm that was already there.

"I appreciate April Murdock, the former owner," Rowley said. "She sold it to me furnished, and I got to add my flavor."

An avid photographer, he added some of his pictures of the local area to the decor, and moved the metal beer signs out to the beer garden.

"I softened it, made it more like a living room," he said, "I'm just going to let it be a living room more for the community than for me personally, I really enjoy sharing the space."

Much of the homey decor at The O was provided by previous owner April Murdock, but Rowley has added some of his own touches, which included moving saddles to seats, and placing some of his own photos on the wall. The outside space is ready for some live music, and the next big event is scheduled for July 29.

A corner has been converted into an area for acoustic indoor performances, and outside there is a deck and beer garden, a great location for live music.

Rowley has packaged snacks, but plans to have a food truck providing tacos or smash burgers at all the big events.

Smaller pop up events like Paint and Sip, or a pool tournament, are also in the works, and the space is available for family reunions, or other special events.

"I'm just in love with the area and the people, and I want to find a little way to give back to the community," Rowley said. "It's a great knit community, people actually do things together and say hi to each other. I want to keep fostering that. It's special."

"I feel pretty fortunate to have found this corner of the state," Rowley said. "I've been looking for my little spot in western Washington for a long time. It's really unique. All my friends who come here say wow, this place is different. I'm happy to be a part of it."

To keep up with activities at The O, check their Facebook page.


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