Looking much too nice for what could end up being only a few years’ stay, the latest addition to the Pike/Pine nightlife entertainment district quietly opened Thursday night.
The Rhino Room is a bar located in a former bicycle shop at 11th and Pine from a group of familiar faces in the Seattle food and drink scene. Its name is a goof inspired by a random rummage find by one of the owners. CHS talked with them in the early stages of the “Big Fun” project last summer:
Gabre-Kidran, a food and drink entrepreneur who helped create The Book Bindery, Anchovies and Olives, How to Cook a Wolf and Tavolata, comes to Big Fun after stepping away from the day to day for two years in the restaurant design and contractor business.
Emma Schwartzman and Chris Rice have probably poured you a drink on Capitol Hill at some point in the last five years or so. They also recently generated some buzz with their Summer Dog Lake Union-based floating hot dog cart. Industrial designers Jacob and Lucas Mihoulides — Lucas goes by IL now, apparently — round out the band of five. CHS found them all at work in the former Velo space earlier this month tearing down crap and getting ready for a buildout.
“We’ve all done this before. It’s just dumb it’s taken this long to do it together,” Patric Gabre-Kidran told us then. He’s been typically busy since helping complete the buildout of Nacho Borracho which opened on Broadway last month and planning another Pike/Pine food and drink venture.
The Rhino Room will boast lots of canned beer and single-serving bubbly. It also turned out fancier than expected, reports Seattle Met:
The plan was an unfussy hangout space, but this group has a lot of design and build knowhow, and Gabre-Kidan allows that the end result, with its brown leather booths, mirrored support posts, glossy black trim, and a U-shaped resin-topped bar “turned out a little fancier than we were hoping for.”
The Rhino Room, despite its thick skin, is also, like Pike/Pine itself, a fragile, momentary burst of joy, happiness, booze and smoothly curving bartops. Developers plan a “visionary” office and preservation project for the stretch off 11th that will consume the current home of Value Village, The Rhino Room and the Stranger offices above.
But, for now, we party. With inspections finally wrapped, The Rhino Room welcomed its first customers late Thursday night. We’re checking in to makes sure things are a go for the rest of the weekend and to find out more about hours of operation. In the meanwhile, take a chance. We’re guessing you can find a few nearby alternatives should you arrive and find The Rhino closed.
Images: Doug McLaughlin for CHS