For sale on Capitol Hill: Charlie’s on Broadway, Pike Street Beer search for buyers

Reporting on businesses that are for sale is fraught with peril — it’s one of the few topics that has inspired somebody to threaten CHS with a lawsuit over our reporting. These are Capitol Hill dreams we are writing about. Often, they are dreams gone bad. But sometimes the sale of a small business is more about reality than dreams. That’s the case with two Hill business — Charlie’s on Broadway and Pike Street Beer and Wine — we have learned are on the market. Yes, they are dreams for sale. But the reasons for moving on are about life.

“If we don’t sell, I’ve always told friends I hope they carry me out of here feet first,” owner Ken Bauer told CHS about his plans for Charlie’s. He and his wife Christine run the Broadway diner they have been part of since Ken and his late business partner Charles Quinn opened the restaurant in 1976.

But first Bauer is hoping to find somebody to take Charlie’s off his hands for $385 grand. The listing went up last week. It’s marked as “coming soon” but Charlie’s is definitely for sale. “I’ve always told my employees ‘Everything is for sale,’” Bauer said.

Seeing the business reduced to its financials is illuminating. Netting $85,000 on $1.8 gross receipts gives you some idea of the tough slog of the restaurant business even for an institution that’s been holding down its location for as long as the Seahawks have been in the NFL. That’s a profit margin of about 5%, by the way.

Bauer won’t concede, though, that his potential buyer shouldn’t be thinking strictly about the business opportunity. “I think a buyer would look at this as an investment and continue what has worked here. I don’t think this is a situation where somebody would want to come in and change things,” Bauer said.

Anthony Yap, owner of Pike Street Beer and WIne, says his potential buyer should be ready to work hard to take the business he has built over the past three years to its next level of success. Oh, and Yap says you should also love beer. Qualified!

“This is a business for somebody who loves beer — and they have to know their beer,” Yap said. “It’s my hobby and I love beer.”

But Yap said he also is ready to focus on his career in real estate and free his family from the burden of holding down the fort at the store. Yap’s daughter Marissa has been working and keeping Pike Street open for the last year, she said. She told CHS she wouldn’t mind putting her University of Washington education to work making the store into an even bigger success but she also lacks the funds to make a go of it. “Yes, I’ll be said if somebody buys it,” she said. “It has so much potential and is already very popular. There’s not a lot of stores like it around here.”

Marissa’s dad tells CHS his current listed price is a 50% reduction from what he had hoped to sell it for earlier this year. But lack of interest and a desire to move on has him dropping the price in hopes of finding a buyer to take on the business. Here’s the bad news, your $25,000 won’t get you a bunch of beer. But it will get you three years of brand and sweat equity on the Hill and the rights to 18 months of a remaining lease plus an option to renew for another four years. Yap said the rent is good at around $1,400 per month. He also said, if he doesn’t find a buyer, he’ll have to consider closing down the store.

 “Everything is set,” Yap told CHS. “I’ve been there for almost three years now and a lot of people are aware of the store. You don’t have to set everything up. I have built that store from zero to about 900 different types of beer. It’s a good start.”

Of course, these two aren’t the only set of dreams and realities for sale on Capitol Hill. See if you recognize a few of these other listings. Most are from Craigslist. We haven’t included links to the site because the listings frequently expire or are pulled and re-posed. You can search for the terms used in the ads to find the listing. Some, like the first, eliminate any need to guess. Some are quite mysterious. In comments, remember we’re talking about people’s dreams here. And, before anybody freaks out, also remember the words of Ken Bauer. Everything is for sale.

  • Maharaja Cuisine of India* NEW PRICE – $95000 (East Pike Corridor)
    Casual family dining in prime location. Type 1 Hood, Class H, Delivery/Take Out;
  • Capitol Hill Turn-Key:

  • Cozy Cocktail Lounge – Terms Available – $150000 (Seattle)
    Well located Capitol Hill Cocktail Lounge. Small and inviting space that can be run with 1 – 2 people. 36 seats with excellent décor package. Good rental term and rate that includes all utilities except electric.
  • Cafe with Beer and Wine on Capitol Hill – $325000 (Capitol Hill)
    Prime location; Cafe with beer and wine license; Established for over 20 years; $1,600,000 gross.
  • East Pine Street Restaurant & Lounge – $400000 (Capitol Hill E. Pine )
    Well established restaurant & lounge in the much sought after Pine corridor; 3,264 sq ft, free standing building, outdoor seating, full bar with Class H, Type I hood, and seating for 140 with out door balcony seating.
  • Coffee Shop For Lease (Capitol Hill / Madison Valley)
    I have a small, cozy coffee shop on the edge of Capitol Hill and Madison Valley neighborhoods that is available. It’s approx 650 square feet and seating for about 15-20. Lots of car traffic…huge exposure. Completely turnkey coffee shop opportunity and the cafe is still open. Can include use of all equipment and furniture. Includes 2 group espresso machine, grinder, blender, refrigerator, etc… The cafe also has a small kitchen with stainless 3 bay sink, microwave, and small convection oven for light baking. Large bathroom and separate room with mop sink. Cafe is health dept compliant. This location is NOT suitable for a restaurant (no hood)… Coffee Shop Only. Option to use established vendor for coffee/pastries which I already have in place. This coffee shop is open ready to go for a new operator! The cafe is currently open and the possibility to start as early as Sept 1 without closing. The current customers will appreciate that! Serious inquiries only.
  • Bar for sale:

  • Finally, why buy a local business when you can buy a building full of local businesses?
    Outstanding Capitol Hill location, minutes to Downtown Seattle. Fully leased property with a mix of office and retail tenants. Located in Seattle`s most vibrant neighborhood, on the corner of Melrose Ave and E Olive Way. The property consists of two buildings totaling 6570sf. Recently renovated – new plumbing and electrical, new roof, skylights and other improvements. Great opportunity for owner/user or investor.

We’ve dug through the “For Sale” listings before. Here’s our write-up from October 2009. Recognize any of the businesses from that wave?

12 thoughts on “For sale on Capitol Hill: Charlie’s on Broadway, Pike Street Beer search for buyers

  1. Me and my friends use to frequent Charlie’s so often back in the mid to late 90s but after while though the place just started going down hill. The favorites like “death” wings and Pepper soup no longer had that familiar taste to them…and I have not been there since like 2002. Such a great locale and a nice hang out, if the food is up to par.

  2. The bar in the back at Charlies is great hang out space. And with a door to the alley, easy come and go.

    Hope it stays the same.

  3. I heard from someone in the know that The Lookout is quietly for sale. Perhaps it’s one of the listings you have in the posting above?

  4. starting to make me wonder what if anything will be left!

    I love Charlie’s We really do need some good hang out places on the hill. Something on Broadway would be nice besides Charlie’s.

  5. It’s too bad pike street beer can’t find a location up the hill closer to the retail corridor – or hell down near the current vortex of awesome that is the melrose project. They have some great beers

  6. Just a correction:
    The price in the image you provided is $25,000 and you reported $250,000 (which I thought seemed really high until I saw the image).

  7. I found a few listed on Capitol Hill one in particular says DO NOT TALK TO EMPLOYEES…Scandalous! Way to rip the rug from under your employees feet! JERKS!