The guys from Hooverville are about to bring new life to a shuttered Capitol Hill watering hole.
The first question people are asking about The Hillside Bar as it replaces gay Capitol Hill institution The Elite — queer or straight?
“Just a bar,” longtime Hooverville barkeep and new Hillside partner Sean McAteer tells CHS.
McAteer is teaming up with Hooverville founders Todd Gean and Billy Kincaid on the new E Olive Way project. It’s his first time in an ownership role but not his first rodeo. He’s been tending bar for a decade.
CHS reported on the end of The Elite earlier this summer when the bar suddenly closed amid a swirl of tax issues.
Our attempts to reach The Elite’s long-time owner Robert Bault were not successful. After acquiring the old-time Broadway gay bar, Bault moved The Elite to E Olive Way in 2008. It may not be gone forever. But The Elite won’t be coming back at 1520 E Olive Way.
This week found McAteer hard at work on the Hillside’s buildout and overhaul of the former Elite space. The dividing wall is being ripped out to achieve a more open space that will have a ’50s kitsch look and a small tiki room put together with some of the material from the Elite’s old fixtures and bar. Unlike its days as the Elite when sports played an important role in the bar’s culture, Hillside will only have one television. The goal is 18 pull handles for beer behind the larger bar. The old pool table, however, is staying exactly where it is and there will be room for pinball. The food plan involves enough to keep you thirsty but you might expect some similar relationships to the Montana-Dinette sandwich mash-up amongst the E Olive Way neighbors.
Though the signs have gone up on awnings out front — generating a barrage of tips and inquiries to CHS — The Hillside Bar likely won’t be ready for business until December, McAteer said.
He said he’s learned a lot being a part of bars over the years — especially one lesson key to any business success.
“Save your money,” McAteer said before heading back to work constructing his new bar.