Broadway’s only vegan dive bar live music Cakearoke venue, Highline dropping food from its act — UPDATE

This week is your final chance to catch The Night Train (Image: The Highline)

This week is your final chance to catch The Night Train (Image: The Highline)

Capitol Hill’s leading vegan dive bar and music venue is dropping its one-of-a-kind food menu and shuttering its kitchen. Here’s a note posted Wednesday by The Highline announcing the changes:

While we will continue on as normal with our bar/show space, today marks the beginning of the final week Highline’s kitchen will be serving food. Our aim is to give prime focus to live music and performing arts. Thank you to all our diners over the years! If you’re hungry, you’ve still got until next Tuesday to eat all the sandwiches you can stuff down!

We have questions out to owner Dylan Desmond to find out more about the decision and how it jibes with liquor permits and the bottom line for the business. A person familiar with the Highline’s operation tells CHS it’s a business decision that will allow management to focus on the space as a performance venue.

UPDATE: According to a commercial real estate listing for the address found by a CHS reader, both the Highline and sex shop Castle are slated to leave the building but it’s not clear how much longer either business will remain in the space. UPDATE x2: Owner Desmond tells CHS the Highline currently has a year and a half left on its lease and “another ten afterwards if we choose to keep the location,” he said. Desmond said the real estate listing, below, will be updated to clear up the situation. We also have messages out to Castle management to find out more about the store’s future.

Get in while the rates are still low. Train station is to be complete in 2016. Highline Bar & Castle are both vacating. 10,085 Sq. Ft with balcony along Broadway! Capitol Hill is the densely populated neighborhood in Seattle!

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In 2010 when CHS first reported on plans for The Highline, management said the venture was more about nightlife and entertainment:

this time around we will be focusing heavier on the entertainment/nightlife side of things and let the food speak for itself…

The Highline’s older food-focused Georgetown sister Squid & Ink has since shuttered.

A snapshot of the Highline menu

A snapshot of the Highline menu

The former Club Lagoon's legendary Lamborghini

The former Club Lagoon’s legendary Lamborghini

The Highline opened it second-floor location above the Broadway Castle Megastore in 2010 replacing the short-lived Club Lagoon. Despite the early nonchalance about the menu, its dedicated vegan offerings drew a devoted following and even made a few non-vegans drool.

In the meantime, more and more mainstream venues have integrated vegan elements in their menus while some Capitol Hill restaurants like Plum and In the Bowl remain dedicated to the cause. CHS also has information about a new vegan-friendly venture being planned not far from Highline’s home. None, however, also include punk rock in their mix.

29 thoughts on “Broadway’s only vegan dive bar live music Cakearoke venue, Highline dropping food from its act — UPDATE

    • there are probably relatively few veg only restaurants in seattle because there’s relatively little demand for that style of cooking. vegans and vegetarians are actually a minority; even in seattle.

      • When I first moved to Seattle, I was SHOCKED at the lack of veggie restaurants. I know that vegans/vegetarians are still the minority, but the numbers have risen pretty quickly over the years. It’s pretty sad that there are only a couple of completely vegetarian places on the hill. I’ve known a lot of meat eaters who frequent vegan restaurants, just because the enjoy the food.

        And I second ss- there aren’t enough cheap vegan friendly places on Capitol Hill. As yummy as Plum’s food is, it’s insane to imagine paying that much money for their food on a regular basis.

        • It’s not that there are so few vegans and vegetarians, it’s just that we don’t dine out because there are so few decent vegan/vegetarian options. I rarely go out to eat (Plum is the exception) where I am served something listed as a “vegan option” that isn’t the same exact thing as the regular item only without the meat or cheese. Seldom is something ever offered to replace the meat or cheeses. Most pizza places that do not use egg in their dough will make any pizza “vegan” for you. But you’ll still pay for the meat and cheese they’re leaving off to do so. I ordered a Greek salad at a restaurant on Broadway last night that was 9 dollars. It consisted of some greens, a few kalamata olives, a few cucumbers, and some barely ripe tomatoes. I had olive oil and lemon juice to replace the tzatziki dressing. That salad was priced due to the yoghurt dressing and the feta cheese. I paid for those things but didn’t get them. It was a good salad but, I could have made a vegan feast at home for 9 dollars. It’s not that there are so few of us, it’s just that it isn’t worth our while to eat out.

  1. If they want to play music and have other shows in there, that’s fine with me. I kept trying to eat there but got my ears blasted out but unexpected music at odd times. It was only ever bar food at best, and stubbornly didn’t offer desserts. I’m a little confused because if they are still serving alcohol, I thought they at least had to serve some food. But maybe I’m wrong. In an era where Chipotle has tofu burritos, we’ll all be just fine. Still, there’s now even more incentive for restaurants to have vegan options for the displaced among us. And now a silent prayer for the patrons of In the Bowl to hold the menu and service to higher standards. The finest vegan food option is still cooking at home.

  2. The building is listed as ‘for sale’ and the ad claims that both The Highline AND Castle are vacating the premises.
    Anyone have any information about this?

  3. There definitely aren’t enough condos, yuppie boutique stores, and fine dining along Broadway to support the influx of Amazon/other tech employees (sarcasm intended), so everyone else is getting priced out of the neighborhood. Historic charm, unique character, and a diverse population are floundering. Who knows, maybe Beacon Hill and the CD will continue to get gentrified enough to be a Capitol Hill stand-in at some point. I’ve loved you for ten years, Seattle, but I barely know you any more — I’m leaving you for Some Place Else. Love, friend of Highline and Other Endangered/Extinct Fixtures

  4. Sad to see another source of vegan food go by the wayside. Many of the high-end places do offer some vegan options or even the expensive vegan places like Plum but it seems in the last few years a lot of places have gotten less veg-friendly. More and more places put bacon in everything. I really appreciate appreciate places that offer at least one or two inexpensive vegan options on the menu (thank you Lost Lake Diner, for example!) and places like In the Bowl that cater to veggies. It’s nice to be able to share a meal out with friends. And it’s true, we are a minority, but many of us are very dedicated to our own beliefs.

  5. Some vegetarians/vegans are committed to the cuisine for health and environmental reasons, and I respect that choice. But for many it’s a kind of fad, to be “cool”…..and to be followed for only a few months or years before going back to an omnivore diet……which, let’s face it, is a lot more interesting.

    So, perhaps the fad is abating, and the numbers are down? This would explain what is happening at the Highline…..they would continue to serve vegetarian food if the demand (and the profits) were there.

    • As someone who has been vegan for more than 15 years, I agree that a lot of people attempt it but do not have the fortitude to commit to it long term. But this is an unfair representation of what is happening at Highline. It’s not because the demand is down, it’s because the food was bad, the service was lousy, and the place was filthy, at best. I still continued to eat there on occasion in an attempt to support an all-vegan venture but, outside of Plum, no one has done vegan cooking any justice in this city. Of the vegans I know (many of whom have been dedicated for many, many years), we all prefer to cook at home, eating delicious and nourishing meals. Someone needs to open an all-vegan restaurant that serves comfort food and decent drink. I believe it would thrive.

  6. Thanks High Line for many great meals!

    It can still be a vegan bar if they continue not to stock Bailey’s … I heard a woman ask for it once, but they didn’t serve it because it contains cream.

  7. A wiser move would’ve been dropping the “entertainment” (gag) and focusing on the food. I’ve never, ever heard of Highline hosting a show worth attending.

  8. Sorry to see it leave. As a dedicated vegan for years it was nice to have a place on Broadway to go that catered to us veggies. Won’t go for the music so guess its another place I can say I use to enjoy around here! Sad.

  9. I liked the music but the place was a dive, but I enjoyed the food, the bartenders were decent, and the patio was nice place to sit and watch the street go by. My guess is that they are focusing on the high-profit booze sales before they shut down.

  10. If you are a member of CBA (the listing service used above for the availability on the building) you can see special comments, which are noted here:

    Highline Bar & Castle are both vacating. Highline Bar is on a month to month Castle is vacating on October 15th 2013

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