Capitol Hill gay bar R Place turns 30

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

_DSC0826R Place celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and, despite repeated concerns about the end of the Capitol Hill “gayborhood,”  business is better than ever.

“Seattle is just more gay popular and gay friendly. What used to be just a gay bar is not just a gay bar anymore,” said manager Floyd Lovelady.

Though the number of gay bars and clubs on the Hill has diminished, more people feel welcome at R Place, a “gay bar that is straight friendly,” Lovelady said.

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Over the years, R Place has gone through two sets of owners. The current owners Rick Flowers and Steve Timmons purchased it 20 years ago after Flowers had been with R Place for four years.

E Pine’s R Place was first on Pike where it was a sports bar tavern with pool tables, only selling beer and wine.

R Place moved to its current location and began to serve sell hard alcohol 18 years ago, transitioning to a nightclub.

The four-level building it inhabits is part of the Hill’s auto row past. It used to be a Ford Model T showroom complete with a car elevator. The elevator doesn’t work but the parts are still there. The three levels are used for the club while the fourth floor is an apartment where employees have lived.

R Place prides itself on long relationships with its staff. One manager has worked there 19 years while the other has for almost 15. The bartenders currently working there have all been for over 10.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary, the club has welcomed musical performers all month and is holding a potluck for its loyal patrons that keep coming back year after year.

Some of the favorite events R Place has held over the years have been “Queer Factor” where people participating that night would compete in consuming disgusting things. Other favorites include drag show nights and amateur strip pole nights where everyone is welcome to flaunt their skills. Its drag queen scene remains strong with many performers making the club their primary hangout.

“R Place has become an institution. Hopefully it sticks around for 30 more years,” said Lovelady.

R Place is located at 619 E Pine. You can learn more at rplaceseattle.com.

2 thoughts on “Capitol Hill gay bar R Place turns 30

  1. I have been going to “R Place” for the last 4 years!! It is one of the best clubs I have been to! I go for the shows and I am no spring chicken, so it takes me a minute to get to the third floor. The Staff of “R place” is OUTSTANDING!! They are kind, caring and professional. As soon as I walked through the door the first time they made me feel like family!! The shows are to die for as well as the drinks!! And now their food is great!! I have had the utmost pleasure of falling in love with the whole entire place. The music after the shows has even gotten me on the dance floor. And security keep a firm hand for NOO shenanigans, so it lets everyone have a great time!! I have also had the utmost pleasure of meeting the owners and enjoying time with them. They are a true pleasure and joy to be around, as well as, Floyd Lovelady their manager who I love dearly!!
    I would recommend R Place for everything!! The Shows, the Drinks and Food and for just Plain Fun!! Take your Bridal Part your Bachelorette and Bachelor, Anniversary and Birthdays there !! Heck celebrate your divorce their, you’ll get over it real quick!!
    Thank you to all the Staff, Wonderful Entertainers and Security!! Love you! <3

  2. Can they please celebrate by refinishing the giant rusted vent extending the entire height of the building’s Pine Street side? I’m all for patina but seriously derust it and put on some primer and paint that damn thing. With all the drag queens inside, you’d think they’d have some spare paint. Serious eyesore. Yeah, I said it.

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