Is Capitol Hill’s Electric Tea Garden brewing a redux?

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Thanks for the tip, Marley

Last November, the Electric Tea Garden held a “last blast” dance party in its second story club space above the American Artificial Limb Co. at 14th and E Pike. But on Wednesday night, just under one year after ETG’s final weekend, a sign of life appeared on the shuttered club’s front door: a notice that ETG was applying for a new liquor license.

ETG’s owner Bruce Mason and others associated with the club have not yet responded to CHS on what is in store for the space.

A neighboring business tells CHS that there are plans to reopen the dance club.

When the club closed last year, Mason told CHS that an impending rent increase and gentrification in the neighborhood had weakened the club’s long term prospects.

Even with all of our social success and mad patron love our profits have never been that good. Its always been a labor of love … Every month of the last 18 years. We can’t look for needed investment when we don’t have a lease in the future. And the apartments across the way? They will never be accepting of what we have been. The owner of that complex has ‘warned’ me before about our ‘raves’ in the past. Lol. Classic gentrification . It is sad. But it was time.

Over the years, ETG had become an important venue for Seattle’s electronic and experimental music scene.

Dance around Capitol Hill seems to be one area for growth in what can sometimes seem like a saturated food and drink economy. While Chop Suey remains on the market last we checked, Q has survived a cultural transition after its first year of business to continue drawing crowds on Broadway. Last week, CHS reported that the owners behind Lost Lake were taking over 11th Ave’s Grim’s and its dance venue The Woods. Meanwhile, the Rhino Room at 11th and Pine is packing enough business in for its dance nights that it is working to expand its capacity.

The apparent revival of Electric Tea Garden is also a small, colorful, funkily syncopated confounding element for those monitoring Capitol Hill for its perpetual knell of death. It’s a sign that even in its cultural death spirals, the neighborhood’s densely construction blocks contain nooks and crannies where small bits of life take root. Only, we’re sure, to eventually be ripped out — along with your heart — again someday soon to make way for six or seven stories and another “ugly” apartment building.

There are alternatives. The Comet, which “closed” around the same time ETG did, made its comeback this March. If Mason and crew have any such plans of a revised, cleaned-up and overhauled ETG, we don’t know anything about it. There are no construction permits on file for the address. If it opens soon, it’s more than likely to be the same ETG it was before.

Not everything remains, however. Royal Cleaners dry cleaner, which occupied the other half of the ground floor beneath ETG, is closed as of this month. The American Artificial Limb Co remains open.

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4 thoughts on “Is Capitol Hill’s Electric Tea Garden brewing a redux?

  1. I dunno how they’re gonna do it without sound complaints though. Quiet time at ETG is… not too much fun.. Real bummer.

  2. Pingback: The Electric Tea Garden wasn’t really dead and it’s still not but it does need a new Hill home | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle