Rapha Seattle opens on Capitol Hill this week

In October of 2013, neighbors enjoyed one final night at Bauhaus inside its original Melrose and Pine location. The only activity at the corner since has involved hard hats and construction crews building the eight-story, preservation incentive-boosted Excelsior Apartments above the old block formerly home to the cafe and a collection of independent shops and a small handful of apartments.

That will change this week as global cycling brand Rapha is ready to debut its latest “clubhouse” retail and cafe concept on the corner:

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of Rapha Seattle on Wednesday, March 22nd at 8AM. Rapha Seattle will offer the latest Rapha products, host events and exhibitions, serve the finest coffee as well as screen live road racing throughout the year. We hope to see you soon.

Our opening hours are:
Monday – Friday: 8am to 7pm
Saturday: 8am to 6pm
Sunday: 8am to 5pm

CHS broke the news on the arrival of Rapha on Capitol Hill back in September. An architect working on the project in the 200+ unit Excelsior mixed-use development with 16,000 square feet of retail space told CHS last year that the shop would be “a bicycle clothing store, and might have a cafe element.”

According to the company, its latest clubhouse “offers the full selection of Rapha products – including rain jackets – and serves the finest food and espresso.” Seattle joins New York, Chicago, and San Francisco as metropolises home to Rapha clubhouses. Another project is on tap in Boulder, Colorado.

If the recipe sounds familiar, Seattle-headquartered Metier opened its version of a clubhouse complete with a cafe, bike gym, and training center in November 2015 on E Union.

Rapha’s description of its latest clubhouse city. We look forward to its cycling-centered description of Capitol Hill! You can learn more at pages.rapha.cc/clubs/seattle

Rapha’s description of its latest clubhouse city. We look forward to its cycling-centered description of Capitol Hill! You can learn more at pages.rapha.cc/clubs/seattle

In addition to the shopping and cafe, Rapha says its Seattle clubhouse will “host events and exhibitions” and “screen live road racing throughout the year” — in addition to serving “the finest coffee.” The first live event is planned for April 2nd as Rapha screens the end of the Tour of Flanders race complete with complimentary Belgian waffles and a two-hour “a Flanders-inspired ride” after the screening.

Rapha, unsurprisingly, is also planning a big bash grand opening for the store. Slated for April 7th, the party will feature “live music provided by Sub Pop Records, a special unveiling of original artwork by renowned artist and cyclist Jesse LeDoux, along with plenty of local food and drink.”

Rapha’s debut happens to coincide with the shutdown of another Pike/Pine bicycling retail concept. E Pine’s PUBLIC Bikes, the first shop the company opened outside the Bay Area, has spent March holding a going out of business sale after just under two years on Capitol Hill.

At Rapha Seattle, history repeats. Kind of. The first tenant documented at the auto row-era building at Melrose and Pine now integrated into the eight-story development was the Excelsior Motorcycle and Bicycle Company. It was worthy of branding the new building — but not worthy of landmark protection. News that the block was being acquired and lined up for development first broke in spring of 2012. The project utilizes Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives and stands eight stories above E Pine in exchange for preserving the street’s auto row-era storefronts and basic internal dimensions. At one point, Bauhaus was lined up for a possible return to its longtime corner. But owner Joel Radin eventually decided the new space would be too expensive and focused on the cafe’s expansion and new Capitol Hill location on E Pine. The Bauhaus chain crumbled this year, however, as Radin declared bankruptcy.

Bauhaus wasn’t the only small business displaced by the development. Retailers including Le FrockEdie’sScout ApparelVutiqueWall of Sound and Spine & Crown Books all eventually made way for the construction. Some moved. Some shuttered.

In the new wave of businesses to open on the block now that the Excelsior is complete, Rapha won’t be alone. Its neighbors include Aesop skincare and a Seattle outlet of California’s The Pressed Juicery chain. While some of the new Pike/Pine businesses are part of larger chains, there is some independent entrepreneurialism in the mix. CHS reported on the new shop from Stock and Pantry joining the block with its home decor and lifestyle goods. The store’s owner Sasha Clark announced its opening earlier this month.

Capitol Hill Community Post | Local Home Decor + Lifestyle Store Stock and Pantry Opens Strong

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2 thoughts on “Rapha Seattle opens on Capitol Hill this week

  1. Definitely a place that will want to board up its windows come May Day when the cops predictably push all the protesters back up to Capitol Hill.

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