Life on Mars will create ultimate Capitol Hill DJ mix: vinyl with cocktails, beer, and a plant-based menu

The Capitol Hill Block Party-worthy bar bringing together two first families of Seattle independent music will be called Life on Mars, a nod to David Bowie, of course. But also to an intergalactic sense of belonging.

“Also just love the notion that we might not be alone out here,” Leigh Sims says of the name of the new venue set to open this spring at Pike and Harvard.

Sims and Steven Severin represent the Neumos side of Seattle rock royalty behind the project. Seattle’s king and queen of independent radio, Amy and John Richards –John in the Morning of KEXP — round out the new royal family. The bar will pull off the ultimate DJ mix: vinyl with cocktails, beer, and a plant-based menu.

“We still love the experience of holding an album, flipping a record, and gathering in a record shop,” the Life on Mars announcement reads. “The bar is a way to mix music and gathering friends that’s not than a live venue or a dj booth — and with drinking.”

John probably designed this part. Life on Mars will have a gigantic record wall with thousands of records.  “It’s also a super excuse to get more vinyl,” the announcement reads.


SUBSCRIBE TO CHS If you appreciate and value CHS coverage, please tell your friends and neighbors TODAY to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment. Why support CHS? More here.


“We want people to come in and grab a record for a spin during happy hours, and other hours, we’ll be playing good music, really good music.”

CHS first reported in July on the project set to restore nightlife to the Pike/Pine corner where bars and clubs had long stood until recent mixed-use redevelopment. The project was moving forward under another name but Sims says the name “evolved over time.”

UPDATE: If the recipe for Life on Mars might feel familiar, it’s true that Capitol Hill already has a vinyl bar. Revolver opened on E Olive Way in 2014.

Described as “a bar for people who love music and good drinks,” Life on Mars is hoped “to create a relaxed bar with good music, deep comfy booths, a gigantic wall of vinyl, local beers, unfussy cocktails and a plant-based menu.”

Life On Mars will focus on “classic cocktails and a few simplicity-done-well drinks like the Original Line Up with bourbon, grapefruit juice and maple, or Death by Juniper: dry gin and juniper berries, fresh citrus and rosemary. Craft beer and wines will have an emphasis on local brands.”

The food menu will be developed by chef Joe Ball, recently of Flying Apron and will feature items including “waffle sliders bursting with chicken-fried artichokes, barbeque pulled-jackfruit, or coconut bacon.”

Amy and John Richards are vegan and everything on the Life On Mars menu will be plant-based including a caribbean-style Jerk burger with “smoky, hot Scotch bonnet pepper blend, with piled with Pickapeppa, southern potato salad and slaw,” along with “grilled local vegetables,” and salads “for when you want greens with that glass of whisky.”

Designed by Mike Skidmore at Skidmore Jannette to evoke the late 70s — “an incomparable era in vinyl and music” — with a blend of “old and new,” Life on Mars will have “cushy deep booths, vinyl records, and turntables, and a wide U-shaped bar, along with “huge windows that connect the bar to the street and can open wide in summer to let the sun in.”

The building from developers Tyler Carr and Kelten Johnson hosts a huge mural and the new bar will join a block now home to the Redhook Brewlab and Salt and Straw’s Capitol Hill outpost. Chef Shota Nakajima will also bring his deep-fried skewer joint Taku to the block later this year.

In addition to food and drink, the Life on Mars menu will also include a rotating selection of records for sale and you can expect events like Record Store Day and parties for “good causes and non-profits” to frequently fill the space along with “some special guests pulling records and listening parties.”

Life on Mars is planned to open in “late spring” at 722 E Pike. You can learn more at lifeonmarsseattle.com.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

15 thoughts on “Life on Mars will create ultimate Capitol Hill DJ mix: vinyl with cocktails, beer, and a plant-based menu

  1. Normally I scoff at all the new “food and beverage” projects starting up around Capitol Hill (I’ve lived here long enough to know that almost half of them usually fail), but this looks legit. Looking forward to it.

  2. We love Revolver. Been going there for years. There’s also Sugarhill where they have records you can play. We’re def. not recreating the wheel or anything. It’s a bar. We are trying to add some twists to our space, but at the end of the day it’s a bar. I’ve been part of the music and bar scene in Seattle for 20 years and the key word is part of it. We’re all one big nightlife family and just championing for each other. Sorry if it came off differently. Not our intention. Just excited to put a new spot out there for folks to hopefully enjoy.

    • I for one am glad to hear of a new place opening up and bringing some vitality to that stretch of Pike. Not to bemoan all the development in our city, but I’ve been here long enough to remember when those blocks seemed jam-packed with businesses, cafes, bars, and *life*. Every time I’m there now I see too many large spaces in the new apartment buildings with their street-level windows perpetually papered over. Good on y’all for taking the initiative and taking the risk. I hope it works out and that it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.

      • Thank you so much. We’re really excited to join some of our long time friends and neighbors especially St. Johns and Honeyhole. I’ve been going to HH since the week it opened and have know the SJ fellas for quite awhile. Really excited to contribute to helping extend that stretch and connecting it with the rest of Pike.

    • Yeah Steven you are literally stealing someone else’s wheal. Sugar Hill is totally different than a 1970s them vinyl bar like Revolver. Your “idea” is literally a blatant rip off.

    • Yeah Steven you are literally stealing someone else’s wheal. Sugar Hill is totally different than a 1970s them vinyl bar like Revolver. Your “idea” is literally a blatant rip off.

      • Let’s wait to you see what it looks like before I’m a blatant ripoff. I mean you can think or say what you want and if you hate it, you don’t have to come. Lots of other bars serving drinks and food. Give it a shot and see for yourself though. Maybe you’ll like it. Maybe you won’t. We shall see.

  3. Referring to the owners of a new establishment as ‘Kings’, ‘Queens’ or ‘Royalty’ really shows an embarrassing desperation for their future ad revenue.

  4. This does sound like Revolver, except for the menu – although I would say Revolver is early/mid 70s decor. It will be interesting to see what *late* 70s decor looks like. Also not clear on how they are ranking the late 70s as an “era in vinyl” above …other eras “in vinyl”? Hopefully they have decent prices — $7+ beers are bs.
    But yeah, this corner needs some life. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.