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. Continue reading

You can buy Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey for $99,950

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A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

Everything is for sale. Just ask Broadway’s Charlie’s. The restaurant’s owner Ken Bauer has listed the Capitol Hill classic for years.

On Thursday, Seattle’s only music writer David Segal posted about the peculiar real estate listings involving 14th and Madison rock club Chop Suey and got some intel from longtime neighborhood booker Jodi Ecklund.

“The most recent development is that the price was significantly dropped from the original asking price. The issue is the rent on the building is 13k; even with a thriving club like Chop Suey, that is not sustainable. I have heard there are some interested parties and I have been contacted by a few folks for more insight. My number one concern is that if Chop Suey is purchased, I hope it is by someone who values the local music scene.

If you’re wondering, Dave Meinert tells us he’s not interested in owning “a live music venue.” We’ll let you parse that statement.

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

To be clear, Chop Suey is for sale.

Not the 1325 E Madison building across the street from the former Piecora’s where a six-story development is planned. Continue reading

Capitol Hill wine shop Essence shutters — UPDATE

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(Image: Essence Wine)

(Images: Essence Wine)

Retailers looking for a berth on Capitol Hill will find some open space in the 400 block of E Pine. Funky and unpredictable bottle shop Essence Wine quietly closed earlier this month.

Here’s the Facebook goodbye:

Thank you all for so many beautiful times. We are closing the shop that hosted dance, music, people, laughter, arguments, discussion, ruckus, urbanity, and you. Thank you so much for being a part, thank you so much for being a part! The beauty of the essence will happen again, in different places and in so many ways. Thank you for having carried and carrying it on

The now empty shop makes two neighboring E Pine retail spaces looking for tenants. Earlier this summer, Gamma Ray Games announced it was consolidating up the Hill in a new space combined with its Raygun Lounge.

Co-owners Zach Weissman and Winston Xu opened Essence in late 2012shaped as an artesian cave, a cave of stacked wine boxes with bottled wine atop.” The business also had a — how should we say it? — creative approach to business. Not taking things too seriously seems to be part of the lifeblood of running a Capitol Hill wine business — stop by still-standing European Vine Selections for a taste as it’s kept things running for more than 25 years on the Hill.

Essence even managed to have some good fun at the expense of local media — CHS was thoroughly punk’d by this strange episode in early 2013. At the time, Xu apologized and told us he too had been tricked by the announcement and that Weissman had “no authority” to speak for the shop. It was a strange moment for the business but, until the end, both Xu and Weissman remained with Essence, according to corporate filings.

By email, Xu declined to comment on the closure telling us things still needed to get wrapped up with the landlord.

UPDATE: Xu tells us things are wrapped up with the landlord and a new art supply store is reportedly moving in:

The reason behind our closure was complicated, but mostly because I am finding myself not able to make enough spare time to manage the shop as much as it needed to be, Zach, my partner did a wonderful job and had been the primary manager Essence over the past two years, now he is off to another great job opportunity and I am swapped with my primary job and other businesses, so we have decided to close the business.

Central District says goodbye to legendary Catfish Corner

(Image: Catfish Corner)

(Image: Catfish Corner)

With an expensive judgement in a lawsuit brought by its MLK and Cherry landlord sealing the deal, a legendary Central District restaurant and community spot has shuttered.

Catfish Corner quietly closed earlier this month as the unlawful detainer case came to a close with the court ruling the Corner’s ownership owes more than $18,000 to building owners Cederstrand Rentals. A check of court records also shows a string of warrants for unpaid state taxes in recent years. Court documents indicate the space rented for around $1,800 a month.

The closure marks the end of 30 years of fried goodness and a black-owned business at the corner — and has many fans lamenting they didn’t get a last chance to say goodbye:

As a hub for information on the Black Community Catfish Corner will be missed by all for the Food and a gathering place.

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

Catfish Corner is owned by a company headed by the West family who have owned the business since the mid-2000s. The Go West company also produces Smartar Tartar

You’ll notice the difference in color. It’s not white with pickles. The texture is different because of all the other ingredients in it. And best of all, is the taste.

We’ve reached out to Go West and Smartar Tartar to learn more but have not yet heard back.

In the late ’90s, Catfish Corner founders Rosie and Woody Jackson sought to move the restaurant to 23rd and Jackson but were beat out by a little coffee company called Starbucks, according to the Seattle Times. A Kent Catfish Corner location lasted only a few years before shuttering in 2012.

There don’t appear to be any major overhauls lined up for the MLK and Cherry location known for its giant Martin Luther King, Jr. mural and we haven’t seen any permit activity that indicates a new tenant is ready to move in.

In the meantime, Catfish Corner fans are in mourning. “What are we gonna do now?,” one person lamented on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “I was raised on your fish. Why didn’t someone tell us so we could stock up? I am spinning right now.”

Capitol Hill food+drink | Cantinetta duo bringing El Correo to 12th Ave

Current home to several Capitol Hill microhousing residents, future home of El Correo (Image: CHS)

Current home to several Capitol Hill microhousing residents, future home of El Correo (Image: CHS)

Coinciding with its cascading waves of boom-like apartment development, Capitol Hill has also, you’re sure to have noticed, welcomed a continuing surge of new restaurant and bar investment. Many watch for harbingers of a bubble ready to pop. CHS watches other signs — like the long-anticipated arrivals of the city’s food and drink veterans on these hotly contested food+drink shores. While big players dealing into the neighborhood might encourage the bubble poppers, there are still successful Seattle restauranteurs apparently lining up to create their first venture on Capitol Hill.

Two of these partners have taken their route to Capitol Hill with a stop in Madison Valley — just to get acclimated, we’re sure. CHS has learned that Trevor Greenwood and Wade Moller, the duo behind Wallingford-born Cantinetta and the Madison Valley sibling Bar Cantinetta, are climbing onto Capitol Hill with a new project under construction on 12th Ave.

A project being called El Correo is being built in the 12th Ave microhousing development from Melrose Market developer Scott Shapiro under construction above the burial grounds for the old Capitol Hill Market. Continue reading

Tour Trove’s treasures — noodles, Korean BBQ, frozen custard, beer — before September opening

Work is in the final stretch at Trove

Work is in the final stretch at Trove

(Images: CHS)

Yang (Images: CHS)

Rachel Yang gave media and neighboring businesses a tour of her new Capitol Hill creation Friday morning. Trove will fill a former costume shop space on E Pike with four interconnected but independent elements — 1) a noodle bar, 2) a beer-focused + volcanic Mt. Rainier be-arted drinking bar, 3) a Korean BBQ, and 4) a walk-up frozen custard window. Molten lava-worthy red walls connect Trove from end to end.

“When I first saw it, I had a little heart attack,” Yang said. “There’s a lot going on.”

The rehabilitated Greenus Building, formerly home to Brocklind’s is in the final stages of being transformed into the third Seattle food and drink project from Yang and her husband and collaborator Seif Chirchi. The couple previously created north-of-the-cut faves Revel and Joule. Continue reading

Fifth annual Linda’s Fest ready to rock the patio — and the construction pit

IMG_234610543656_724644084238704_3622052533988432165_nAs summer draws to a close, Linda’s Tavern is ready to bring Capitol Hill’s festival season to a close with its fifth annual free mini music bash, Linda’s Fest. This will be the last year Linda’s infamous back patio will not have a seven-story apartment building looming above.

“It’s not the first time that Capitol Hill has changed,” says Jonah Bergman who plans the annual event, “Even if there’s a construction pit next to it, it is still a great place to hang out.”

On Saturday the 23rd from 5 to 10 PM the bands Tacocat, Chastity Belt, the Young Evils, Kithkin, and Thunder Pussy will take the patio stage for the free show.

“It’s cool to have musicians of that caliber on a stage,” says Bergman, “that we put together for one day in a back parking lot.”

Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Dulces calls it quits (again) on Capitol Hill

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White table cloths and a bar couldn't draw Lawrence Lofts neighbors downstairs (Images: Dulces)

White table cloths and a bar couldn’t draw Lawrence Lofts neighbors downstairs (Images: Dulces)

Even for a man who called his restaurant Dulces it’s hard to not sound bitter about burning out on Capitol Hill.

“We had a hard time getting new clientele,” owner Carlos Kainz tells CHS about the sudden shuttering of his 19th and Madison restaurant over the weekend. “Our old clientele were very loyal. But the very young customers upstairs… they wanted a club.”

Kainz and wife Julie Guerrero served their last dishes at the latest incarnation of Dulces Latin Bistro after only 280 days of business in the restaurant space of the Lawrence Lofts building. Kainz said he and Guerrero struggled to grow business on the corner — “The cars go by too fast, so they can’t see we we’re here” — and were given the option to either sell or get out.

Turns out, there were plenty of takers looking for a turnkey, Capitol Hill-area restaurant space. Thudsuan Kitchen and Bar will take over the corner with a start-of-September opening planned. Continue reading

The Banhs share details on meaty E Jefferson 7 Beef steakhouse: whole cows, primal cuts, parking

Eric Banh is ready to put his recent butchery training to work with a new E Jefferson project that will feature “classic” as well as “primal” cuts of beef that utilize “whole,” local cows.

CHS reported in July on a trio of new projects from brother and sister restaurant partners Eric and Sophie Banh including the debut of the expanded 19th Ave E Monsoon. Monday’s announcement confirms details of the largest of the new ventures that will create a steakhouse near 13th and Jefferson replacing an architect’s office.

“7 Beef will receive whole cows from local purveyors and break them down into primal cuts and ground beef,” the announcement proclaims.

The 7 Beef name refers to “the traditional Vietnamese seven-course beef dinner called Bò 7 Món, where diners sample a variety of small beef dishes.” Continue reading

Black Coffee anarchist co-op says it’s leaving Capitol Hill

IMG_4458 (1)IMG_4481An experiment in social entrepreneurialism — and coffee — on Capitol Hill has come to an end. Black Coffee, the E Pine “worker co-op, cafe and community space,” will shutter by Halloween and leave the neighborhood in search of a new home.

The co-op announced the planned closure Sunday afternoon:

The challenges of challenging Empire and colonialism and all the other ‘isms that come with them, internally and externally. Putting a bat behind the counter, after learning that sometimes words just didn’’t work. These are all memories and experiences we’ll take with us, whether we wanted them or not. We’re honored & humbled to keep these memories.

In the last year the collective has said goodbye to one member and gained three, for a total of six worker-owners, half of which were born and raised in the metropolis of the Emerald City. The current six have decided to leave 501 E. Pine, located onTrap Hill, Babylon. But rest assured… WE ARE NOT ABANDONING THIS PROJECT NOR OUR COMMUNITIES!!!

“We are leaving this location so that we can adjust to what our communities need and provide what we can, with an eye to the long term.” the message concludes. “We are trying to remain guided by our communities as a project of anarchist infrastructure, a small contribution to the project of building the commons.”

The group has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to help Black Coffee find a new location.

In July, CHS reported on issues with Department of Planning and Development permits that were leading to big changes with Black Coffee’s neighbor Raygun Lounge and placing the co-op’s future on E Pine in jeopardy: Continue reading

Von Trapp’s becomes Rhein Haus following name dispute

Rhein Haus signs went up Thursday afternoon (Photo: Bryan Cohen)

Rhein Haus signs went up Thursday afternoon after the name change announcement (Photo: Bryan Cohen)

Capitol Hill’s German beer hall+bocce bar announced on Thursday it was changing its name from Von Trapp’s to Rhein Haus, effective immediately. In a press release sent out Thursday morning, the owners said the name change comes amid complaints by one member of the Trapp family, which owns the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. Owners of the 12th Ave bar said aside from the name change and a new website, everything else will stay the same.

“Though the owners vetted the original name and got the federal trademark before opening in early 2013, over the past few months concern has arisen with one member of the Trapp family about confusion between the Seattle Von Trapp’s and the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont,” said the bar owners in a statement.

“We all feel that in order to differentiate ourselves from the Trapp family, a name change is best for everyone involved,” said owner James Weimann.

The Stowe, VT lodge was founded by the family of Maria von Trapp, whose Trapp Family Singers inspired the 1959 musical and subsequent film The Sound of Music. Rhein Haus owners said they picked the new name to pay “homage to the longest river running through Bavaria.”

Von Trapp’s opened on Capitol Hill in February 2013. Earlier this summer the cavernous beer hall installed a massive patio with additional bocce courts and big screen TVs. The name change comes just a few weeks ahead of what will probably be some rowdy Oktoberfest celebrations.

Vancouver BC izakaya bar coming to E Pine

(Image: Suika)

(Image: Suika)

The backstory behind the closure of a longtime Pike/Pine favorite involves a Vancouver BC import sure to be popular in yet another rapidly changing stretch of Capitol Hill. The management of Vancouver izakaya bar Suika have confirmed plans to open a new stateside venture here on Capitol Hill.

The venture is slated to take over the former home of 611 Supreme after the cafe and lounge shuttered earlier in 2014 following 18 years on E Pine. We later learned that owner Margaret Edwins had sold the business to make way for a new concept. Now we know who the lucky buyer was.

The new ownership won’t yet comment on the plans for 611 E Pine or a planned opening date but the liquor paperwork lists the business name as Suika. There are no construction permits on file for the address indicating either we have a long wait –or a very fast, low construction turnaround is planned.

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(Images: Suika)

The Broadway, Vancouver bar is known for its stylish take on Japanese tavern fare, drink carts and popular gimmicks like “Chinese Poutine.” Suika is part of a family of isakaya purveyors including Kingyo locations in Vancouver and Toronto. The name, by the way, means watermelon.

The likely addition to E Pine will join a small wave of Asian-flavored food+drink ventures opening across Capitol Hill in coming months. Across E Pine, ID-favorite Oasis Bubble Tea is also slated to move in. Earlier this year, Capitol Hill got its first taste of a dedicated izakaya as Shibumi opened near 12th and E Pine.

A Vancouver-sourced project also adds to a mini-wave of BC imports to Capitol Hill started by Meat & Bread’s destined arrival in the Central Agency Building project.

You can watch facebook.com/suika1626 for updates.