Jason Wilson never meant to serve “fine dining” type food inside his refurbished 1903 Victorian on E Madison just past 23rd — and well over the Capitol Hill border.
Wilson and wife and business partner, Nicole Wilson, also the team behind Miller’s Guild downtown, don’t live on Capitol Hill but view the neighborhood as a “cultural center point.” Wilson sees the proximity to the Central District, Madison Park and Madison Valley as a positive.
That’s part of why the pair decided on the location at 23rd and Madison a decade ago, rather than farther down Pine and Pike.
“(Pike and Pine weren’t) really blowing up at the time; it was kind of a dead zone,” he said. “At the time, Belltown was the place to be.”
Wilson said he also liked the distinguishing characteristics of a singular building set apart from everything else. The house’s $255,000 price tag probably didn’t hurt.
“It’s worked to our benefit now, but at the time everyone kinda thought we were nuts,” he said. Continue reading
Inside Lobby Bar (Image: CHS)
Capitol Hill still prides itself as a gay-friendly — if not fully gayborhood — neighborhood. With efforts like the new OutWatch, it is clear residents and businesses here are ready to defend that status. But it’s also clear that Capitol Hill continues to change. As part of that, there is a nightlife boom economy underway. So far, the neighborhood’s many gay bars are surviving and, sometimes, thriving among their new neighbors.
“You can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” said Brent Lerseth, a manager at Lobby Bar. “It’s good for gay as a whole. It’s just not so positive in the individual gay bar.”
As Capitol Hill and Seattle continues to grow, the neighborhood is no longer the gay center of Seattle’s universe and members of the community have noticed a shift in the nightlife.
Bud Cudmore, 69, has seen Seattle transform multiple times since moving to the city 51 years ago. He still occasionally treks from one gay bar to another, often smoking a thick cigar outside near the front door. He can detail the different scenes: fetish-focused, dance heavy, sporty, the bear bar, the lesbian bar, the twink bar, gay hipster, the “stand and pose” bars.
Bring up the changing face of Capitol Hill during a smoke break outside of C.C. Attle’s and most everyone shares an opinion.
(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)
There’s a faint smattering of applause as Spike Jonze’s name appears on the closing credits following the 7:30 p.m. showing of “Her.”
The lights un-dim and much of the half-full theater rises to its feet. A few people remain seated and chat, while others pass under the decade’s old balcony into the 1920s waiting room with a flickering electric fireplace. An usher bids a simple adieu and the the night is over.
While there is certainly no grand difference in the above-mentioned movie experience compared to most others, catching a flick at Harvard Exit will never be mistaken for stadium seating at a Marcus theater.
If someone asks if you saw Her, the answer will be, “yeah,” “no” or, “yeah, we watched it at Harvard Exit” — the neighborhood’s sole remaining chain theater since The Egyptian closed in June of last year.
“It’s vintage,” said Jeanne Heuving, a Wallingford resident who good-humoredly sat through a pair of echoing phone sex scenes with her mother.
(Image: Eric Mandel for CHS)
Moving isn’t easy. Even when it’s only a couple hundred feet.
“We have so much crap that it felt farther than it was,” said Colin Bryant, manager of Super Genius Tattoo, the highly regarded ink shop that moved to 1419 10th Ave on January 1st after more than 11 years on E Pike.
Just steps from the Pike Street Fish Fry and Neumos, Super Genius appears to have upgraded from a cramped, horseshoe-shaped accommodations to a warehouse-style studio with moderately vaulted ceilings. The space was for a time home to Atlas Clothing until it quietly left the Hill in August 2011.
Justin Boyle, one of Super Genius’ 10 artists, said the open design and roughly 400 square feet of additional space helps two-fold: offering tattooers and tattoo-ees extra room during the delicate body modification process and enhancing the display of its expansive collection of custom artwork.
Super Genius Tattoo is celebrating its move and its 12th anniversary on Saturday, January 18th.
What will they be doing? “I don’t really know,” Bryant said. “Hopefully people are going to come and stand around and drink.”
The move came less out of necessity than from good timing between the ending of its previous lease and a fortuitous opportunity. Continue reading