Capitol Hill food+drink | Black Bottle crew opening new joint on 15th Ave E

The owners of the Black Bottle family of restaurants are working to put a long-shuttered food and drink space on 15th Ave E back into motion.

CHS has learned that a company including Black Bottle’s partners Chris Linker, Judy Boardman, Brian Durbin, and William Bruiniige has inked a lease for the former home of 22 Doors which shuttered in late 2013. Boardman, by the way, lives in the area so will presumably bring some local knowledge to the project.

Workers are busy inside the 2,374 square-foot restaurant and bar that was known for having one of the best patios on the Hill. The restaurant was also known for its mysteriously long, two-year vacancy as the street’s food and drink scene grew and seemingly thrived around the dark and empty space sandwiched next to Rione XIIIThe Wandering Goose, and old-timer Tim’s Barbershop. Continue reading

Ready to leave the Dunshee House behind, SASG announces new Capitol Hill home

Sara watches as Loretta gives a Christmas tree a fresh cut, SASG's Annual Holiday Tree Sale.

SASG's new home (Image: SASG)

SASG’s new home (Image: SASG)

This summer, CHS reported on the search for a new home for Seattle Area Support Groups and Community Center after 26 years at 17th and Thomas for the Capitol Hill nonprofit. SASG announced Monday that, after a successful capital campaign that included a generous $300,000 matching donation, it has signed a 10-year lease on new office space above 15th Ave E.

SASG’s new space will be on the second floor of the building formerly home to the Salal Credit Union at 115 15th Ave E. The announcement did not include information on what is lined up for the first floor of the building that has been empty since Salal moved its branch to First Hill this summer. Last week, CHS reported that the parking lot adjacent the building is destined to be home to a new four-story apartment development.

SASG will have to get creative about where it hosts its annual holiday tree sale fundraiser. This year, the Capitol Hill tradition is lined up to return in the Group Health parking lot behind the 17th Ave house. Sales begin November 27th.

SASG was founded in 1984 as the Seattle AIDS Support Group but has expanded to include groups building communities around specific HIV issues and other recovery assistance like addiction. It held its first tree sale fundraiser in 1990. You can read about more of the SASG history here. The group had been known as the Dunshee House but recently moved away from that identity prior to the announcement of the group’s move.

As for the future of the old house, city permit paperwork still doesn’t indicate any new plans for the property at 17th and Thomas. The house was sold in September for $2.425 million.

You can give to the SASG capital campaign and learn more at

Pot twist: Arcade technicality opened way for Capitol Hill’s first pot shop

IMG_9802Add a few more to the twists and turns it has taken to get to Capitol Hill’s first pot shop. Meanwhile, the City of Seattle also is ready to propose new zoning rules around where pot shops can be located.

Earlier this week, CHS reported that after a year in limbo, Samuel Burke finally received his I-502 license to open Tok at 15th Ave E and E Republican inside the space formerly occupied by Angel’s Shoe Repair.

It was an unexpected move form the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, as a video arcade across the street appeared to be preventing Burke from opening. According to state regulations, an I-502 retailer can’t open within 1,000-foot radius of a place where children typically gather, including arcades. Continue reading

Design reviews: 15th Ave E project fits on a parking lot — Plus, what Vulcan’s first Yesler Terrace development will look like

The Vulcanic future of Yesler Terrace

The Vulcanic future of Yesler Terrace

Two projects slated to come before the East Design Review Board Wednesday night are probably good examples of the types of projects we’ll see in Central Seattle in the next waves of development. One in the heart of Capitol Hill’s “eclectic” 15th Ave E neighborhood is relatively small and will be widget-ed into a space between buildings where a parking lot is currently found. The other is an enormous investment from a massive name in Seattle development that threatens/promises to completely transform an area passed by in the most recent waves of explosive development.

123 Broadway
Here’s what Vulcan’s first mixed-use foray into the transformation of Yesler Terrace will look like:

The corner expression at the south (Yesler) provides a strong identity marking the corner of Yesler and Broadway. The base features a retail space with a plaza for spill-out dining. The extra width provided by the plaza will allow for increased pedestrian traffic at this important intersection.

It’s going to be huge. Continue reading

First on Capitol Hill, Tok granted pot retailer license for 15th and E Republican shop

The license for the first recreational pot shop on Capitol Hill has been approved. After a year of waiting in limbo, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board has approved the I-502 retail license for Tok to open at 15th Ave E and E Republican, according to the agency’s list of recently approved licenses. The approved location, nestled between El Farol and Postal Plus on E Republican, was the former home of Angel’s Shoe Repair.

Tok’s opening did not appear to be imminent late Monday as the shop’s windows remained papered-over. Tok owner Sam Burke and his spokesperson Ben Livingston did not return CHS’s messages Monday afternoon.

With a license in hand, Tok’s opening will close a chapter in one of the most closely watched small business dramas that’s played out on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, Burke was well on his way to opening a pot shop inside the now-shuttered Capitol Hill Veterinary Clinic when Uncle Ike’s owner and CHS advertiser Ian Eisenberg bought the property in a $1.5 million deal. Burke, an original I-502 lottery winner, had hoped Eisenberg would still extend him a lease, but Eisenberg later told CHS he would remodel the space in hopes of finding another I-502 permit holder to partner with.

With his heart — and business plan — set on opening a shop on Capitol Hill, Burke scrambled and eventually secured a deal with the landlord across the street to open in Ray Angel’s longtime cobbler shop.

While Burke waited for Angel to make his exit, Eisenberg opened the Capitol Hill Family Arcade in the former veterinary clinic. Eisenberg said it was a convenient placeholder while he waited for the next window to submit an I-502 applications. The business seemingly had another advantage: complicating Burke’s mission to open Tok. Continue reading

Rhein Haus, Derschang bar managers team up to create ‘Capitol Hill exclusive’ Perfect Strangers beer

(Image: Perfect Strangers)

(Image: Perfect Strangers)

Ryan Minch (Rhein Haus) and Myles Burroughs (the Derschang Group) two of the guys on the other side of the bar making the Capitol Hill food and drink economy click have teamed up with a Washington State brewery to create a new beer. And you’ll only find it on Capitol Hill:

Perfect Strangers IPA No. 1 is the product of a collaboration between Myles and Ryan with Everybody’s Brewing using a 15 barrel brewing system. When approached, Everybody’s Brewing responded with great enthusiasm allowing Ryan and Myles to collaborate with head brewer Jess to conceptualize and execute a unique grain mash and hop profile to be finished with Washington-grown, organic, granny smith apples to create a refreshing, bright IPA meant to be drunk fresh during the late summer and early fall.

Minch tells CHS he and Burroughs turned to White Salmon, Washington’s Everybody’s Brewing to create their brew with a recipe using “malted barley, rye, and wheat in the grain bill” that gives the IPA “a dark, golden bronze color with a combination of American Cascade Hops and German Merkur Hops.”  The brew was finished with Washington grown, organic apples. “Although the apple flavor is subtle, the juice quietly provides just enough bright acidy to complete the beer,” the press release reads.

Minch said the deal with Everybody’s Brewing called for the partners to purchase all beer brewed from the collaboration through the distributor — you brew it, you buy it. The partners are planning to create more “unique, limited-release offerings” in the future.

The beer is now available at Rhein Haus’s Seattle location, Linda’s, Smith, and Tallulah’s “while supplies last.”


CHS Pics | Shooting the blood moon from Louisa Boren Park


Hundreds of moongazers showed up at Louisa Boren Park Sunday night — many packing rather amazing camera set-ups — for a view of the blood moon total eclipse from Capitol Hill.

Enticed by a clear-for-Seattle sky and the rare convergence of the full moon nearest the fall equinox, the moon at its closest approach to Earth for the year, and the eclipse, the Super Harvest Blood Moon shooters were joined by a crowd of skywatchers in the park overlooking Lake Washington along 15th Ave E’s eastern flank. Continue reading

Hopvine marks 20 years on Capitol Hill with week of craft brew events, special open mic

While Capitol Hill celebrates the birth of another beer-y establishment as the EuroPub opens on Broadway, the legendary Hopvine Pub is ready to mark its 20 years in the neighborhood by doing what it does best with a week of the best in craft brewing, open mic, music, and fun.

11885777_10153001283966283_3404742398035636549_oHere’s the lineup for Hopvine’s 20th anniversary celebration week:

  • Monday September 28th 6pm – Naked City Cask Night .
  • Tuesday September 29th 7pm – Two Beers Brewing
  • Wednesday September 30th 8pm – Anniversary Open Mic Sponsored by Black Raven
  • Thursday October 1st 7pm – Stoup Brewing Hopvine Beer Release
  • Friday October 2nd 9pm – Anacortes Karaoke
  • Saturday October 3rd 8pm – Anniversary Week Finale with Schooner Exact Brewing and the Lonely Mountain Lovers Band.

The Washington Beer Blog has all the details about the hoppy events.

CHS visited 15th Ave E earlier this year to tell the story of 20 years at the Hop:

Two decades of ‘American beer and American comfort food’ at the Hopvine
Bob Brenlin
loves to talk about beer. He has spent nearly three decades in the business of selling suds as a co-owner of three pubs in Seattle, including 15th Ave East’sHopvine, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015.

When he opened the Hopvine in September 1995, he had already been running the Latona Pub in Green Lake since 1987 (the third pub is the Fiddler’s Inn in Wedgwood), so he had time to get the business model down. When he opened, he said he hoped to accomplish two goals.

“We wanted to be part of a local community, a nice neighborhood, and introduce them to interesting craft beer,” he said.

The Hopvine’s open mic events, meanwhile, have become a showcase for up and comers — and everyone in between.

Over the years, the comfy pub on what used to be the comfiest commercial strip on Capitol Hill has also become known for its simple pizzas and warming soups that were made to accompany a pint — or two. “Pairing is a bonus, but at the end of the day, it’s about what you like,” the Hopvine’s kitchen manager Michael Congdon told CHS. “It’s American beer and American comfort food. It’s kind of tough to screw up.”

The Hopvine is located at 507 15 Ave E. You can also learn more about its anniversary week events on the Hopvine Facebook page.

CHS Pics | Sidewalk fest a party for 15th Ave E’s new businesses and old institutions

DSC06008 DSC05962DSC05943The 15th Ave E Merchants Association held its annual sidewalk festival Sunday, welcoming a new start for one business in the commercial village. Meanwhile, a core element of the street is also lined up for some behind the scenes changes.

Sunday’s party had 15th Ave E businesses spilling onto the sidewalk with treats to share from Shop Agora’s paella to the live band playing in front of the Hopvine.

All treats were free at Sugar Plum, Makini Howell’s vegan desert and sweet shop that replaced her longtime cafe on 15th Ave E. We missed out on meeting Stevie Wonder, however, as the frequent Howell supporter dropped by the party Sunday afternoon.

The businesses of 15th Ave continue to shift but without some of the major tectonics found elsewhere on the Hill like Pike/Pine. Eventually, there will be at least one pot shop at 15th and Republican. A Rudy’s has opened. And the banks and financial services players on the street are making some large — and small — changes. The Salal Credit Union has pulled out of the 15th Ave building slated to make way for a new four-story apartment development. An insurance office on the same block has shuttered. The Wells Fargo branch inside the Safeway is expanding and getting an overhaul. And the old Key Bank — once slated for demolition itself — is being lined up for an interior refresh according to permits.

Meanwhile, one of the buildings at the center of 15th Ave E’s smaller-scale development is in the middle of some behind the scene changes. Monday, the City Council approved legislation allowing easements on the Fire Station Seven building to be transferred to Environmental Works as the nonprofit community design center completes a deal to purchase the property from co-owners Capitol Hill Housing and the County Doctor. The three community-driven entities moved into the old firehouse together in the ’70s. EW and director Roger Tucker continue to be headquartered in the building that’s ground floor is now home to boutique Station 7. In 1971, when Environmental Works first took on preserving Fire Station Seven, Tucker tells CHS the groups were up against an effort to acquire the property for an expanded QFC.

With Central District I-502 retail a $1M+ a month business, 15th Ave E pot shop maneuverings play out

The free-play Capitol Hill Family Arcade has to be one of the more peculiar manifestations of Seattle's pot economy (Images:  Capitol Hill Family Arcade)

The free-play Capitol Hill Family Arcade has to be one of the more peculiar manifestations of Seattle’s pot economy (Images: Capitol Hill Family Arcade)

There will not be a pot shop ready for business in time for the 15th Ave E Merchants Association’s 2015 Sidewalk Fest. The ongoing saga of who will open Capitol Hill’s first recreational pot shop has hit a bureaucratic lull. Two competing potreprenuers on 15th Ave E are waiting to obtain licenses from the state as two other businesses in the mix — a third generation cobbler and a punk rock arcade/ice cream shop — await permits from the City.

Ian Eisenberg tells CHS he plans to apply for a new I-502 license next year to open a second Uncle Ike’s pot shop in his building at 15th Ave E and E Republican.

“The more time I spend on 15th, the more I love it,” Eisenberg said. “I really want to open second shop there.”

The 15th Ave E Merchant Association has an interesting year ahead

The 15th Ave E Merchant Association has an interesting year ahead

For now, Eisenberg is operating the Capitol Hill Family Arcade — a business that he says was a quick and fun way to activate the space while he waits to open a pot shop.

But for Sam Burke, an I-502 permit holder who’s attempting to open tok pot shop across the street, the arcade was simply a maneuver to keep his doors shut. Under state zoning regulations, I-502 shops cannot be located within a 1,000-foot buffer of places where children gather, like schools, parks, and arcades (those rules could soon change with new zoning authority available to local municipalities). Continue reading