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

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.

Stylists cut back, take over at E Pike’s Emerson Salon

_DSC0730Emerson Salon is changing ownership and downsizing come September. The salon located on E Pike just off Broadway will switch to self-employed stylists working in a common space under the Emerson banner.

“I want people to understand that we are a lot of individuals that are trying to work together for a common goal where we are all successful,” D’Arcy Harrison, one of the new owners, tells CHS.

Harrison and Lancer Forney are both stylists at Emerson Salon and are taking over ownership on the new lease. Emerson was founded by neighborhood entrepreneur and investor Alex Garcia. Garcia has seen his local investments dwindle with the Emerson changes and 2013′s closure of The Social on E Olive Way.

Harrison and Forney say they have been small business owners in the past and are determined to get it right this time. Both have participated in business training programs through the south Seattle non-profit Washington CASH.

Continue reading

Weekend mugging swarm has August shaping up as Capitol Hill’s most rob-biest month… ever

On a per capita basis, your odds for getting mugged on Capitol Hill probably peaked in the mid-90s but after a small swarm of street robberies around the Hill this weekend, August 2014 appears to be shaping up as the worst month in recent years for robbery in the East Precinct beats covering Capitol Hill.

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This weekend pushed the month over the top with a roster of reports coming in:

  • 8/22 2:52 AM: Two males reportedly hit victim near Broadway Market QFC. Medics were declined. Victim lived nearby.
  • 8/23 1:32 AM: Victim found on sidewalk near Broadway/Pike, suspect last seen fleeing on the Harvard Market stairs. Suspects described only as “group of black males in their 20s.”
  • 8/23 1:55 AM: Report of fist fight at 11/Union turned out to be street robbery. Suspects ran northbound on 11th Ave described as three black males, all wearing beanies and shorts. Two adult male victims suffered head lacerations in the scuffle.
  • 8/23 3 AM: Suspect reportedly stole something from a female victim’s purse. She fell chasing the thief near 13th/Olive St. Her male counterpart told police he thought suspects fled to Cal Anderson. The perpetrator was described only as a “short, white male.”
  • 8/24 10:21 PM: E Pine near Harvard. Caller reported 10 people attempted a strong arm robbery, trying to take wallet out of victim’s hand and threatened him with knife but didn’t show. The group was described only as black males and female teens. The group was last seen leaving the area on Harvard.

Continue reading

What the development that will won’t yet replace Rancho Bravo will look like

(Images: Schack A+D)

(Images: Schack A+D)

It’s a modern Capitol Hill condition. Looming over every plate of delicious, cheap, Rancho Bravo tacos is the knowledge that here, too, will someday rise a six-story apartment building. But it’s not going to happen soon.

“We have decided to postpone development of this property for a couple of years,” developer Maria Barrientos tells CHS about the E Pine parcel home to the Mexican fast food joint that is envisioned — eventually — as a “gateway development to Pike/Pine.” 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

Blotter | Harvard/Pine gaybashing charge — Plus, conviction in 2008 Central District murder

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Gaybashing charge: A 22-year-old Auburn man arrested in the Sunday night, August 10th alleged gaybashing at Harvard and Pine has been charged with malicious harassment, the state’s hate crime statute. Ivan Prokhorin faces the charge for his role in allegedly sparking an attack on two men he saw holding hands on Harvard Ave. According to police, Prokhorin, who was with two other males, yelled “Fucking faggots” and followed the two victims to their vehicle carrying an empty Corona bottle. The men told police they grabbed a baseball bat from their own car to defend themselves. “Is there a problem?,” one of the victims asked. “Yes, because you are a fucking faggot,” Prokhorin is alleged to have yelled as he attempted to strike the victims with the bottle but missed and hit the car, shattering the glass. Police say one of other suspects then wrestled away the bat and hit one of the victims several times on the back. The victim was not seriously injured. According to police, the attackers fled in a car but officers located the BMW near 9th Ave and E Alder. There are currently no charges filed against the men who were with Prokhorin. 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

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.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Inès Pâtisserie: pastries you can sink your teeth into, no baguettes

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

The French pastry shop Ines Patisserie opened on Friday at its new location where Madison meets 11th. We gave it each and every one of its proper French doohickeys in the headline.

Owner Nohra Belaid and her staff will be having an “understated soft opening for the month of August,” then will kick things into full gear once fall begins.

Belaid sold her old location on Madison and 29th earlier this year and took three months to set up the new home on the western, currently sun-drenched side of the new Viva building.

The new shop is “more modern, cleaner, in terms of aesthetics, and a little feminine,” says Belaid. The interior is all white with pops of color from the pastries on display and candy in delicate glass jars.

Belaid wants to build a community where people come to treat themselves to a coffee and a pastry while interacting with one another. Warning laptop jockeys: The shop has only three power outlets and Belaid says this is by design. A majority of the time on Friday morning, Belaid was in front of the counter sitting down with customers she knows and meeting new ones. Continue reading

Inès Pâtisserie opens on Capitol Hill

(Image: Rayna Stackhouse)

(Image: Rayna Stackhouse)

The backside of Pike/Pine now has a French bakery. CHS told you almost exactly one year ago about the plans for Inès Pâtisserie to move up Madison to join the Viva building at 1111 E Union. Friday, the bakery and cafe made a quiet debut with reported 9 AM openings planned this weekend. We’ll have more on the new addition soon.

Welcome to Capitalist Hill: This studio apartment available


Jason shares the latest Capitol Hill street art commentary on the state of the neighborhood, above. He found it on 12th Ave though we’re sure it also appears at several other nearby locations. It makes a companion piece to this witty wheatpaste poster in the blocked-off doorway of the classic old building at 11th and Pine destined to become not another new apartment project but offices. CHS has been sent notes about the doorway art all summer but had hoped to wait to post it after we found out more about what happened to the young woman that called the doorway home in recent months. We haven’t been able to track her down. But here’s the painful poster anyhow. As we’ve noted before, Capitol Hill seems to die a lot. It’s true. And we get some funny art out of it. Again and again.