Stout brings big space, lots of beer to 11th and Pine

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

IMG_7499Capitol Hill hasn’t always been kind to concepts or chains — large and small — involving multiple locations. The recent reboot of World of Beers is one example. The implosion of Varro on 12th Ave represents maybe the most dramatic meltdown example.

But Paul Reder’s concepts are doing pretty well elsewhere in Seattle. And while he already has plans for more, his first Stout opening on 11th Ave inside the Sunset Electric building Friday seems too big to fail.

From the four screens combined to create the largest television display on the 5,000+ square-foot pub’s eastern wall, to the bottled beer list, Stout is a new spin on Reder’s successful downtown Tap House Grill pared down for a more utilitarian neighborhood like Capitol Hill. The new corner of 11th and Pine has none of the grit from the old poster wall days — and that’s probably a good thing. That building is gone. A new version rises. It feels like 12th Ave has moved into Pike/Pine.

Continue reading

‘SPD returns man’s golf club’ — Police video shows disturbing 2014 arrest at 12/Pike

SPD's report on the situation puts on a happier face: "SPD Commanders first became aware of the incident in October 2014 after receiving an inquiry from former Washington State Representative Dawn Mason in which she raised questions as to the necessity of the arrest and charges. The 69-year-old man had already accepted a plea offer in this case. Dawn Mason worked with Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Deputy Chief Carmen Best to broker an organized discussion between residents and police about this case specifically as well as the relationship between the department and the community in general."
SPD’s report on the July 2014 incident puts on a happier face: “SPD Commanders first became aware of the incident in October 2014 after receiving an inquiry from former Washington State Representative Dawn Mason in which she raised questions as to the necessity of the arrest and charges. The 69-year-old man had already accepted a plea offer in this case.
Dawn Mason worked with Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Deputy Chief Carmen Best to broker an organized discussion between residents and police about this case specifically as well as the relationship between the department and the community in general.”

Tuesday, in advance of “a media outlet” reporting on video released “as a result of a public disclosure request,” SPD posted this update its Blotter blog with a line you don’t see every day in police announcements: “Deputy Chief Best personally met with the man, returned his golf club, and offered an apology for his arrest.”

Wednesday, The Stranger’s Ansel Herz reported on this video of Officer Cynthia Whitlach’s July 2014 arrest at 12th and Pike of William Wingate, a black, 70-year-old veteran who happens to take very long walks while carrying a golf club as a kind of multi-purpose walking stick:

On the video, Officer Whitlach can be heard insisting that the recording would show Wingate swinging his golf club at her and hitting a stop sign with it. According to the SPD, there exists no video to back up this claim. (SPD did not make Whitlach available for comment.)

“The allegation that he swung at the police car,” said city council member Bruce Harrell, who subsequently got involved in the case, “wasn’t corroborated by any other facts and was not caught on any video. What was caught on video was him minding his own business with the golf club at his side.”

Whitlach, standing behind her car, shouts at Wingate to drop his golf club 17 times, and claims that “it is a weapon.”

“You just swung that golf club at me,” Whitlach yells.

“No, I did not!” exclaims Wingate.

“Right back there,” Whitlach says back. “It was on audio and video tape.”

Wingate ended up in jail and charged with unlawful use of a weapon for the incident on the same block as East Precinct’s 12th and Pine headquarters. According to muni court records, he agreed to a conditional continuance. In September, a judge dismissed the case at the “satisfactory completion” of the agreement. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Thomas Soukakos’s friends will like Omega Ouzeri and so will you

Omega opens Thursday (Images: CHS)

Omega opens Thursday on 14th Ave (Images: CHS)

Thomas and Alexander Soukakos (Image: CHS)

Thomas and Alexander Soukakos (Image: CHS)

Here’s a business model for thriving in the rich but competitive Pike/Pine food and drink economy: Earn loads of friendships in your 20 years of experience in the Capitol Hill restaurant business and then build a place where all those friends will want to hang out.

Good luck to you!

But Thomas Soukakos has it down.

“I’m all about my friends,” Soukakos tells CHS summing up his two decades of Seattle food and drink experience as he prepared to open his new Omega Ouzeri Thursday on 14th Ave. “My friends will come here.”

Omega, Soukakos says, is the food and drink experience he has always wanted to create. Starting with El Greco on Broadway in 1994 and creating his two Vios restaurants took Soukakos on a path that in many ways mirrored his life with family and a cautious, humble approach to the restaurant business.

“Life gives us curves,” Soukakos said. “I forgot about it.”IMG_7376 Continue reading

Capitol Hill gets ‘efficient’ as two new-era microhousing projects face design review

"It doesn't feel like microhousing at all!" -- Guy in rendering

“It doesn’t feel like microhousing at all!” — Guy in rendering

As CHS reported last fall, Seattle’s new microhousing rules left plenty of room for aPodment-style development on Capitol Hill. One of the biggest asks for microhousing critics was to subject the “efficiency unit” building type to the Seattle design review process. Critics — and the rest of us — can see their dreams become reality at Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 2.13.46 PMBoylston Flats
1404 Boylston is familiar territory for the board. The seven-story “affordable” apartment building with 105 units averaging around 440 square feet a piece and slated to replace the 1905-built Emerald City Manor apartments took its first run through early design guidance back in November.

At that meeting, the board didn’t like what it saw and kicked the project back to microhousing developers Tyler Carr and Kelten Johnson and architect S+H Works to sort out the issues for another EDG round. Continue reading

#caphillpsa: Capitol Hill signs — Starbucks apologies, Comet code of conduct, City Market on Tom Brady’s balls

(Image: Comet Tavern)

(Image: Comet Tavern)

It’s a sign. One of the most effective ways to communicate your thoughts on the Hill on the Hill is to create a big, giant sign. CHS has a pile of Capitol Hill sign updates to share, below.

  • As you can imagine, we’ve been sent the Starbucks apologies banner that popped up on the side of Benson’s Grocery several times over the weekend. But Dan Nolte sent it first.

    This appeared on Bellevue at Pike over the weekend -- thanks to @noltedan (and everybody else) for sending

    This appeared on Bellevue at Pike over the weekend — thanks to @noltedan (and everybody else) for sending

  • We assume the sign makers “Mark and Sam” are referring to this. But maybe they meant this?
  • Benson’s, by the way, knows a little about the city’s on-premises advertising rules regarding signage.
  • We look forward to the Amazon, Microsoft, and CHS editions of the apology banners. Continue reading

What they’re saying about the Elysian-Anheuser-Busch InBev deal: why they sold, the ‘Loser’ joke, what’s next

"Elysian in the mirror" (Image: jillbertini via Flickr)

“Elysian in the mirror” (Image: jillbertini via Flickr)

Friday was a busy day for CHS. The news that Capitol Hill-born Elysian Brewing was selling out to Anheuser-Busch InBev brought the fourth highest daily total of readers to CHS ever. (Our roster of biggest news days ever is at the bottom of this post.) We barely had a chance to read what others were saying about the deal. Here’s a look at the soul searching and insights we’ve found about the deal. Let us know what we missed.

Elysian + AB InBev notes

  • In case you missed a few of our later updates, tweets from two Elysian employees didn’t paint a happy picture around the circumstances of the deal’s announcement Friday:

  • The Washington Beer Blog knew the deal was coming — and knew it would come with some big questions — Is Elysian Brewing evil now that it’s part of Anheuser-Busch?
    Dick said something that I think is very important. “We hope people will continue to judge Elysian by what’s in the bottle.” There is no doubt Dick understood that people would freak out, but he really does hope people can see past the business end of things and just continue to enjoy Elysian beers. Continue reading

Anheuser-Busch acquires Elysian Brewing Company — including E Pike brewery

"Brewmaster" (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

“Brewmaster” (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

Helpers at an Elysian trimming party last year (Image: Elysian)

Helpers at an Elysian trimming party last year (Image: Elysian)

Anheuser-Busch, the US wing of a global brewing giant, announced Friday morning it has acquired Elysian Brewing including the Seattle-based company’s E Pike brewery and pub.

Opened in 1996, Elysian’s Capitol Hill pub and brewery was the company’s first location. The brewery was founded by Dick Cantwell, Joe Bisacca and David Buhler.

The E Pike Elysian celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2011 with with 15 favorite beers. At the time, Cantwell provided some history about this much-loved brewery:

It took us about two years to plan, write the business plan, raise the money, etc. We opened a week late and $3000 over budget. I had been brewing at Big Time–we brought a lot of their old staff over–and before that at Pike Place–Fal, their head brewer rode his motorcycle inside the day we opened. I also worked at a place on lower Queen Anne–Duwamps Cafe, before that. We opened with one of our beers–The Wise ESB–a little fruity because of a warm fermentation–and filled out the taps with beers from every brewery that any of us had had anything to do with in the past. We raced Pike to brew first, since they were opening their new place in the Market South Arcade. After a year-plus of going neck and neck, we beat them by an hour.

Elysian has not yet announced any financial details of the transaction or planned changes for its E Pike facility. In 2011, Anheuser-Busch acquired Chicago’s Goose Island and its approximately 130,000 to 150,000 annual barrel capacity for $38.8 million. In 2014, it bought New York’s Blue Point for somewhere between $18 million to $24 million. Blue Point’s 60,000 barrel capacity is in the same ballpark as Elysian’s annual output.

Elysian is currently distributed in at least 10 states and has collaborated with large brewing companies like New Belgium in the past.

“Throughout our journey we’ve been focused on brewing a portfolio of both classic and groundbreaking beers and supporting innovation and camaraderie in the beer industry through collaboration and experimentation,” Cantwell is quoted as saying in the Anheuser-Busch announcement. “By joining with Anheuser-Busch we’ll be able to take the next steps to bring that energy and commitment to a larger audience.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Rising above the relentless development of Capitol Hill

IMG_3672IMG_3662IMG_3668Don’t let the relentless change of Capitol Hill get you down. Rise above. Seattle photographer Alex Garland — our busiest CHS photography contributor — took a climb on our behalf Thursday afternoon above 501 E Pike on the construction crane helping to build the eight-story Dunn Automotive development, a project its backer says will set a standard for new buildings utilizing the Pike/Pine Conservation District’s preservation incentives.

The views, we think, will help you remember you live in an amazing city full of incredible sights. And, yes, you’ll also see a lot of cranes. Continue reading

Thanks to auto row and REI roots, The Stranger building to join neighboring Value Village as protected landmarks

One of Pike/Pine’s most recognizable auto-row buildings is likely to remain intact for decades to come thanks to a gush of neighborhood support and a key vote on Wednesday.

The Landmarks Preservation Board voted 8-0 to designate the White Motor Company building an official city landmark, citing its auto row-era roots and ties to one of the nation’s most widely known outdoor retailers. The landmark bid now moves to City Council for final approval.

“It is very easily identifiable, even to those not familiar with Capitol Hill,” said board member Deb Barker.

An early component of Seattle’s REI history and now home to The Stranger and the Rhino Room, the prominent terra cotta-faced building at 11th and Pine has stood above Cal Anderson Park since it was was constructed in 1918.

REI voiced support for White Motor’s landmark bid, but the outdoor retailer has not said if it has any future plans to become more involved with the building. An REI spokesperson would only say the company was following the landmarks process “with interest.”

A landmark designation, along with the recent landmark designation of the adjacent Value Village building, threaten to halt plans for a preservation incentive-powered development project by owner Legacy Commercial though appeals could be in the offing.

Members of the public spoke in favor of a landmark designation on Wednesday and the board had previously received dozens of letters in support of the bid. With relatively little deliberation, the board also voted to landmark the building’s third floor interior wooden beams. Continue reading

Rising rent has kids clothing shop Bootyland readying for move that might take it off Capitol Hill

Cassidy and the Bootyland kids (Image: Bootyland)

Cassidy and the Bootyland kids (Image: Bootyland)

Capitol Hill shopkeeper Ellie Cassidy isn’t exactly sure what is next for E Pine and the streets and neighbors surrounding her kids clothing boutique Bootyland.

“Our neighborhood is in a crazy transition,” Cassidy said.

As it begins its 19th year of business on Capitol Hill, Bootyland and its selection of kids wear, toys, women’s clothing and “independent style” might be on the move.

“We’re still trying to figure out where,” Cassidy says about the possibility of leaving the neighborhood. “We’re considering it because there aren’t a lot of small retail spaces available now.”

What is certain is Cassidy will say goodbye to the 1317 E Pine location where the original group of Bootyland momma founders started the store in 1996. Her $25 per square foot rent is going up somewhere around 20 to 30%, she says, making for slim pickings for a children’s retail operation to continue in The Chester building at 13th and Pine. Vintage instant camera shop Rare Medium has already exited the building and moved to the Central District on 21st and Union next to Central Cinema.

Cassidy back in the early 2000s when she first started working at the E Pine boutique (Image: Bootyland)

Cassidy back in the early 2000s when she first started working at the E Pine boutique (Image: Bootyland)

While the specifics of what comes next might still be up in the air, Cassidy is rallying support for her impending move with a fundraising campaign to give shoppers and fans of the store a way to help Bootyland make the big change:

We will continue this tradition and with your support, you will be an integral part of it! We need $5,000 to $10,000 to complete our transition into a new home. Your funds will enable us to cover the cost of moving and setting up an amazing space full of vibrant, creative goods. Your support will help us put the word out about our new digs and our passion for design and ethics.

She’s also encouraging customers to come in and do some shopping now or buy gift certificates as she builds up the funding she’ll need to make the move and, she says, grow in the process.

“Transition is always a great opportunity,” Cassidy said.

Bootyland will hold a “Love” party to celebrate its time on E Pine — and its move — in February. You can learn more about the campaign and events here.

Last chance to have your say (via email) on 11th/Pine as Seattle landmark

IMG_2175-600x400Screen-Shot-2014-11-18-at-12.39.48-PM-600x357Wednesday afternoon, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board will decide whether it will extend its protections to the White Motor Company building at the corner of 11th and Pine. You might know it as The Stranger building.

The Wednesday vote follows a decision by the board earlier this month to protect the building’s neighboring auto row-era structure with REI roots currently home to Value Village. The White Motor Company has a similar auto row and REI mixed pedigree — and, the board decided in December, it also has an impressive enough interior that it, too, could be worthy of the board’s ongoing oversight.

Wednesday’s meeting includes an opportunity for public comment but you can also provide your thoughts via email to Sarah Sodt – Pike/Pine coordinator for the landmarks program. In its deliberations about the two early twentieth century structures, the board has consistently cited the many comments and shows of public support for the building it has received. CHS wrote here about efforts by preservation advocates to win protections for the buildings.

It’s not clear what impact the landmarks designations would have on the plans for a large office and commercial space development planned to integrate the facades and massing of the historical structures. A representative for real estate developer Legacy Commercial told CHS after the decision on the Value Village/Kelly Springfield building that it was too early to say what bearing the vote would have on his company’s plans to for a Pike/Pine’s preservation incentive-powered development.

Blotter | E Pike club stabbing, Broadway phone grab and beating, car prowl data

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

  • E Pike stabbing: A male victim suffered a three to four-inch knife wound in a fight outside a Pike/Pine club last Saturday around 1:00 AM. Staff at a First Hill medical facility reported the incident to police after the victim arrived for treatment. Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.01.39 AMThe report notes the victim was reluctant to report the incident and declined to provide specifics of the assault. Police say they responded that night to a fight disturbance at a club in the 900 block of E Pike. The case is currently not being investigated.
  • Man beaten in Broadway phone grab: A man suffered beating after reportedly being attacked for his phone at E Pine and Broadway early Saturday around 3 AM.
    Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 10.58.07 AM Continue reading

Pop culture art gallery calling it quits on Capitol Hill

You can build marquee arts projects and create a new arts district to promote the neighborhood — but, still, retail art galleries are going to have a rough go of it on Capitol Hill.

“The rent is expensive,” Ltd. Art Gallery owner James Monosmith tells CHS. “If you’re not dealing with a high cash industry, it’s really difficult to deal with that rent.”

That cold hard fact coupled with his focus on a new job has lead Monosmith and his wife Melissa Monosmith to shut down their brick and mortar presence on Capitol Hill after moving to Seattle four years ago to create the gallery business.

Ltd. and its remaining collection of pop and sci-fi art will live on via the Internet only. You’ll find the Boba Fett-rich collection at

While there is art for sale on walls nearly everywhere you turn inside its cafes, dedicated art galleries on Capitol Hill are a dying breed, to be sure. The Hill recently said goodbye to the latest casualty when E Olive Way’s Blindfold shuttered after two years of business.

After opening in a space low on Pike and bringing to a stop a seemingly endless going out of business sale at the shoe store before it, Ltd. had relocated in what seemed like a potentially cunning plan to align itself in geeky matrimony with the Gamma Ray Games gaming shop and lounge on E Pine. The move didn’t provide the boost(er pack) the Monosmith’s needed. “We were tying to make it work. As geeky of our artwork is, it’s not exactly the same demographic.”

What was missing, Monosmith said, were customers who would move beyond liking the art to actually purchasing it. With four years of gallery business under his belt, what does Monosmith think of the potential for retail art on Capitol Hill?

“The importance of a gallery is huge,” he said. “It’s the best way possible to showcase. If it’s just up on the wall above diners or whatever it ends up being an afterthought.”

Ltd.’s meat space presence will go out with one last show in February.

Vita family mourns passing of Andrew McConnell

Andrew McConnell

Andrew McConnell

Friends and family will remember Andrew McConnell in ceremonies and services Tuesday. The son of Caffe Vita founder Mike McConnell died last week at the age of 27.

“Andrew was a passionate soul who loved deeply, forgave freely and accepted others without judgment,” the obituary for McConnell reads. “He loved music and he loved to dance. His heart was just too sweet; he felt too much for this world. Andrew was loved by many; from Seattle to New York City where his infectious smile lit up many kitchens, working as a Master Pizzaiolo with a popular following.”

The Andrew Michael McConnell Memorial Fund has been created “to provide hope, support and treatment for heroin addiction and recovery in the Seattle community.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Value Village building with auto row and REI roots wins landmarks status but how much protection will it afford?

REI called 11th Ave home during its early growth as a retailing giant (Image: REI)

REI called 11th Ave home during its early growth as a retailing giant (Image: REI)

You already knew this but Capitol Hill’s Value Village is a landmark.

Or it will be after a City Council vote.

Wednesday afternoon, the Seattle Landmarks Board voted 9-0 to designate the historic Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building as an official Seattle landmark saying the building held special significance in the neighborhood due to its history in the early years of REI and its place in the “economic heritage of auto row.”

As a landmark, the building will be afforded special protections and alterations to its exterior will be subject to review by the board. But the designation may not stave off development planned for the site.

A representative for real estate developer Legacy Commercial said it was too early to say what bearing the vote would have on his company’s plans to use Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives to create a 75-foot tall office building above street-level commercial space with the property. The building is owned by the Ellison family that founded the Value Village chain.

One likely next step could be an appeal of the board’s decision. Another representative for the developer called the Kelly-Springfield building “a middling example” of auto row-era architecture in asking the board not to support designation of the property.

CHS wrote about the Kelly-Springfield nomination here. The neighboring White Motor Company building — currently home to The Stranger — will take its turn in front of the board on January 21st after successfully moving through the first round of the landmarks process in December. In that session, the REI connection for the two buildings was firmly established and the board was swayed to consider not only the 1918 building’s exterior but also its classic auto row-era guts including the three-story structure’s impressive upper-story truss.

In voting for landmark status for the current home of Value Village Wednesday, the board cited the many letters it had received from the public in support of protecting the buildings and the connection to REI as a significant factor in the decision. “The building has industrial automotive significance,” one board member said. “Letters have expressed that the building conveys that significance.”