Seattle Gay Scene: A brief history of The Seattle Eagle

SeattleEagleLogoSeattle Pride 2015 has come and gone and the Pike/Pine rainbow crosswalks aren’t quite as bright but there is still more to celebrate. Seattle Gay Scene points out an important anniversary for The Seattle Eagle which is celebrating 35 years of queer nightlife in 2015. Here’s how SGS’s “brief history” of the Eagle begins:

This year, the Seattle Eagle celebrates its 35th year of existence, making it the longest-surviving gay bar in Seattle.  (Not counting the Double Header in Pioneers Square, which is only nominally a gay bar during happy hour and before Seahawks’ games.)  My friend Kirk Calvo has asked me to share a few anecdotal recollections of the Eagle in its early years, so I’ll oblige with a few memories and observations that still pop out of the recesses of the gray matter…

When Jim and Lance, the original owners, took over the business in 1980, it was a mid-century “lounge” called Le Chateau.  The focal point of the bar, in the back near the restrooms, was a circular, gas fire-pit with oversized bean bag pillows surrounding it.  It was a favorite hang-out for some of the “ladies” of Pike Street.  Within a year or two, John and Lance undertook a remodel, eliminating the fire pit and expanding the service bar into an island running the length of the space and creating an upper-level catwalk along the west wall.  With the changed format, they also re-named the place, posting a large sign on the front of the building bearing the new name—J&L Saloon—across a stylized eagle.  The most prominent aspect of the sign was the bar’s motto: DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.  Words that still apply.

Give the whole thing a read at

You can now purchase ‘technical luxury’ at Kit and Ace Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

IMG_5992Vancouver, BC-based Kit and Ace has opened on Pike just across the street from the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Melrose Market.

The new store is a world away from the longtime former tenant of the space, Uncle Elizabeth’s, the last of Capitol Hill’s internet cafes. Demand for commercial space in Pike/Pine is reportedly high despite a flood of new construction. Occult and magick retailer Edge of the Circle got the boot from its 20-year-plus Pike home as its new landlord said it was fielding lots of interest for the space. Edge has since landed in the U-District. Nearby, a giant 10,000 square-foot mystery retailer is lined up for new construction. Meanwhile, the demand apparently has a new space to absorb as Atomic Cosmetics has shuttered.

CHS wrote about the arrival of Kit and Ace on Capitol Hill in June. The “technical luxury” clothing retailer was created by J.J. Wilson, son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, and J.J.’s stepmom Shannon Wilson.

So what, exactly, does “technical luxury” mean?

(Image: Kit and Ace)

(Image: Kit and Ace)

Luxury is in the details. From hem to neckline and from the inside out, we consider how you move throughout your day. We create fabric compositions that are versatile, functional and designed with your comfort in mind. Kit and Ace clothing gives you unrestrained freedom, so there are no limits to your range of motion. This is luxury made to live in.

J.J. told CHS “the Capitol Hill area is us” in June. With the new company plans to open 50 shops worldwide by the end of 2015, J.J. said Seattle’s new minimum wage laws were never a factor in deciding to open a store here. “We’re huge fans of the emerging creative class and the real estate factor has to be there — the right space on the right street,” Wilson said.

You can learn more at

The Electric Tea Garden wasn’t really dead and it’s still not but it does need a new Hill home

(Image: ETG)

(Image: ETG)

Though CHS reported its closure at 14th and Madison in October of 2013, the Electric Tea Garden wasn’t really gone. But it wasn’t really there, either. We’ll let founder and flipper of the ETG switch Bruce Mason explain.

“We were working on something different,” Mason tells CHS.

295943_291193720906938_687513709_nSome of that different emerged at one point when we noticed a new liquor license application for the eclectic dance club that made its home above the Artificial Limb Co. But, in the end, Mason says, reopening a dance club wasn’t really the direction of things, either, despite a few underground shows in the club here and there over the years since its “closure.”

In January, the venue got slapped with a land use violation and Mason with the building’s ownership started the process of looking into officially changing the use of the building and putting it in compliance for operating a club. But Mason said what followed was a growing realization that ETG wasn’t going to be able to stay in its longtime home.

“Despite some excitement from the new owner, the fire department came through and decided we needed a fire suppression system and that was really it,” Mason said.

Now Mason and his wife Suzanne are moving out of the old space — contact them for some deals on furniture, etc. — and beginning the search for something new, hopefully on Capitol Hill. “We’re trying to get away from the nightclub and get back to our gallery and internet radio roots,” Mason said. If you know of a space, drop ETG a line.

After 18 years on the Hill, Electric Tea Garden is in search of a new home. Our hope is to stay on our beloved Capitol Hill. But other up-and-coming areas of this great city are on our short list — SoDo, Pioneer Square, International District?!

To get all the lastest on ETG Events, plans, and launch date, make sure you update your email on our list at Contact Us.

In the meantime, come to the corner of East Pike Street and 14th Avenue from today until Tuesday, June 30th, to rummage through our well-loved furniture and curiosities. While our doors will not be open, feel free to drop off love letters and farewells in our mail box at the front entry at 1402 E. Pike Street.



Edge of the Circle finds new U-District home

After losing the lease on its more than 20-year E Pike home, Edge of the Circle is moving to the University District — and could use a hand:

Hi, everyone! Edge of the Circle is in dire need of someone who can paint the interior of the new space in the U-District, (formerly Xanadu Comics). We need a professional job done ASAP, so we can move and re-open the store with as little lag time as possible!

Contact info is here if you can help.

Earlier this month, CHS spoke with Edge owner Robert Anderson about the new ownership of The Ludlow building and the landlord’s decision to boot the shop specializing in books and goods of magick and the occult. “We’ve received tremendous interest in the space and we are committed to bringing in a small business that will add something new and exciting to the neighborhood in which we live,” a representative for the ownership told CHS.

No new tenant has been publicly announced.


Capitol Hill food+drink | Naka, with details in place, ready to open at 15th and Pine

IMG_0054 IMG_0104

Shota Nakajima (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Shota Nakajima (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Naka, the upscale Japanese kaiseki restaurant from first-time chef/owner Shota Nakajima, will serve its first meticulously sourced, highly crafted, fully detailed meals starting Wednesday night at 15th and Pine.

“I don’t care if 999 people don’t — as long as one person notices, that’s what matters,” Nakajima told CHS this week as the final pre-opening touches were being added in the second-generation restaurant venture in the space.

Nakajima’s acquisition of the former home of French restaurant space was fortuitous for the young owner with deep chops from his training at the Suji Culinary Arts School in Osaka. In a summer when several projects from Seattle restaurant veterans are delayed and pushed back to fall because of the backlog of permits and construction work in the area, the rookie at Naka was fortunate to be upgrading and transforming, not building out from scratch. Inside the new Naka, you will find the old zinc bar and the basic restaurant layout from Le Zinc — but instead of Pernod and Absinthe, there’s now a wall of Japanese whiskeys including many hard to find bottles and special pours. Continue reading

Mayor Murray set to unveil ‘Rainbow Crosswalks on Capitol Hill’ — UPDATE: Unveiled!


IMG_0176UPDATE 6/23/2015 7:00 AM: A project that will cover six intersections of Pike/Pine between 11th Ave and Broadway with rainbow crosswalks as a symbol of Gay Pride was unveiled early Tuesday morning.

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle’s first openly gay mayor and a Capitol Hill resident, said the new rainbow crosswalks represent the neighborhood as “a place where we are tolerant and accepting.”

“It says something about this neighborhood and it also says something about Seattle,” Murray said during a media event in the middle of 10th Ave at Pike. “This is a city of very diverse neighborhoods throughout with different character.”

The crosswalks are being installed at six intersections totaling 11 different crosswalks on E Pine and E Pike from Broadway to 11th Ave. At around $72,600 total, the crosswalk project comes in at around $56,000 more than standard white-line crosswalks would have. Crews also have given the standard white-line walks at other intersections along this stretch of Pike/Pine a much-needed repaint. The maintenance work is being paid for by developer fees, city officials at the event said Tuesday. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill’s F.A.M.E. holds vigil for South Carolina

Capitol Hill’s First African Methodist Episcopal held a vigil Thursday night to mark the deaths of nine people in the South Carolina church murders at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.

“The massacre that occurred there yesterday was nothing short than an act of terrorism,” Seattle King County NAACP president Gerald Hankerson said as he addressed the crowd gathered inside the Capitol Hill church.

“There seems to be a special place in hell for that kind of evil,” Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell said.

Friday night, the NAACP and local Black Lives Matter organizers will hold a vigil starting in Pratt Park at 7:30 PM.

The First African Methodist Episcopal church began holding service at 14th and Pine in 1890.


CHS Pics | Chophouse Row grand opening

IMG_3192 LizDunn


Capitol Hill-focused developer Liz Dunn was all smiles Thursday night as her years-in-the-making Chophouse Row development celebrated its grand opening with music, previews of coming-soon food and drink offerings, and wandering crowds exploring the mix of modern construction and auto row-era preservation.

CHS wrote about the Chophouse roster of food, drink, and retail tenants here including farm-to-ice cream cone champion Kurt Timmermeister who has taken a 300-square-foot patch of space for his dairy-powered cream and cheese ventureKurt Farm Shop. The centerpiece Chop Shop Cafe is still a few weeks out from opening after last-minute permit delays. Meanwhile, the new project built out of — and above — the shell of the old building that used to be home to Chophouse Studios also brings together Dunn’s 12th Ave Piston Ring building, the Thomas Kundig-designed 1111 E Pike building home to Cupcake Royale, and her E Pike Baker Linen building home to offices and Retrofit Home.

The Chophouse Row is Dunn’s second “open marketplace” development on the Hill joining the critically-acclaimed Melrose Market. The project was designed by Sundberg, Kennedy and Ly-Au Young, and Graham Baba.

Dunn told CHS she originally envisioned the project to include housing but that changing times and a need for more daytime activity in the neighborhood convinced her to switch gears and build office space above the ground-floor commercial spaces. You can check out details here on the trio of tech companies lucky enough to work above all that goodness below. The project did, however, include three penthouses. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Dunn says the exclusive spaces are already filled.

Lots more pictures, below. Continue reading

After more than 20 years on E Pike, Edge of the Circle loses lease

“The business doesn’t look as slick and professional as the other stores. Maybe they just don’t want us on the block.”

When landlords can say goodbye to a 20+ year retail tenant without a new business lined up to take the space, the good times in Pike/Pine must be very good.

Edge of the Circle, Seattle’s source for paganism and the occult, has lost its lease on E Pike, owner Robert Anderson tells CHS.

“He told me, we’ve been thinking about different business strategies and we’ve decided we want to do something else with the lease. We want yo to move. We’re choosing not to renew the lease,” Anderson said about a painfully awkward conversation with a property manger representing the company that purchased The Ludlow, the 700-block E Pike building home to Edge and a variety of Capitol Hill-flavored businesses, last year. You can read more of the play-by-play of the way in which Anderson found out his bookstore and emporium was getting the boot here via the Slog which broke the news about the situation Thursday. Anderson tells CHS he only found about the change Wednesday — he now has until August to move out, and find a new home for the shop.


Anderson tells CHS he has been in a month to month lease situation in the building after his longterm lease with the Ludlow’s previous owners ran out. When those longtime owners sold the property in September for $7.5 million, Anderson said the new owners told him to hang tight and that they planned to keep things as they were.

Wednesday’s news comes as a shock and has Anderson wondering what exactly was behind the ouster. “In 20 year, I’ve always paid my rent,” he said. “The business doesn’t look as slick and professional as the other stores. Maybe they just don’t want us on the block.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill groups make push to shape $1B Convention Center expansion, close I-5 gap

(Images: LMN Architects)

(Images: LMN Architects)

A design concept for the center's expansion (Image: LMN Architects)

A design concept for the center’s expansion (Image: LMN Architects)

The early reviews of the $1 billion plan to create a five-story expansion of the Washington State Convention Center along Pine — and, many hope, better bridge the “I-5 canyon” separating Capitol Hill from downtown — haven’t quite lived up to the price tag.

“Most of us aren’t visiting the Convention Center — we’re just walking by,” area resident Sage Kitamorn told the board as it convened its first review of the project’s design proposals last month. The “frequent pedestrian” asked the design review board to hold the Convention Center developers to creating “something great here and fill in the void.”

The hope went unmet in the first round of the process, according to Capitol Hill community groups and more august bodies like the Seattle Design Commission.

Friday night, a Capitol Hill-centered push to improve the project will begin: Continue reading