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Capitol Hill food+drink | Bruce Lee Day lifts beery Pine Box’s sad spirits

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  • First, the good news: there is a less-than-15% chance that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, animated by evil ghosts, will be stomping down the streets of Capitol Hill any time soon.

However, according to a team of paranormal researchers, Melrose’s The Pine Box may be the home of at least one melancholy spirit.

In its previous, um, incarnation, the building where the bar is located was inhabited for nearly nine decades by E.R. Butterworth & Sons funeral home. Apparently, it was THE place to be dead in Seattle: among other posh clients, the mortuary hosted the funeral of action superstar Bruce Lee. (Such is the power of celebrity: the transitory presence of a famous person in a local establishment, even post-mortem, is still buzz-worthy four decades later.)

On the eve of the 39th anniversary of Lee’s funeral in the building, the team from White Noise Paranormal Researcher and Investigation set up shop in the bar overnight, looking and listening for evidence of otherworldly activity. Using sensitive digital recorders and video equipment, the researchers (protip: don’t call them “ghost hunters”!) attempt to zero in on sights and sounds that are both literally and metaphorically “on other wavelengths.”

“Of all the sites we’ve investigated, the Pine Box building has one of the highest concentrations of EVPs, or Electronic Voice Phenomena,” said Raven Corvus, case manager and researcher with the White Noise team. “It was really exciting.”

The bar’s resident spirits may be dead, but it seems they’re still burdened by an unshakeable Weltschmertz (or is it ennui?).

“On the third floor, near the window, we asked, ‘Are you happy here?’ and we could distinctly hear a woman or a little girl’s voice saying ‘No,’” Corvus reports. “We all heard it—and we didn’t even need equipment to detect the sound, which is really rare.”

In early 2011, when the space was still occupied by the previous bar, Chapel, the team once spent the night in the building and also heard a female voice during that investigation. After conducting a full review of the audio and video footage collected late last week at The Pine Box, the team hopes to return to the site and attempt to duplicate their findings.

“We’re not like ghost hunters, who are basically just thrill seekers,” said Corvus. “We’re trying to prove or disprove theories based on scientific methods. Paranormal research is still considered a pseudo-science, but by conducting evidence-based research, our goal is to help the field to be taken seriously as a ‘hard’ science.”

The White Noise team has also investigated Barboza/Neumos and All Pilgrim’s Church on Capitol Hill. At Barboza, one researcher heard a sigh, and possibly saw a beer bottle move. At the church, one member of the team saw an unexplained shadow.

Unlike Bill Murray’s team from Ghostbusters, the White Noise researchers aren’t trying to make the ghosts leave. “They’re there for a reason. They’re not usually harmful — we’re just trying to find what they are,” Corvus said.

Although there is no guarantee that Bruce Lee will be among the otherworldly patrons, The Pine Box is celebrating the martial artist’s legacy Monday night, which also marks the anniversary of his death. On the bar patio, where Steve McQueen was famously pictured carrying Lee’s coffin, the bar will project a marathon of Bruce Lee films, including The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, and The Chinese Connection. Jiffy Pop popcorn will be served, along with specialty drinks such as the Bruce Lychee and the One Inch Punch. More information on Bruce Lee Day is here.

All ghosts with proper I.D. are welcome to attend.  

  • Good news in the CD. The state liquor board ruled that Central Cinema can continue to serve booze AND let minors inside.
  • Top Chef at Madison’s Central Co-op?
  • Canon is not the best new bar in the world.
  • You can sit outside at Terra Plata now.
  • Cafe Presse: “Sheeps milk bleu cheese from Ferme Kukulu with local figs and walnut marinated in honey.”

    Would you like to sit outside at Ba Ba?

  • The Stranger investigates the variety of torta available in the 2-block-radius.
  • Cafe Presse has posted a new summer menu — and yummy pictures of the new items.
  • “The bartender that day was Stefan; he’s been my bartender ever since. I go there because everyone knows my name and I drink whatever Der Teufel puts in front of me. Which, during Harry Potter pub crawls, gets really [fucking], embarrassing.”
  • Meanwhile, Seattle Weekly describes brunch at Linda’s: “Giddy up, hicksters! Downtown takes on down home with “Western” fare served in portions plentiful enough to make you pop a button.”
  • CHS got caffeinated last week. Here is what we learned on a visit to the new Cherry Street Coffee at 12 and Jeff. We also told you about the new cold press coffee available on draft at Analog Coffee.
  • Oh, hey, Volunteer Park Cafe is on the YouTube. I’ll watch that.


  • Goodbye TCS2, you will be missed.

    (Image: Thai Curry Simple 2)


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