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Following red tape, minimum wage battles, Good Citizen opens on E Olive Way


(Image: Good Citizen via Twitter)

After two years of battling red tape — and the city’s move to a $15 minimum wage — Andrew Friedman quietly opened his Good Citizen bar Friday night.

“It’s designed to look like someone’s house… really comfortable and nice,” Friedman told CHS about the transformation of the former E Olive Way coffee shop a year ago as he made plans for a March 2014 debut for the bar. Friedman took over the space in 2013. Word back then was the bar was lined up for a summer 2013 debut.

The intervening two years have been busy for Friedman. While he dealt with delays with local government over permits and inspections of his project, Friedman and his 15th Ave E bar Liberty also took on city leaders in the fight against a $15 minimum in Seattle. During the time, Friedman also lost his right-hand man as Liberty co-owner Keith Waldbauer left to work on a book and his consulting business. Finally this January, CHS could include Good Citizen in on our annual New Year’s list of the Capitol Hill bars and restaurants to look forward to.

UPDATE 3/5/2015: What does “open” even mean, anyhow? Engaging in some retroactive ass covering, CHS can report that Good Citizen will be open for good “within the next couple weeks” and will start “coffee only” before opening at night for drinky drinks. So sayeth Friedman in a meeting with 15th Ave E business owners Wednesday night that CHS was lucky enough to attend. Friedman said it was cool to share the update so here you go.

S3Z_IU6MFriedman opened Liberty in spring of 2006 on 15th Ave E. Liberty’s most notable features at the time for many were Friedman’s decision to serve sushi as his bar food staple and a trademark on a revolving cast of interesting bartenders. Liberty expanded its hours into daylight and opened every morning as a coffee shop. Friedman’s place in Pacific Northwest cocktail culture also began to grow as he kept the bar on the forefront of the craft cocktail movement. Friedman is also proud that his bar is open every single day of the year.

We’ll have to see if a similar path awaits Good Citizen. Waldbauer told CHS at one point he envisioned a small family of Liberty neighborhood bars across Capitol Hill. At this rate, you might have a bit of a wait until Friedman opens his new joint on your street.

Hey look! Good citizen!

A photo posted by Brandon Paul Weaver (@brandonpaulweaver) on

Good Citizen is located at 1720 E Olive Way. Keep track of its Facebook page for updates on hours, etc.

Thanks, tipster, for the pictures!

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39 thoughts on “Following red tape, minimum wage battles, Good Citizen opens on E Olive Way

    • Oh. Apparently you can’t be a good citizen if you disagree with city law. Seattle is so inclusive! We are soooooooo smart!!!!!!!

      • The point, genius, is that Friedman cried to anyone that would listen that he was going to lay people off, that the economy would crash etc. if $15 min. wage passed. Then he hires more people. He’s either a Stupid Citizen or a Lying Citizen.

      • The wage isn’t $15, it’s $10, so yeah. When it’s $18 in 9 years we’ll see how it effects him, but right now you can’t fairly assess his statements.

        The $15 activist trolls in here seem a bit hypocritical. I get disagreeing with Friedmans alarmist opposition, but to say you’re going to boycott a restaurant because it doesn’t pay a living wage if $15, should mean you boycott every restaurant in Seattle, and every bookstore, record store, and pretty much every retailer, since none of them pay every employee $15 per hour

  1. Does anyone else see the irony in a guy who fought against raising the minimum wage opening a bar call “Good Citizen”?

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  3. I cannot find it in myself to support a bar owner who doesn’t want to pay his employees a livable wage. He doesn’t seem to understand the concept of what a family style bar is. He should stop billing himself as that guy.

    • I won’t support his businesses either. If you can’t pay your employees a livable wage (or don’t want to) I would argue that you don’t have a viable business. I don’t believe the responsibility for a living wage should be passed on to the customers through tipping or tax payers by funding food stamps.

    • Have you been supporting all of the existing bars and restaurants that aren’t paying the supposed magic “living wage” of $15/hour?

      • Paying all employees $15 an hour is not the point. Friedman actively and publicly opposed raising the minimum wage. While pretty much no restaurants or bars pay all their employees $15 an hour, at least they didn’t make themselves the poster child against it. These days the most powerful vote many of us have is our spending dollars. He made the choice to be in this debate and now it may cost him.

      • “Paying all employees $15 an hour is not the point.”

        So why exactly was the law passed?

        This is exactly one the core of the criticisms of modern slacktivism: people will only act when it’s not inconvenient.

        You’re right that it would be a huge vote of protest not to support businesses that take a stand against paying a living wage, but why would you support all of the other businesses who were already failing to fairly pay their employees, some of whom were probably smart enough not to speak publicly about their concerns or criticisms of the increase? Most people probably wouldn’t follow through on that large of a protest because it would be extremely inconvenient.

    • Totally specious arguments: Consumer have no idea what business owners are paying their employees. However, if they’ve actively protested/lobbied against it, then it becomes clear where they stand (even with the compromises set forth in the final law). Personally staying away from those business seems like the most responsible, realistic consumer choice. Boycotting all business that doesn’t currently pay employees X amount of money is impossible and an easy troll argument.

  4. Tipped workers do not want the minimum wage increase. Net income will drop as tips will decrease since prices will rise. The $15 minimum wage is middle class warfare.

  5. I would like to remind Mr. Friedman that my refusal to patronize his businesses extends to my many friends who have walked by the new place and wondered aloud what it’s going to be. When I tell them a bar run by a business owner who was not in support of the $15 minimum wage, every one of them has replied something to the effect of, “Well, I’ll never go there.” And then they tell their friends, and they tell their friends…

      • Almost every restaurant and bar in the city who, until forced, weren’t paying this so-called living wage of $15/hour to their staff. Same with almost every retail chain.

      • There’s a difference between paying a low min. wage b/c it was the law at a time and ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNING against raising that wage when new legislation was proposed. As consumers we have the right to decide where to spend our money. I will not spend my money in any business that is owned by someone who actively campaigned against the new min. wage.

      • Since we’re all really comfortable with dictating salaries and wages for businesses we don’t own or are privy to their finances, shouldn’t we be shaming and boycotting every business that has, for years, refused to pay its employees a living wage? Or alternately, celebrating and supporting the few that are/were?

        Assuming it’s the wages and worker’s rights people are actually interested in, not just limited numbers of easily visible targets that will likely have little impact on one’s day-to-day consumerism.

      • I don’t think you quite understand the restaurant industry. It’s lobbying group actively opposed $15, and many restaurant owners were involved. Over 100 owners involved with opposing the minimum wage were involved behind the scenes and if you eat out in Seattle you support many of these owners. More vocal than Andrew was Tom Douglass, are you boycotting him too? And poquitos owners, Linda Derschang and her 5 places, etc, etc. Hope you’re boycotting all of them so you’re not just a hypocritical internet troll.

      • Yes, I am boycotting any and all business owners once I know they actively campaigned against paying their employees a living wage. It’s funny how these business owners have plenty of money to open several businesses yet not enough to pay living wage. Priorities I guess.

  6. I’ll go there and happily support them. Great folks working up at Liberty and I trust we’ll find the same down here. As someone who worked for years in bars, I’ve struggled with understanding the $15/hour in bars framework. I just don’t see it working out well for bar employees. Time will tell. And I’m happy to see this place finally opening its doors.

  7. I think he’s a dik for *actively working* to keep wages low. Use your brain and figure a way to make it work, be happy for the employees. I wonder what he’s paying himself while working to keep his employees in the lower class.

  8. Thanks for the heads up on the owner’s politics. I, too, boycott all businesses that opposed the $15 minimum wage. On the subject of tipping, it should go the way of the dinosaur. I do work in the service industry and feel that my time should be fairly compensated BY MY EMPLOYER not in some weird holdover custom that seems more at home in the Dowton Abbey world of servants and masters.

    • I’ve never worked in a tipping-based business so I don’t know it from that point of view. I would wonder on the point of making tipping go the way of the dinosaur (and I assume you don’t mean that tips should evolve into birds), could there be an actual plan to change the perception of a tipping percentage norm? Meaning if employers gradually paid more (and perhaps that would be built into the basic menu prices), and tipping existed but the norm was smaller? Meaning so the “burden” of paying its employees was more on the restaurant and its business model wasn’t dependent on tipping as much. I guess fast food chains are an example of this.

      • In Europe, the norm is for the restaurant to assess a “service charge,” which is usually built into the menu prices. A tip is not necessary, but most of the time customers leave a small, token amount as a thank-you to the server, who in general earns a higher wage than in the USA. In some ways, this is a better system, but the counter-argument is that servers over there do not have as much of an incentive to provide good service, because they don’t receive a 15-20% tip no matter what they do.

      • Tips are not needed to provide incentive. Losing your job should be incentive enough, as it is with every other job out there.

  9. I walked by around 6:30 PM yesterday (Saturday). The doors were locked and it was dark inside.

    Their website does not load, and the Facebook page hasn’t been updated since late last year. It contains no opening information, hours, prices, or menu.

    Is this business actually operational or not?

  10. “I used to work at McDonald’s making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? “Hey if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.”

    ― Chris Rock

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