Seattle 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.
Is that 35 years including the years that they were closed due to the fire there?