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Portland-based Bishops bringing free beer barbershop to 12th and Pike


A Portland-born barbershop is coming to Capitol Hill along with everything you might expect from its Hawthorne District roots: punk style, trendy playlists, and lots of art on the walls.

If Bishops Barbershop sounds reminiscent of another famous neighborhood barbershop, there is a good reason why. Owner Leo Rivera was inspired to enter the hair business after watching Rudy’s Barbershop take off in Seattle. When he couldn’t convince the owners to let him expand to Portland, Rivera said he decided to do it himself.

“I didn’t know anything about hair,” he said. “I just wanted to be my own boss by 30.”

Nonetheless, Rivera was smart enough to know that offering a complimentary beer with a cut would probably go over well.

Bishops owner Leo Rivera.

Bishops owner Leo Rivera

Rivera plans to open the 16th Bishops by May inside a space at 12th and Pike’s recently completed Beryl Apartments building. Bishops Capitol Hill will have ten chairs staffed by employees paid by a combination of hourly wages and commissions. The shop will also offer shampoos, colorings, and hot towel shaves.

Rivera was born and raised in Seattle, and hung out on Capitol Hill when Arnold’s Video Arcade on Broadway was his main draw to the neighborhood. Now he says it’s the longhaired hipster masses.

“It’s the most densely populated area,” Rivera said. “It’s where every Seattle trendy shop starts, where the people who create the buzz are.”

Bishops opened its first location outside Portland in 2013 with a shop in downtown Seattle. Rivera is also opening a location in West Seattle, which he said he intended to do last year but the project was held up in permitting backlogs.

It won’t be Rivera’s first shot at opening a business on Capitol Hill. In the late ’90s Rivera said he came back to Seattle to help Sub Pop co-founder Bruce Pavitt open a four-story nightclub in Pike/Pine. Ultimately the club didn’t pan out. A beery barbershop is probably a better bet anyway.

Plans are in also the works for Bishops to one day offer its very own beer through a partnership with Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing. Given the brewery’s shared parent company with Redhook Ale Brewing, a Bishops brew may even be on tap when Redhook opens on Capitol Hill this fall.

Bishops won’t be the only Portland import joining Pike/Pine this year. Hipster pizza joint Sizzle Pie is readying to open on E Union in the former home of Po Dog and Auto Battery.

In addition to its booming food and drink economy, beauty and style concerns continue to do well with two Rudy’s in the neighborhood, locals like CHS advertiser Red Chair Salon on 15th Ave E, Kismet and Hardware on Broadway, or Emerson SalonZero Zero, Bowie Salon, and the two different BANG salons in Pike/Pine. A few years back, we looked at the business of hair on Capitol Hill with visits to AcmeAria, and Raven.

Meanwhile, Pike/Pine also just added a new barbershop as Lower Queen Anne ex-pat The Scotch Pine moved in at the Chophouse Row.

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5 thoughts on “Portland-based Bishops bringing free beer barbershop to 12th and Pike

  1. When we were opening BANG BARBER we were told by liquor control that it was absolutely illegal to give away beer or liquor of any kind in Washington. I’m curious how other shops like Bishops navigate around that law. I’ll follow up with liquor control in case I was given wrong info but does anyone know if it’s legal to give away beer?

  2. On their own website the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board lists a permit (Class 16) that seems to cover businesses like this. Doesn’t say how long they’ve offered this sort of permit, but must have been for a while because I know many spas that give champagne and have for a while. Sounds like you should have consulted an attorney and not a bureaucrat, who technically shouldn’t have been advising you on that any way.