If you are looking for the heart of Capitol Hill, you might want to follow Laughing Buddha. After 20 years on Broadway, the tattoo and body piercing studio is moving into a new home this summer closer to Pike/Pine.
“The area was the epicenter,” Laughing Buddha owner Christy Brooker says of the shop’s longtime home on the north end of Broadway. “Over time, we follow where Capitol Hill moves.
CHS talked to Brooker in 2016 after she took over Laughing Buddha and celebrated the studio’s 20 years of business on Capitol Hill. Her next big move will take Laughing Buddha into the Seattle Central-owned South Annex/International Programs building at Pine and Broadway into a new space designed by 15th Ave E-headquartered Board and Vellum.
The new building, meanwhile, is being eyed by Seattle Central for possible redevelopment — Brooker says she expects any new owners or projects will recognize Laughing Buddha as “one of the staples of Capitol Hill” and include the studio in the plans.
Shooting for a mid-July opening in the new space, Brooker said the new Buddha will give the business a revamped presence in the neighborhood. “We wanted a little more visibility,” Brooker said. But don’t expect a tattoo show when you walk by. Laughing Buddha is happy to be taking advantage of the space’s previous life as a dentist office. Perhaps a good sign for what might come next after the wave of minute clinics opening along Broadway, Brooker tells CHS plumbing can be one of the biggest costs for creating a new tattoo space so the the exam room setups complete with sinks and privacy are ideal for a tattoo and piercing studio.
When it opens, expect the new Buddha to have a cleaner, more modern look with a “big, beautiful” lobby space and a custom display for the growing custom jewelry business. Other than the new digs, Brooker said she’ll have the same crew on hand and her same Laughing Buddha philosophy — even moving to the edge of the Hill’s nightlife epicenter.
“In my opinion, it seems to stem from those primal roots,” Brooker tells CHS. “The only coming of age we really have is turning 21 and going to a bar.” Her customers “want more of a ritual,” Brooker says.
“We want to reclaim bodies — record a big change, markers of time.”
Laughing Buddha is planned to open in its new space at 1534 Broadway in July. You can learn more at laughingbuddhatattoo.com.