The Capitol Hill Block Party-worthy bar bringing together two first families of Seattle independent music will be called Life on Mars, a nod to David Bowie, of course. But also to an intergalactic sense of belonging.
“Also just love the notion that we might not be alone out here,” Leigh Sims says of the name of the new venue set to open this spring at Pike and Harvard.
Sims and Steven Severin represent the Neumos side of Seattle rock royalty behind the project. Seattle’s king and queen of independent radio, Amy and John Richards –John in the Morning of KEXP — round out the new royal family. The bar will pull off the ultimate DJ mix: vinyl with cocktails, beer, and a plant-based menu.
“We still love the experience of holding an album, flipping a record, and gathering in a record shop,” the Life on Mars announcement reads. “The bar is a way to mix music and gathering friends that’s not than a live venue or a dj booth — and with drinking.”
John probably designed this part. Life on Mars will have a gigantic record wall with thousands of records. “It’s also a super excuse to get more vinyl,” the announcement reads.
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“We want people to come in and grab a record for a spin during happy hours, and other hours, we’ll be playing good music, really good music.”
CHS first reported in July on the project set to restore nightlife to the Pike/Pine corner where bars and clubs had long stood until recent mixed-use redevelopment. The project was moving forward under another name but Sims says the name “evolved over time.”
UPDATE: If the recipe for Life on Mars might feel familiar, it’s true that Capitol Hill already has a vinyl bar. Revolver opened on E Olive Way in 2014.
Described as “a bar for people who love music and good drinks,” Life on Mars is hoped “to create a relaxed bar with good music, deep comfy booths, a gigantic wall of vinyl, local beers, unfussy cocktails and a plant-based menu.”
Life On Mars will focus on “classic cocktails and a few simplicity-done-well drinks like the Original Line Up with bourbon, grapefruit juice and maple, or Death by Juniper: dry gin and juniper berries, fresh citrus and rosemary. Craft beer and wines will have an emphasis on local brands.”
The food menu will be developed by chef Joe Ball, recently of Flying Apron and will feature items including “waffle sliders bursting with chicken-fried artichokes, barbeque pulled-jackfruit, or coconut bacon.”
BIG NEWS! I'm opening a bar! It's called Life on Mars and we open on the corner of Pike & Harvard in May. I've partnered with my partner Amy as well as Steven Severin of Neumos fame and Leigh Sims of Seattle fame. Music, Vinyl, Plant-Based Menu. Its been years in the making.
— John Richards (@loserboy) February 25, 2019
Amy and John Richards are vegan and everything on the Life On Mars menu will be plant-based including a caribbean-style Jerk burger with “smoky, hot Scotch bonnet pepper blend, with piled with Pickapeppa, southern potato salad and slaw,” along with “grilled local vegetables,” and salads “for when you want greens with that glass of whisky.”
Designed by Mike Skidmore at Skidmore Jannette to evoke the late 70s — “an incomparable era in vinyl and music” — with a blend of “old and new,” Life on Mars will have “cushy deep booths, vinyl records, and turntables, and a wide U-shaped bar, along with “huge windows that connect the bar to the street and can open wide in summer to let the sun in.”
The building from developers Tyler Carr and Kelten Johnson hosts a huge mural and the new bar will join a block now home to the Redhook Brewlab and Salt and Straw’s Capitol Hill outpost. Chef Shota Nakajima will also bring his deep-fried skewer joint Taku to the block later this year.
In addition to food and drink, the Life on Mars menu will also include a rotating selection of records for sale and you can expect events like Record Store Day and parties for “good causes and non-profits” to frequently fill the space along with “some special guests pulling records and listening parties.”
Life on Mars is planned to open in “late spring” at 722 E Pike. You can learn more at lifeonmarsseattle.com.