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A concept large enough to fill Pike/Pine’s preservation-boosted present, Capitol Hill pub Stout set to close

A crowded bar at Stout

Stout full — but not full enough (Image: Stout)

There’s no great story to why Stout, a more than 5,000-square-foot restaurant and bar smack in the middle of some of Capitol Hill and Seattle’s most expensive real estate, will shut down and close its doors after one last day of service at 11th and Pine this Friday.

“When we’re full it was great,” Paul Reder tells CHS. “We needed to be busier more often.”

Intended to be a Capitol Hill cousin to Reder’s downtown Tap House Grill, Stout opened and brought a glossier — and larger — than usual bar experience to Pike/Pine in January of 2015.

The project was the first commercial tenant of a key redevelopment of Pike/Pine’s auto row-era past. The Sunset Electric building led a wave of preservation incentive-boosted development across the neighborhood. Part of the incentive program’s intent was to preserve the street level look and feel of the old buildings including the tall ceilings and showroom-quality windows hoped to be put to new use by new ground floor restaurants and shops.


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In the middle of the new Pike/Pine where your neighbors are the alternative bi-weekly The Stranger across the street and the supposedly still coming soon Capitol Hill WeWork, Stout was the kind of concept you’d need to fill a space like that. It was so large, Stout had 15 flat screen televisions including the four large screen TVs put into formation together to create a massive gridded sports-ball viewing experience. Stout also tried to maintain a seemingly impossible to upkeep roster of beer on tap and in bottles on the menu.

“I’m really proud of what we built up there,” Reder says. “It gave people an elevated bar experience.”

But that experience didn’t necessarily make for great business. Reder says that Stout especially suffered from the lack of available workers in the city and the competition for experienced staff. “The last couple years have been the most challenging hiring environment that we’ve ever seen,” he said.

The Stout lease has been listed for sale for months but Reder says there were no takers.

One prospective new tenant CHS spoke with said his concept for the huge space was so far outside the norm that the building’s landlords balked at subjecting the floors of neighbors above to the expected crowds and noise. What was the concept? We don’t know. The business owner declined to reveal the details of his venture saying he was afraid of copycats.

For now, after Friday, the huge pub will sit empty as one of the few current commercial holes in the Pike/Pine nightlife core.

The Stout concept could live on, Reder says, but he’s not committing to anything right now.


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13 thoughts on “A concept large enough to fill Pike/Pine’s preservation-boosted present, Capitol Hill pub Stout set to close

  1. Stout had decent food and a decent (not “a seemingly impossible to upkeep roster of beer on tap and in bottles”) beer selection. But holy hell it was the worst service I’ve ever experienced on Capitol Hill – and this isn’t just once but over and over. My friends and I stopped going there because we just couldn’t handle 20 minute waits to even see a server to flag down to refill a drink, let alone the 10-15 minutes you might wait upon being seated before even being able to place a drink order or the half hour waits for what should be quick pub food.

    If the owner is surprised that people avoided his business, he just wasn’t paying attention to anything.

  2. Stout was good! Portions were good sized, and the menu well executed, service was iffy, but overall, it was worth a visit. I think the space was much too big for its own good.

  3. While I am sad to see yet another Cap Hill bar close, I have to say that I am not surprised by this. While Stout is a great space for watching sports given their many well placed TVs, their service has been pretty bad for some time now. Without fail, every time I’ve gone there, my order takes a long time to come out and the server very rarely checks up on my table. The people are nice, but the service is just lackluster at best. It is common knowledge among Cap Hillers that Stout struggles with customer service. I wish them luck in the future. FWIW, I thought the food and beer selection was good though.

  4. A bit sad to see Stout leaving, but not surprised. Good food and beer. One of the few restaurant/bars where you could see the outside world and enjoy natural light during the summer while dining. When they first opened, the service was good and a favorite place to go, but eventually the service became a deterrent for wanting to return. I wouldn’t say the staff was “under experienced” and the reason for lengthy service, they were understaffed. Many evenings of one person behind the bar and another overwhelmed person waiting on tables. Other than behind the bar, it was rare to see the same staff on repeat visits. Just assumed Stout was a stepping stone to something better. Sorry, but management had their part in the end of Stout. I will miss the better days of Stout.

  5. these type of big sports bar-like venues don’t survive that well on CapHill. It’s just not the scene here to keep such a large space open for business long. Bill’s Off Broadway is next up.

  6. I’ll miss this place because they had a great happy hour, those flatbreads were a steal. Their cocktails were not of high enough caliber to justify the price even at happy hour. Service was usually pretty slow and that’s how I remember it always being. Just last week friends and I were debating how they could afford that space considering how empty it always seemed. I assumed they survived from bland corporate parties in the anteroom. As a friend said, it felt like it was hard to believe it wasn’t a chain.

  7. Just to add on to what everyone else is saying, the writing was on the wall for this. They claim they needed to be more busy, but the service was absolutely horrible there. Busy and it would have completely fallen apart.

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