Post navigation

Prev: (12/02/19) | Next: (12/03/19)

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.


$5/MONTH? SUBSCRIBE AND SUPPORT LOCAL NEWS: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.


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.


$5/MONTH? SUBSCRIBE AND SUPPORT LOCAL NEWS: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.


Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

17 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
rankler
rankler
11 months ago

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.

James in the CD
James in the CD
11 months ago

Bland boring big place. Basically like Optimism and others like that. They’re not hip. Rather go to niche divier places…

Cosmic Crisp
Cosmic Crisp
11 months ago

Your comments are always so helpful and positive, and a great contribution to this blog. Thanks for taking the time.

rankler
rankler
11 months ago
Reply to  Cosmic Crisp

Are you trying to say that Stout didn’t suck? Because it sucked.

CD Balooka
CD Balooka
11 months ago

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.

John Whittier Treat
John Whittier Treat
11 months ago

Good riddance. Poor food, terrible service.

caphillgirl
caphillgirl
11 months ago

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.

Englemann
Englemann
11 months ago

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.

CapHillGay
CapHillGay
11 months ago

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.

bandit
bandit
11 months ago
Reply to  CapHillGay

Noooo! Bills should be a legacy business.

Also, Bills always seems busy enough. What makes you think they’re next up?

CapHillGay
CapHillGay
11 months ago
Reply to  bandit

Just from my perspective, every time i’ve walked by Bill’s it’s pretty much always dead. The only time it appears they’re having good business is during football games, which isn’t sustainable business. But thats just from my perspective, so who knows, maybe they’re doing fine.

Brewer
Brewer
11 months ago
Reply to  CapHillGay

Bills has been on the hill for ~40 years and is doing just fine, “CapHill” (blech) Gay.

CapHillGay
CapHillGay
11 months ago
Reply to  Brewer

Ok, boomer

Brewer
Brewer
11 months ago

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.

Brian
Brian
11 months ago

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.

Bob Ross
Bob Ross
11 months ago

Stout was a good spot for a cold minute. They screwed that up though. First by playing crappy music and not the volumes to big games. Next elimination of the NBA package that kept people in there daily. Next by hiring a bunch of idiots to run the place. Before all this though, it was a cool spot.

Kayla
Kayla
8 months ago

Large size would need some type of activation that required large crowds. 5k square feet is too large for restaurant in a city like Seattle. Some type of activation would be nice for that part of Capitol. Owner of the building doesn’t understand the neighborhood, it’ll be a furniture store in no time. If it’s not vacant forever. With economics looking like they are for the hospitality industry it won’t be anything cool. You’ve got out of state REITs to thank for that.