We’re not the Central District News but the area around 23rd and Union has been keeping CHS busy to start 2020. Now comes word that neighborhood vegetarian-friendly dive bar The Neighbor Lady is losing its lease and has only a few more months at its location.
Owner Stephan Mollmann confirmed the end of March closure this week and said he and Tom Vivian are already on the hunt for a nearby new home for the eight-year-old bar.
“We’re just going to pack everything up and mothball it,” Mollmann said.
The Neighbor Lady’s E Union home since it debuted in early 2012 is part of the Uncle Ike’s complex at 23rd and Union. The two-story building with the bar on the street level and office space above has been held by a company registered to Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg’s spouse since its purchase in late 2012 for just over $1 million.
Mollmann declined to comment on the decision around the Neighbor Lady’s lost lease and Eisenberg did not respond to our inquiry.
The marijuana entrepreneur has been busy in recent months with construction of his coming “Capitol Hill West” Uncle Ike’s on E Olive Way and planned acquisition of a Lake City Way pot shop. This fall, a business manager for the prolific investor’s pot business registered a new company with Eisenberg listed as the sole director. Uncle Ike’s Liquor, LLC was formed in September.
Whatever Ike’s has planned, Mollmann and Vivian say they hope the new Neighbor Lady won’t move far from its roots.
The Twilight Exit founder opened the Lady in 2012 taking over the space formerly home to Thompson’s Point of View, a neighborhood institution that served southern soul food and good times before it was hit by financial difficulties in the wake of the death of the legendary Carl Thompson, Jr. who died unexpectedly at age 51 in 2010. Mollmann said at the time the new bar spot would specialize in vegetarian comfort food and was inspired by a favorite Amsterdam bar.
The forced move isn’t the first time a Mollmann venue is facing displacement. The original Twilight Exit moved from E Madison to E Cherry in 2008. Today, a six-story apartment building stands at the original site across from the 22nd/Madison Safeway. Development will also follow the Twilight to its E Cherry home. In late 2018, CHS reported that Capitol Hill developer Liz Dunn is planning a four-story, mixed-use building for the property in a project the Capitol Hill developer said she expected wouldn’t be under construction for years. Mollmann has also since taken over a bar in Hillman City — no sign of development there so far.
With all the development around 23rd and Union, the Neighbor Lady crew might have a few options for staying close by. Mollmann said he looked at the space being made available next to the incoming PCC in the East Union building but it’s not large enough for the “community space” he wants the Neighbor Lady to be. More promising might be a new berth inside the Midtown: Public Square project across the street, also from developer Lake Union Partners. A rebirth there would mean waiting at least a year to open given the construction schedule.
Despite the challenges, Mollmann said he feels like the neighborhood will be there to help make a new home for the bar.
“We have a lot of support,” Mollmann said.
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