Capitol Hill gay bar Union has found a new home in the neighborhood and it won’t even have to change its name.
“I hope that the community that we service and that has adopted us as a second home joins in the excitement of our ability to relocate and reopen,” Union partner Greg Scheaffer tells CHS about the planned move.
Union, born two years ago in the old Zoe restaurant space at 14th and Union, will be moving about four blocks west to take over the former Sizzle Pie space — “right in the heart of the Capitol Hill gayborhood,” Scheaffer says at 1009 E Union on the backside of Pike/Pine.
The move comes as Union has marked its third summer on Capitol Hill with an effort to maintain its comfortable LGBTQ+ vibe and “a moment to escape everything else” while also providing a safe environment for its customers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“It has been challenging to navigate the state’s mandates,” Scheaffer says. “But the easy part is the compliance.”
Stabilizing the business through the restrictions has been the bigger challenge. “10 PM is the new 2 AM — you lose a lot of opportunity,” Scheaffer said.
Scheaffer and Hill gay bar legends Nathan Benedict, Steve Nyman — former owners of Inside Passage and Thumper’s — worked on securing a long-term deal after taking over the previous lease and opening the bar at 14th and Union in the summer of 2018. But Scheaffer said the negotiations fell through and the team started looking for alternatives. The 1009 E Union location was something they had looked at before choosing the former Zoe building but Portland-born rock and roll pizza chain Sizzle Pie snapped it up. In August 2019, the Portland pizza folks shut the Seattle outpost down.
Now, Union is getting ready for a winter 2021 move-in.
The new Union will try to achieve the same comfortable feel of the original in a space that also provides features appropriate to the COVID — and hopefully post-COVID — era with more room to spread out and a larger patio.
“We are actively trying to balance planning the current regulations with the future potential business,” Schaeffer said.
Scheaffer says the new location is also central — but not too central — “a little to the side of the main circus.”
But, mostly, the move is about making a new home for Union and the communities Schaeffer says have made it their own.
“We needed to find a location that was going to be a long-term home,” Schaeffer said.
Union is open at its current location until September 20th with the new spot planned to open in early 2021. You can learn more at unionseattle.com.
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