Post navigation

Prev: (02/01/21) | Next: (02/02/21)

Capitol Hill gay club R Place loses lease and begins search for new home

(Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill gay club R Place has lost its lease and is on the hunt for a new location:

This pandemic has been tough on ALL of us. R Place has been a staple in the gay community for over 35 years. It was our intention to reopen. However, due to unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, it is with the heaviest of hearts that we are unable to renew the lease at our current location. We are grateful to you all for your years of patronage at 619 E Pine St. Many memories were made here!

The club’s ownership says the club will live on and that a search for a new home is underway where R Place “will continue to entertain you with our amazing drag shows, awesome dancers and DJs who packed the dance floor.”

The club’s announcement comes after months of closure during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as Seattle’s restaurants are able to again reopen for indoor dining but only at 25% capacity while the spread of the virus remains at dangerous levels. Clubs and bars like R Place remain shuttered.

The pandemic has been brutal for small businesses and especially challenging for the neighborhood’s remaining gay bars and clubs. In December, CHS reported on break-ins and squatting that left Broadway’s Neighbours trashed and in need of thousands in repairs. It hasn’t been all bad news for the neighborhood’s gay bars. Union is working on a classic Capitol Hill four-block move with plans to reopen later this year. Meanwhile, The Cuff joined the Queer/Bar family to begin 2020.

While landlords have worked on lease and rent issues with many tenants, other venues are up against the prospect of forging new contracts during the pandemic. R Place’s neighbor Suika also lost its lease dealing with a separate family estate landlord last year.

R Place’s E Pine at Boylston home has been owned by the Thomas Kramer family for decades. The property is not currently publicly listed for sale and there are no indications of any permitting activity related to planned development.

The building dates to Capitol Hill’s auto row and is said to have been a Ford Model T showroom complete with a car elevator whose remnants can still be seen inside the four-story structure.

CHS reviewed the history of the club in 2014 as R Place marked 30 years on the Hill. It first opened on E Pike where it was a sports bar tavern with pool tables, only selling beer and wine.

The club is owned by Richard Elander and Steve Timmons who have been with R Place from its roots in the 1990s. UPDATE: Ownership declined to comment beyond their announcement and to corroborate the details of our report.

It’s not clear what R Place’s final day of business was on E Pine.


DID YOU FIND THIS ARTICLE USEFUL?
Give CHS a buck and support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. 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

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
15 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Terry L Woods
Terry L Woods
5 months ago

I spent many weekend nights partying there with my friend Arich from 2009-2010. I hope you do find a place to relocate close by.

CHqueer
CHqueer
5 months ago

The city needs to step up for the gay community and support small businesses and cultural institutions that have been devastated by covid, riots and vandalism.

eric1972sea
5 months ago

Used to hit heR-Place every weekend when I was younger. I had always assumed the bats owners owned the building too since they lived in the apartment above the bar at one time. I wonder if the owners just stopped being willing to work with their longtime tenant to keep them as a tenant? Slowly our old watering holes are drying up, very sad.

Moving On
Moving On
5 months ago

Last rites for the gayborhood. Call the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, we all know Durkan’s too busy giving away Cal Anderson to activists who have never lived here.

See you all in the South End.

TrustButVerify
TrustButVerify
5 months ago

Tenants don’t have to pay rent right now because of the eviction moratorium. The only move landlords have is not renewing a lease that’s up during the pandemic.

With no tenants, they can renegotiate property tax bills with the county.

Right now they pay property taxes and utilities for businesses not paying rent. So they have to do this unfortunately.

They’re still stuck paying their mortgages to the banks.

CapHillGay
CapHillGay
5 months ago
Reply to  TrustButVerify

“Tenants don’t have to pay rent right now because of the eviction moratorium. The only move landlords have is not renewing a lease that’s up during the pandemic.

No, thats not how that works. Eviction moratorium *prevents you* from being evicted. Rent is still due though, if you don’t pay that rent you’re going to owe it back. And when it comes to commercial spaces, not paying your rent is not something you want to have on your record.

Bob
Bob
5 months ago

I stopped going when R Place became mostly straight girls. It stopped being a gay bar long ago.

Deedee
Deedee
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob

This makes me a little sad, honestly.

I, a straight girl (woman?), have lived a block away from R Place for five years and always thought it looked like a blast. The RuPaul watch parties particularly piqued my interest since I love the show but I have zero friends who share the interest.

I never visited out of respect for opinions like yours, but now that this location is closing, I’m really regretting that I never went.

CapHillGay
CapHillGay
5 months ago

The Gay scene and culture in Capitol Hill is being decimated with each passing day. If this keeps up without any serious small business and cultural support then there’s not going to be much of a reason for me to remain in this neighborhood.

Bob
Bob
5 months ago
Reply to  CapHillGay

Ding ding ding. Join the exodus to West Seattle/White Center.

Sojohnative
Sojohnative
5 months ago

That particular club was a fire/earthquake trap , went once in the afternoon,couldn’t imagine if there had been an emergency.

Adam
Adam
5 months ago

Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving!

Ethan
Ethan
5 months ago
Reply to  Adam

This comment makes me smile!

Phillip
Phillip
5 months ago
Reply to  Adam

Ah yes, how can we forget. And the female bouncer that remembered everyone’s face.

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  Phillip

Martine- she was awesome