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With rising worries about Seattle’s LGBTQ venues, R Place’s search for a new home continues

(Image: Jacob Berrier)

Just as Seattle nears a real reopening from the COVID-19 crisis, the city seems to be catching on that some of the important elements of its most at risk communities might not make it.

“Even as venues are allowed to open at limited capacity, some are on their last legs, and nightlife regulars wonder if Seattle’s LGBTQ+ nightlife scene will ever be the same,” a feature this week in the Seattle Times reads.

It is too late for R Place’s longtime E Pine home. The gay dance club and bar moved out in recent weeks after losing its lease in the midst of months of closure from the COVID-19 lockdowns. Many of the venue’s fans have only a distant memory of a pre-pandemic visit to mark their last time inside the old auto row building home for more than 30 years.

The images of the emptied club show some of the familiar walls and views for patrons. Other elements might be unrecognizable without a crowd of clubgoers and go-go dancers.

(Image: Jacob Berrier)

(Image: Jacob Berrier)

(Image: Jacob Berrier)

(Image: Jacob Berrier)

(Image: Jacob Berrier)

Meanwhile, it isn’t all black and white melancholy for LGBTQ venues on the Hill. Gay bar Union has reopened in its new home after a classic Capitol Hill four-block move near Broadway. And E Madison’s Pony is hard at work overhauling its popular patio after a $250,000 deal with the city to make way for a coming bus transit project on the busy street. But larger challenges await Neighbours as it is hopes to recover from months of closure and break-ins and Pike/Pine lesbian bar the Wildrose faces an uphill battle while being buoyed by a community fundraising campaign.

R Place’s Richard Elander and Steve Timmons are also hoping for the neon lights to be turned on again and are continuing a search for a new home for R Place. Finding something to recreate R Place’s multi-story experience is probably impossible and finding a new place for R Place on the Hill might be even harder.

R Place ownership says with the old building now fully emptied, their search continues:

Still in the searching hunting process.
It’s got to be the right space.
Keeping all our options open in our search at this time!
R Place

Good luck, and stay in touch, R Place. The city needs you.


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CHqueer
CHqueer
25 days ago

I hope R Place finds a place on Capitol Hill. Rebar too. How about the Everyday Music Spaces or the building that The Stranger used to occupy or the space Velocity used to occupy or the old Value Village? It is sad to see so many cultural institutions disappear. Maybe they could co-lease a space and save money on the buildout? Maybe a Capitol Hill landowner that cares about the community could help make it happen rather than let these spaces sit vacant for years. The city leadership (or lack there of) has neglected the gay community and the arts community for years. It is time that they step up.

Hillery
Hillery
25 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

There are a couple of closed restaurant/bar businesses on 11th Ave but I am not sure what their requirements are (ie do they need two floors, how much space etc). Would be near some other gay bars at least.

CHqueer
CHqueer
25 days ago
Reply to  Hillery

Barca could be a good space

devc
devc
21 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

not a bad idea. grims/the woods too. Not that I want them run out but not sure if they are still going strong. That’s an amazing space and I would love for it to be used for this purpose.

Used2BCH
Used2BCH
24 days ago

They should start moving to White Center or other places in South Seattle.

trailrunnr
trailrunnr
24 days ago

The photo above of R Place’s bleak front door says it all: between the bar owner and the building owner, they failed to keep the place up and it deteriorated over the years, so it’s no surprise it closed, pandemic or no. CC’s is another place that feels more like an unfinished basement than a nice place to gather. Gay bar owners appear loath to put any money back into their spaces to make them comfortable and welcoming. Union is an exception; I wish them luck with their new space, it’s pretty nice.

Jim98122x
Jim98122x
23 days ago
Reply to  trailrunnr

I was told by someone who knows the owners of the bar, the owner of the property (landlord) passed away. The family declined to renew the lease.