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