Cheap/free/local/outside your apartment NYE 2011 parties on Capitol Hill

CHS is being eminently practical and listing our take on Capitol Hill New Year’s Eve celebrations in order of price, from $0 on up. While there might be an honorable mention or two that are more expensive, this list’s cutoff is a ticket price over $30. It also won’t mention any that we already know are sold out. If we’ve missed one, please give us a heads up in the comments. If you know of any stealthy, inexpensive bashes that are hiding out of sight of The Stranger’s NYE 2010 party list or the all-seeing eye of Facebook, please tell us of them in the comments too. And, yes, a lot of Hill bars will be totally FREE as usual — we just tried to give special attention to the free and cheap folks planning a little 2011 effort. We like effort.

Our list not gay enough for you. Gay Seattle Scene’s NYE Party List is very, very gay. Let us know if there’s a gay and cheap event we should add here.

The Central District’s NYE party list has a few affordable good times including Central Cinema’s Footloose Dance Your Ass Off extravaganza and good times at the Bottleneck.

Want dinner? We listed a few NYE menu previews in our rundown of the Hill’s Christmas dinner roster. Add the Volunteer Park Cafe to the list — though its price wouldn’t make our cheapy cheap party cut. Also a few more ideas in comments, below.

Here’s our Happy 2011 party list:

  • The freest of all! Yes, you can see the Space Needle Fireworks from Capitol Hill.
  • Oh so many bars on the Hill/$0 – But you won’t get free paper hats and noise maker things.
  • Highline/ $0 – NYE Cakearokee: karaoke hipster-style, for free, in a vegan bar. You are encouraged to wear your finest attire for this “Fancy Schmanzy Dress Up Karaokee Night!” Hells yes, Capitol Hill. 9pm.
  • The Capitol Club/ $0 –  DJ Edis starts spinning the tracks at 9pm. Champagne Toast at Midnight & Party Favors. Doors open at 6pm, food service til 1am.
  • Garage/ $0 – DJ Killa B, midnight champagne toast included in the nonexistent cover charge (cool!). Reservations accepted for the bowling, pool playing, and sitting around and eating facilities. Doors at 7pm.
  • The Cuff/??? – How much? We don’t know. Plus, their web site thinks New Year’s Eve falls on Saturday. Party!

  • The Saint/ $0 – Colored lights, noisemakers, party hats. No special DJs or free champagne was mentioned, but hey, not cover charge! Reservations are recommended. 9pm.
  • Po Dog + Auto Battery/ $0 –

    Check out Po Dog and AUto Battery on New Years Eve for our second annual bash featuring Continential Soldiers!! A Party you WON’T want to miss. Let’s face it, if you don’t get a wiener on NYE you aren’t living.

  • Vermillion/ $5 – KBCS 91.3 NYE Party: DJs from the station will appear (and presumably play music) and visual art by Jesse Higman will already be there.  Suggested donation at door covers champagne toast and live broadcast of Space Needle fireworks, which will be a nice feature if it’s really cold out. 9pm.
  • The Lookout/ $5 – Sparkle Party: great view of the Space Needle celebratory explosions, party favors, champagne toast, heating on the patio. And, I presume, lots of sparkles. 8pm.
  • Chop Suey/ $10 – Comeback’s Xtravaganza/Paris is Burning Fantasty Fete, or “glamour, fierceness, realness, and shade”. There will be DJs, a glamour shot photo booth, and prizes for fiercest ensembles. If this has as much sparkle and voguing at the poster promised, it will be hilarious. If not, it will be sad. Requisite champagne toast included in price of admission. 9pm.
  • Comet Tavern/ $10 – New Year’s Extravaganza. This party is in the running to deserve the name extravaganza simply because there will be a number of actual live bands in attendance (along with requisite NYE DJs): Purple Rhinestones, He Whose Ox is Gored, Dead Kill, Badlands. 9pm.
  • Mercury @ Machinewerks/$10 – “Don your favorite mask for a magical evening of beauty, music, and dance.” Evening wear or “theme attire” encouraged.
  • Local Vine/ $15 – The cover charges gets you a midnight champagne toast and access to a special NYE menu that you still have to pay for separately. Hmmm, not looking so cheap after all….
  • Baltic Room/ $20 – 6th Annual Decibel Festival NYE Party: music from many people who I’m sure are Decibel famous, visuals by Killing Frenzy, photo booth, champagne toast at midnight. 9pm
  • Havana/ $20 – 4th Annual NYE Gala: featuring music by Sean Cee and Soul Uno, party favors, 500 balloons, and champagne. 8pm.
  • Century Ballroom/ $20-$75 – DJ Robb with West Coast Swing in the East Hall ($20) and live tango music from Tangabrazo in the West Hall ($30) could be conceivably called inexpensive, especially since this is a party where people will a) actually dance and b) may actually dance well. The $45 ticket for the live salsa in the ballroom or the $75 ticket that gives one access to all three dancehalls can no longer be considered inexpensive by this list’s requirements, but are receiving mention because they sound like a lot of fun. Dancing starts at 9:30pm.

New Year’s Day Chow
Along with the perennial Capitol Hill breakfast favorites Glo’s and Linda’s, Homegrown is doing an all-day (10-4pm) brunch on New Year’s Day. They say they’ll have all their “breaky regulars” (“Bacon, Egg + Beecher’s”, “Lamb Sausage, Egg + Cheese” & “The Avocado, Egg + Cheese” with homemade hot sauce) all served with a mini cup of organic oatmeal. They also mentioned something about a special NYD breakfast “sammie” that included Andouille sausage, fried egg, mustard butter, a dill pickle and raw milk jack cheese.

What’s open on Christmas Day 2010? Coffee, booze, food and grocery stores on Capitol Hill

What’s Open on Capitol Hill on Christmas Day (12/25)? Here’s the 2010 edition to add to your collection. We’ll be adding to this through the day so watch for updates or feel free to add your own notes in comments. Also remember, it’s a fantastic day to play Santa and leave a gigantic holiday tip or a nice little gift for your favorite neighborhood barista/server/checker/etc.!

12th Ave
Stumptown on 12th (near Seattle U) 8am to 4pm (Stumpy at Pine&Boylston is CLOSED)
Cafe Argento (12th and Olive) 9am to 1pm

15th Ave

Cafe Lladro (15th) 7am to noon

19th Ave

Tully’s on 19th 8am to 2pm
Fuel Coffee 8am to noon

Vivace Sidewalk Cafe 8am to 4pm (Vivace @ Brix CLOSED)
Tully’s (at Pike) 8am to 2pm

Uncle Elizabeth’s 6:30am to 7:30pm
Kiss the Sky Cafe (at Boylston) 7am to midnight
Online Coffee (14th & Pine) 9am to 3pm

Bauhaus (at Melrose) 8am to 4pm

Starbucks (Olive & Summit) 6am to 8pm
Online Coffee 9am to 3pm

Grocery Stores/ Neighborhood Wine Purveyors

12th Ave

12th and Olive Wine Co.  Noon to 4pm

15th Ave
Walgreen’s on 15th  9am to 6pm
Safeway on 15th 8am to 5pm
7/11 on 15th (and Denny) 24 hours

Broadway Market QFC (N. Broadway) 8am to 5pm (QFCs @ Broadway & Pike and 15th Ave CLOSED)
Walgreen’s on Broadway 9am to 6pm

7/11 (@ Pine) 24 hours
Safeway (Madison & 22nd) 8am to 5pm

Pine Market  9am to midnight

Olive Way
City Market 8am to 2am
Hillcrest Market (@ Summit) 9am to 2am
King of the Hill Market (near Harvard) 10am to midnight

Summit Foods (at Mercer) 8am to midnight

Bars/ Eats
11th Ave
Purr 7pm to 2am

15th Ave
The Canterbury (15th St) 10am to 2pm, Christmas Dinner service starts at noon
Chutneys Grille on the Hill (15th) 4pm to 9pm
Liberty Bar (15th) 4pm to 2am
22 Doors (15th) 2pm to 2am
Teapot Vegetarian House 4pm to 8pm

JUST ADDED: Neighbors 9pm to 4am
Mirch Masala 11am to 10pm
Jai Thai  noon to midnight
Gyro World 11am to 9pm
Galerias 11am to 10pm
Rom Mai Thai 11:30am to 10pm
Tacos Guayamas (near Pike) 10am to 10pm
La Cocina y Cantina 11am to 11:59pm
Julia’s 9am to 3pm
Pho Cyclo 10am to 10pm
Charlie’s 2pm to midnight
Teriyaki Wok 10:30am to 8pm

Pony 8pm to 2am
Madison Pub 6pm to 2am
Chop Suey 9pm to 2am
IHOP from the night before to 2pm

Majaraja (near Harvard) 11am to 2:30pm
Rosebud (near Harvard) 5pm to 2am –> may close early if not busy
Subway (Pike and Harvard) 8am to 7pm
Little Shanghai (above QFC, at Harvard) 11am to 9pm
Bimbo’s Cantina, bar only 7pm to 2am
The Lobby Bar 5pm to 2am
The Unicorn 11am to 2am –>may only be open in evening, there were conflicting Facebook posts
The Wildrose 9pm to 2am
Oasis (Pine and 11th) opens between 3pm & 5pm, closes between 9pm & 10pm
Big Mario’s Pizza 5pm to 4am

Pho Tai (@ Melrose) noon to midnight –> may close early if not busy
Baltic Room (at Melrose) 9pm to 2am
Capitol Club 9pm to 2am
R Place 2pm to 2am
Hot Mama’s Pizza (@ Boylston) 9pm to midnight
Chapel Bar (on Melrose) 5pm to midnight
The Cuff (@ 13th) 5pm to 2am
611 Supreme (near Boylston) 10pm to 2am
Linda’s 7pm to 2am

Olive Way
Living Room (near Melrose) 4pm to 2am
Crescent Lounge noon to 2am
Clever Dunne’s 2pm to 2am
Redwood (actually on Howell  & Summit, but close enough) 7pm to 2am
The Elite 4pm to 2am
Glo’s midnight through the next/Sunday morning
Captain Blacks (actually on Belmont near Olive, but close enough) 8pm to 2am

Summit Pub 4pm to 2am
Sun Liquor 7pm to 2am (they have tasty nog!)

Hill street food: The luscious allure of Leilani’s Lumpia Land

Images: Jon Polka for CHS

A few Saturday nights back, I was hiking up Pine from downtown, set on getting home before I was blown or washed away by the very exciting weather. As I passed the Baltic Room on my way to Melrose, I was lured across the street by cheery white Christmas lights and loud music with a heavy bass beat. This turned out to be the siren song of Leilani’s Lumpia Land, the street eatery that occupies the trailer parked in the lot at 1208 Pine, right next to Pho Tai. The spell was soon joined by the charms of a sturdy awning and the delicious smells of something with the unlikely sounding name of lumpia. Then I saw something almost unheard of on Capitol Hill — the price tag was one dollar. I was sold.

Lumpia are like tasty fried eggrolls that are longer, skinnier, not greasy, and ungodly good with sweet chili sauce. As I ate I talked with Jesse Pablo, the friendly owner of the newest addition to Capitol Hill’s street food collection. His family’s from Guam, where lumpia are everywhere. Wikipedia and Guampedia tell me that lumpia came to Guam from the Phillipines and that they are a variant on the Chinese eggroll. Two key differences are that Pablo wraps his lumpia with filo dough, and he’s expanded his filling options past pork and vegetables. On the night I stopped by the menu options were chicken or veggie, but Pablo says he’s going to add more options over time.

Pablo also elaborated on his business strategy. One buck for one lumpia is no accident. As Pablo says, “People are willing to try a taste for a dollar.” According to Yelp reviews and my own experience, they’re also going to be willing to buy half a dozen more at the price once they finish their first one.

Pabo had been trying to open Leilani’s in Columbia City:

I am interested in leasing the space to open and establish a small ethnic eatery that represents my culture of Guam called Leilani’s Lumpia Land, and a non-profit café that supports the local Columbia City community and other charitable causes.

Primarily, I want to focus the discussion around the non-profit café concept in mind. This café plans on serving coffee based beverages using strictly hemp milk, and a food offering that is strictly vegan and hemp based. Lastly, the café plans on retailing branded merchandise, and other hemp products for sale.

CC’s loss, is the Hill’s gain.

Jesse Pablo (Image: Jon Polka for CHS)

Pablo said that he chose this pricing because he wants to keep his food accessible to everyone, whether it be the clubbers, starving artists, or homeless folks. In the future he would like to mimic the hours of Dick’s Drive-In.

For now, Leilani’s Lumpia Land will be open 12:30 PM to 2:30 AM, seven days a week.

“It’s just me for right now, but I hope to be able to bring in some more people soon,” says Pablo. “Keep coming by, and you’ll get to watch a business develop right before your eyes.”

Interview with Cameron Larson, the artist behind Caps for Slats

I sat down with Cameron Larson during the September Blitz Art Walk as he was installing the first rows of bottle caps for the “Caps for Slats” mural on the Capitol Hill Sound Transit Art Wall Project. As the project gets a little closer to completion, here’s a look at some of the elements behind the work.

Larson says he got interested in making pictures with pixels about five years ago after creating a portrait of Marilyn Monroe with number and letter stencils.  “It unlocked a door in me that I can create an illusion in stencils instead of color. It’s not all I do, but taking a bottle cap or a piece of trash and making something out of it, it’s fascinating to me.”

I asked Larson why he picked Chris Harvey, or Slats, as the subject for the mural. “Since the proposal was to pitch a project about Capitol Hill, about things going up and going down,” Larson explained, “I though Slats was a perfect staple for Capitol Hill. He was the person nobody knows or everybody knows.”  I also asked DK Pan, the head artist for the STart Wall Project, about what he thought of the subject of the piece. “I think the idea of a memorial was really strong, especially for a public space…It’s very applicable for the time and the neighborhood.”

Larson planned the mosaic with a free online program, pictures of bottle caps, a photo of Slats that he found on the internet, and a whole lot of dedication. “The computer is a very useful tool!  I can see anyone doing this,” says Larson, “It’s not difficult per se, it’s more about patience and dedicating the insane amount of time it takes to make something that hopefully people got a kick out of.”  Throughout our conversation, Larson emphasized that the making of art isn’t restricted to artists, and that creativity is something that belongs to everyone. “Everybody should be creative at least part of their day. More so, everybody is…it’s not a brand, being an artist is just another thing people do.”

Photo: Staton DuBois

Speaking of bottle caps: if you’d like to help Larson collect material for the Caps for Slats mural, drop by Rosebud and buy something in a bottle. The fine bartenders of the Rosebud have agreed to collect their bottle caps for the next week or two and donate them to Larson’s mural-making.


Since Larson is newly graduated from the Cornish College of the Arts, this is his first public art project. “I  feel really fortunate to be able to do something like this. Any chance to show work, but especially something that’s going to be up for a year, maybe two, that’s so public…I mean, yeah!” 

While Larson said that the “Caps for Slats” mural is basically all he’s doing right now, he will have a some pieces showing at X17’s spooky art show in the 619 Building for the October 1st Thursday Pioneer Square Art Walk.

Gamma Ray Games celebrates 1st Anniversary, or, 1 year as ‘Capitol Hill’s Game Store’

With Gamma Ray Games‘ 1st Anniversary coming up on Tuesday, I sat down with Eric Logan, owner of Gamma Ray, to talk about how things are going.

The first question that came to mind was, of course, how has the recession been treating a business that sells games? “Turns out, drugs, alcohol and games tend to sell better during recessions,” Logan said. “We’ve consistently done better than we expected. We’re confident in being able to stay where we are and are gently exploring expanding.” Among the possibilities for growth are satellite stores, kiosks in various locations and Gamma Ray’s own line of game products.

“We’d be more comfortable opening up more businesses on the Hill after running this one – it’s a tremendous market research lab,” said Logan, “There are a number of business models that have come out of geek culture that no one it testing yet.”

Logan said the local community’s diversity is reflected in his game playing customers. “Our customers right now include bartenders, doormen, gay men’s health counselors, burlesque dancers, roller derby girls…these are our customers, and we really try to be the game store for those people, Capitol Hill’s game store, as opposed to being a game store on Capitol Hill.” Logan is considering the creation of in-house games that would expand Gamma Ray’s range into gay culture, cocktails and art.

Logan says Gamma Ray is committed to a local focus and that he conducts all of his business with that focus in mind. “Myself and all three employees live on Capitol Hill, so our rent goes back to the community. Our internet provider, landlord, phone service, utilities, credit card processor and most of our wholesale purchasing are all done through Washington State businesses. We pay slightly more for all of these services so we can do that,” Logan said.

Gamma Ray Games (411 E Pike) will be celebrating their 1st anniversary with good friends, free Cupcake Royale cupcakes and, of course, games, this Tuesday, July 6th from 6pm til closing.

A new gallery at Goblin House: Catalyst for art, community, veggie BBQ

Thursday night, Catalyst Gallery, the once and future Goblin House, will serve as an alternative launching point for the Blitz Capitol Hill Arts Walk 1st Anniversary celebrations. Events begin at 6 PM with free veggie barbecue and fake mustaches for all, with art walk organizer Ellen Forney’s mustache tour of Capitol Hill starting soon after.  While parties are nothing new to the space, taking a prominent part in the art walk is. Their participation shows how quickly the community of Goblin House has turned creativity and social capital into a great community art space.

Like Rachel Shimp of the Times, I too heard about the amazing “Fallen Timbers of the Northwest” show earlier this year through the Capitol Hill grapevine: a forest and projections by Stephen “EDWON” Shultz took over several rooms of the house, to the amazement and delight of all who attended. It took a visit to their new gallery and a conversation with John Roberts and Jared Knudson, two of the founders of the space, to see how big of a change this was. Besides the physical conversion of the entire ground floor into gallery space, it also meant a new focus for the community of Goblin House.

“We’ve had parties where people are throwing up in every bathroom and the next day strangers are sleeping around the house,” says John, “It’s funny to look back on, but we wanted to bring something to the community besides just having the neighbors calling the cops at three in the morning because we’re so loud.  We did a couple of [small shows]. After we did them, we realized that’s what we wanted to do – more community based and less alcohol and dancing based.”

A big theme of our conversation was community, and more specifically, creating a more open and accessible artistic community on Capitol Hill. Both John and Jerad talked about how one of the big goals of Catalyst was to be a space for new artists who hadn’t been shown in a gallery before to put on a first show.  “It’s really hard for artists to get a first show,” says John, “We wanted a space where new artists could get a show without all these reqirements and prerequisites.” Jerad makes the point that, “Wherever there’s money behind art its often really sterile. We want everything to be comfortable and accessible, not so austere. When people come into our gallery we want it to be welcoming.”

And if Catalyst Gallery is anything, it is welcoming.  It feels less like an official art gallery and more like the neighborhood’s funkiest living room.  While that might be too casual or personal for some art lovers, I think it’s perfect for Capitol Hill and exactly what John and Jerad and Nik Virrey, the third founding member of Catalyst, wanted. When John and Jerad talk about art and Catalyst, it’s less about creating a space to look at art and more about human interaction:

Jerad Knudson: The coolest part of seeing Steven’s show, Fallen Timbers of the Northwest, is that when people came through the forest room they entered another world and they didn’t know what they were seeing. Then they saw a projection sequence. They were glued to the screen. We want people to be pulled out of something, to feel something when they come in here.

John Roberts: It’s nice that people can see the work and delve into it and not just look at it.

JK: It’s also just being able to meet people around this area and talk to them. There’s so many weird connections we’ve had with people doing similar but different things from us and it’s been really cool. It’s a really good opportunity to meet other artists and other cool people.

If you’d like to connect to Catalyst, they’re located in the two story green house at 1114 E. Olive St., near Cal Anderson Park. Their present show is Three Visions, Two Minds: two artists, Minjae Kim and Trevor Brown, showing works in three artistic categories – portraits, landscapes and still lifes.  Jerad mentioned that in August Catalyst would be doing a bear-themed show: “The front door is going to be a big bear’s mouth and the main room is going to be the belly of the bear. It’s going to be a very interactive show.”  If you’d like to have a show of your own, just can get the founders contact info here. Like John says, “Everyone has something to offer.  Our contact info is up on our page – you don’t have to know us to have a show here.”

Capitol Hill’s starving artists can at least be healthy thanks to Country Doctor

I’ve been a fan of the Country Doctor Community Clinic ever since I graduated college and no longer had coverage under the parental health insurance plan. Country Doctor has been there since 1971 to provide affordable quality medical care to those who need it whether they have health insurance/ a healthy paycheck or not, something for which I and many other uninsured Capitol Hill residents will be eternally grateful. Earlier this year I found out about one more service that Country Doctor provides: The Artist Clinic.

The Artist Clinic is a pilot program that began in January 2009. The project is a partnership between Country Doctor and the Washington Artists Health Insurance Project (WAHIP), which is itself a partnership between Leveraging Investments in Creativity and Artist Trust.  Until June 2010, uninsured, low-income artists can send in an application to Artist Trust to qualify for a $75 voucher towards appointment costs at Country Doctor Community Clinic. Since the sliding scale cost for an appointment at Country Doctor can go as low as $15, $75 can go a long way. The Artist Clinic also hosts “artist-focused” clinic time at Country Doctor every Wednesday from 5:30-8:30pm, though artists can make appointments and use their artist health care vouchers anytime during Country Doctor’s hours of operation.

When I spoke to Miguel Guillen of Artist Trust, he emphasized the need for artists to participate in the program as soon as possible. “The biggest thing we are stressing right now is simply PLEASE use this service! Everything eventually points to metrics so if artists don’t use the service then we don’t have the numbers needed to present to potential funders and for creating new partnerships…We need more artists to take advantage of the program in order to ensure its continuation!”

The takeaway: If artists apply to get some free health care now, not only will they get that niggling problem checked, they’ll also be helping the community to work toward more more free artist health care later. While this is still a long way off from solving the rising rents/ disappearing arts community problem for the neighborhood, at least for now on Capitol Hill starving artists don’t have to be sick ones.

Nominations open for Capitol Hill Community Council election

The cherry trees are blossoming, ducks are paddling in any significant puddle of water they can find, and the sun sets after 6pm once again. It’s spring, and time for the Capitol Hill Community Council to look ahead to our 2010 elections on June 17th, and even before that, the deadlines for candidate nominations on May 20th. 

The Capitol Hill Community Council has done a lot in its second year since being reestablished. We saw the planning for John and Summit Park come to completion and we construction’s about to begin, we’re running a successful Complete Streetcar Campaign, and our constituency willing, we’ll soon be creating a joint TOD committee with the Chamber of Commerce. If any of the things I just mentioned sound exciting to you, I encourage you to run in this year’s Community Council election. If you’re into making the neighborhood great, ensuring community voices get heard at City Hall and Design Review Meetings, and you’re inordinately fond of talking to lots of people and going to lots of meetings, I encourage you to run as well.

Here’s the nitty gritty: anyone who lives, works, owns land or a business or volunteers on Capitol Hill is a voting member of the Community Council and can run for any of the seven officers positions on the Council: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and 3 Representative positions. We are taking nominations (by the candidate’s self or by someone else) by email [chcc.officers(at)] and in person at our April 15th and May 20th public/general meetings at the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse from 7-9pm. Our elections will take place on June 17th, same time and place.

Now a disclaimer: being an officer takes a lot of time and commitment. As President, I easily put in 10 hours a week in meetings, communicating via email or phone, and doing research and writing for our current projects. Hong Chhuor would tell you that’s about the same amount of time he puts in as Vice President and that it’s only a little less for the rest of our officers.  The Council not only asks for time, but great people and writing skills and the organizing and policy experience to be able to hit the ground running with our projects as the year starts.

The trade-off is making amazing things happen and ensuring that Capitol Hill will have the first say in what happens to Capitol Hill. The question is: does that sound like a good trade to you?