Queer/Bar tries to preserve what’s left of LGBTQIA+ Capitol Hill nightlife

Proud Joey Burgess in front of his newly opened Queer/Bar (Images: Alex Garland)

Plastered in a white, clear, modern font on Pike/Pine glows the generationally controversial word “Queer,” accompanied by “Bar.” It’s intentional. This sleek new space is reserved for the Capitol Hill creators, the spectrum of anything out of the gender dichotomy, the queer. No straights allowed if they’re not allies — despite the clear sign, one only hopes they drunkenly take the hint.

Disclaimer: I am a straight, cisgendered, white female. But I also know how to respect spaces that aren’t meant for me without frustration. The Hill has far more bars I could choose from than the few I shouldn’t.

Roaming in the middle of Queer/Bar with a smile on his face is Joey Burgess.  He runs the place.

“There’s great energy in this place,” Burgess said. “It’s paramount to keep this street queer. For me, for my family, for my friends it’s necessary.”

Dave Meinert, who also is partners with Burgess in a separate company behind Lost Lake, the Comet, and Big Mario’s, said he’s “really just investing in Joey,” who he called awesome, and a great partner with a big vision. Continue reading

Queer/Bar — and its Queer/Hall and LGBTQIA chefs and Robbie Turner — set for Pike/Pine debut

(Image: Alex Garland)

With a TV drag star at the mic, and a series of Seattle LGBTQ chefs set to rotate through its kitchen, Pike/Pine’s Queer/Bar is ready to create a new nightspot and social center on Capitol Hill. And maybe make a buck or two in the process.

Queer/Bar opens Saturday night.

“It’s been 12 years of planning, scrapping, and conceptualizing amongst friends and colleagues,” co-owner Joey Burgess said when the new project was announced this summer. “I’m over the moon to launch in a neighborhood that has felt like home for years.”

Queer/Bar is backed by Burgess and a company that includes Dave Meinert, his partner from the Guild Seattle group that also runs a big chunk of Pike/Pine hangouts including Lost Lake, the Comet, and Big Mario’s. Queer/Bar neighbor Grim’s is also part of the Guild holdings. That bar’s acquisition in 2014 brought a higher profile role in Pike/Pine nightlife for Burgess as Guild’s director of operations and a change in direction toward dance and table service and away from the group’s usual focus on booze and barstools. Continue reading

SPD hate crime unit reviewing transgender attack in Capitol Hill restaurant — UPDATE

Police say a transgender woman was beaten and bloodied inside a Capitol Hill restaurant over the weekend in a late night attack being reviewed by the city’s hate crime officials.

According to the Seattle Police report on the early Sunday incident, officers found the victim with blood on her face and chest, and a cut above her eye after the attack inside the popular late night hangout Rancho Bravo. The victim told police she was beaten after a verbal exchange with the suspects who were recording her and her friend on video and making hateful comments:

According to the SPD report, the situation escalated quickly when a third suspect struck the victim. The victim said she tried to pretend to be unconscious to stop the beating:

Police provided only a general description of the attackers in the report — a black male with a “faded” hairstyle, a black male in a “blue with white” shirt, and the white male who punched the victim, also wearing a blue with white shirt. The suspects were reported to have left the scene in a white Cadillac SUV. Detectives also may have a partial license plate to work with:

According to the report, the incident may have been captured on the restaurant’s security video system but SPD tells CHS it doesn’t have more information to share at this time. According to a department spokesperson, the investigation is currently being reviewed by the SPD bias crimes unit.

The latest citywide bias crimes data trends show that reports of hate crimes — especially criminal incidents like this assault with an added hate crime element — continue to increase in Seattle.

UPDATE 9/22/2017 8:55 AM: In a statement, Rancho Bravo management decried the attack and called Capitol Hill “a vibrant example of self-expression and freedom.” The restaurant said it does not, however, have video of the assault. “Up to now, out of respect for personal privacy we have had a policy of not monitoring the dining area. In light of recent events we will now change that policy.” The restaurant urged anybody with information that might aid the investigation to call 911.

Capitol Hill Community Post | SPD Releases Bias Crimes Report for First Half of 2017

From the Seattle Police Department, September 12, 2017

Today the Seattle Police Department released its semiannual report detailing bias crimes and incidents for the first half of 2017. During this time, a total of 178 criminal and non-criminal bias based incidents were reported, up from the 128 incidents reported at the same time last year. The increase in reports can be attributed in large part to victims feeling more comfortable reporting bias crimes due to enhanced trust, improved reporting mechanisms and ongoing community outreach by the Department.

“SPD continues to be a national leader in investigating and reporting bias crimes as well as outreach to communities experiencing these acts,” said Chief of Police, Kathleen O’Toole. “In the spirit of transparency and accountability we continue to release these reports letting the community know that the Department works hard every day to make sure our most vulnerable victims are heard and we pursue the justice they deserve.”

Highlights from the report:

  • Bias crimes often occur between complete strangers and take victims by surprise. Many of them are property crimes committed anonymously under the cover of darkness. The Seattle Police Department’s clearance rate for these incidents is 39%. Many of these arrests are made by patrol officers arriving on the scene soon after an incident has occurred. Detectives work hard to locate suspects not found at the time of the incident. 13 cases from this period remain open and may be cleared by arrest.
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Queer/Bar set to replace Purr in Pike/Pine

Guild Seattle’s Burgess speaks about how the ownership group bucked bad trends during a 2015 release event for a report on wage theft and paid sick law violations (Image: CHS)

How do you replace a Montlake-bound Capitol Hill gay bar? With a Queer/Bar.

Here is the announcement on the new 11th Ave venture from one of the partners behind the Lost Lake family of businesses about the upcoming Pike/Pine hangout:

 In the wake of rumors of LGBTQIA businesses leaving the traditionally gay neighborhood of Seattle, a new-to-the-scene QUEER/BAR announces its plans to open in the coming weeks. QUEER/BAR intends to foster an inclusive gathering space for the LGBTQIA community and strives to have a team, ownership, and clientele reflect the diversity of the city, while retaining Capitol Hill’s foothold of being the premiere arts and queer neighborhood.

Joey Burgess, a partner at nearby Grim’s and part of Guild Seattle, the group behind Lost Lake Cafe, The Comet, and three Big Mario’s locations across Seattle, says he is excited to “finally be executing a project that marries his love for social activism and his passion for running bars and restaurants.”

“He is proud to own and offer a space that will serve his fellow LGBTQIA community,” the announcement of the new bar reads.

Citing a surge in Pike/Pine rent, Purr closed in July after more than 10 years on 11th Ave and has announced it will soon reopen in Montlake.

Queer/Bar is expected to open by “fall” and is lining up to be a busy place:

QUEER/BAR will make its mark by bringing together local artists, performers, and non-profits to create a community space for all things queer. The calendar of events will cover the spectrum from day and night. The space plans to launch a Queer/Chef series that focuses on the culinary talents of LGBTQIA chefs and Queer/Hall which will serve as venue for queer-focused issues in politics, activism, and community driven forums.  Additionally, Queer/Bingo, Queer/Dance nights, and local Queer/Art performances, including drag shows, are on the docket. Of course, Queer/Bar will fit right into its neighborhood nightlife by offering a full bar, plenty of music, dinner, and brunch.  The space will be designed by Burgess’ husband and partner, Murf Hall, a local designer at a large retailer that is home-based in Seattle, WA. Burgess says, “It’s been 12 years of planning, scrapping, and conceptualizing amongst friends and colleagues.  I’m over the moon to launch in a neighborhood that has felt like home for years.”

Burgess, described as an “LGBTQIA advocate” in the Queer/Bar news release, serves on the boards of Three Dollar Bill Cinema and Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Capitol Hill gay bar Purr’s new home? Montlake

Capitol Hill is down one gay bar. Purr’s July “going away” party included an announcement of its surprising new home neighborhood…

Montlake.

Seattle Gay Scene has the scoop:

After nearly a 12 year run on Capitol Hill’s 11th Avenue between Pike and Pine Streets, Purr Cocktail Lounge will be packing up the video screens and vodka bottles for a new location in…Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood. That was the surprise announcement at Wednesday night’s “Purr Going Away Party” where owner Barbie Roberts thanked her regulars and staff for a great run at the 11th Avenue location but then made the announcement that everyone had been waiting to hear…where was Purr moving to? While most expected that the new location would be either on Capitol Hill, Seattle’s primary LGBTQ neighborhood or at least adjacent to the ‘hood, no one expected to hear “Montlake” as the new location.

Owner Barbie Roberts has said the move is an economic one with the more-than-a-decade-old lounge escaping soaring Pike/Pine rents. A former employee of Manray and The Wildrose, Roberts opened Purr in 2006 in the former home of the Bad JuJu lounge. In 2011, CHS talked with her about the features of a successful gay bar and surviving the changes of growth in Pike/Pine.

While Purr’s adventure off the Hill will bring more affordable rent and more than a few interesting rides on the 43, we’re sure, its new home will also come with some economic challenges. The Montlake Pub closed in the space after a rocky year of business — it closed so abruptly, CHS never had the opportunity to run a post on the new restaurant last spring. Before the pub, the Traveler family of neighborhood grills gave 24th Ave E a run after taking over for longtime favorite the Montlake Pub in 2014. 24th Ave and Montlake, meanwhile, are set for major changes with a new 520 lid and bridge work slated to completely overhaul the road network at the key interchange. Meanwhile, the approach from the north to the area is also planned for major changes in future stages of the 23rd Ave corridor “road diet.”

No opening date for Montlake Purr has been announced.

You can keep track of things on Purr’s Facebook page.

 

With new location in works, Purr plans 11th Ave ‘Going Away Party’

The rumors have become fact — or, at least, a going away party.

Purr has announced a July 19th celebration to say goodbye to its longtime 11th Ave home… and ownership says details on a new location for the Pike/Pine gay bar could be coming soon.

And the Party is just beginning…… Please join us for our “Going Away Party” on Wednesday July 19th. as we say goodbye to our “current” location. We’ve been proud to serve you here on 11th Ave for 12 strong years, and will continue to do so in our “new location”. Stay tuned for additional news as we work on solidifying details of our new home. Hope to see you all there!

Owner Barbie Roberts tells Seattle Gay Scene the move is simple economics:

Barbie also stressed to us that she’s not leaving the current location out of any bad feelings or due to the building being torn down. It’s simply the end of her current lease and she decided not to continue at that location due to the rent hike she would face under a new lease. It’s Economics 101, folks…gentrification leads to property values going up, followed by a big jump in rents which is something that effects both individuals in apartments as well as small business owners in commercial locations.

The Purr exit will leave a new space along 11th Ave without a tenant just as another moves in. In May, CHS reported that the Rain City Fit gym would soon neighbor Purr in the location left empty when kink retailer The Crypt shuttered in 2015.

A former employee of Manray and The Wildrose, Roberts opened Purr in 2006 in the former home of the Bad JuJu lounge. In 2011, CHS talked with her about the features of a successful gay bar and surviving the changes of growth in Pike/Pine.

As for where Purr, one of the Hill’s last remaining dedicated gay bars, lands next, stay tuned.

 

Pictures from the crowd: Seattle Pride March and Volunteer Park Pride Festival

Thousands marched Sunday from Capitol Hill to support LGBTQ rights (Image: SDOT)

CHS may be taking a break this summer but the crowd is still busy taking great pictures and videos. Here are a few of the best we’ve found from the weekend’s happenings at Saturday’s Volunteer Park Pride Festival and Sunday’s Seattle Pride March. You’ll also find a bonus video from the 2017 Volunteer Park Criterium. Thanks, crowd! Happy Pride!

And then a parade rolled through.

A post shared by Kevin A. Cameron (@kacekevin) on

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Seattle has competing plans for two June 11th Pride Marches — both on Capitol Hill

Seattle-Dyke-March-2015-15 (3)

The Seattle Dyke March, so far, faces no competition in 2017 (Image: CHS)

There are currently two competing plans for a June 11th Seattle “sister march” in conjunction with the 2017 National Pride March in Washington D.C. And both are being planned for Capitol Hill.

Organizers of the Broadway-centered Capitol Hill Pride Festival are protesting a decision by Seattle PrideFest to hold a march planned to start in Cal Anderson on June 11th along with marches expected to take place in cities across the country. The Broadway festival organizers say their plans for the same date starting on Broadway have been in motion since January: Continue reading

Victim warns that weekend double overdose at Capitol Hill bar was caused by rape drug — UPDATE

(Image: Matt Mitgang via Twitter)

(Image: Matt Mitgang via Twitter)

A victim in this weekend’s double overdose inside 11th Ave’s Purr Lounge tells CHS that he and his fiance were targeted and drugged.

“Babe, I feel crazy,” Asher Rohan told his fiance James after his second drink of the evening just before midnight Saturday night.

Rohan was about to collapse to the floor of the lounge and stop breathing. Witnesses said James turned blue. Both men were treated by Seattle Fire medics and rushed to Harborview. Police interrogated him about what kind of drugs he had taken that night. But an emergency room doctor, Rohan says, told him there was no sign of heroin use and that the type of opiate that caused the overdose is common in drugs such as gamma hydroxybutyric — GHB, the date rape drug. Continue reading