Capitol Hill’s Baltic Room is now the Mint Lounge

Despite challenging times for nightlife balancing business opportunity with pandemic risk, Capitol Hill is now home to “Seattle’s newest premiere club” — kind of.

The Mint Lounge debuted earlier this year on Pine below Melrose in the connective zone between downtown and Capitol HIll. This week’s events will include a Trophouse Thursdays night of Afrobeat and Dance Hall and a glamorous Friday “All Black Party” where the dress code will be “strictly enforced.”

The new life for the old Baltic Room follows the 2019 acquisition of the club by new owners. That same ownership is in place with the change in branding as the club sets out to make a new name for itself in the Capitol Hill nightlife scene. Continue reading

CHS Pics | The return of live music on Capitol Hill

A fan enjoys Spirit Award as Neumos reopened last Thursday night

It’s been a big week for music on Capitol Hill. Wednesday, the organizers behind the annual Capitol Hill Block Party announced the launch of Day In Day Out, a new annual music festival at Seattle Center.

While the group’s original Block Party festival has been postponed another year with plans to return in 2022, the clubs behind CHBP are also sparking back to life despite uncertain times for the industry and ongoing concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic amid the state’s economic reopening.

Neumos celebrated reopening with its first live show in over a year last Thursday with locals Spirit Award rocking the club. Continue reading

Clubs Neumos and Chop Suey warn COVID-19 crisis could wipe out live music on Capitol Hill

Venue owners say Capitol Hill’s live music scene will be a casualty of the COVID-19 crisis if more isn’t done to buttress the clubs that keep it going.

They’re seeking help from somewhere — from the King County Council or beyond — to help prop up what they say is a one of a kind type of business that needs special financial assistance to survive.

“If people want there to be a music scene in Seattle, we need help from our government. If we don’t get help, there are no more small venues,” Steven Severin, part of the ownership of Neumos and a veteran of the Pike/Pine nightlife scene tells CHS.

Severin is part of an effort for the few clubs like Neumos across the region to come together to call for financial assistance specific to the live music industry. The Washington Nightlife & Music Association is hoped to be a voice for the rare remaining venues. This week, the hope is pinned to the King County Council: Continue reading

‘Shots fired at the Baltic Room’ — Two hit in Capitol Hill shootout

Two people were shot including one who was taken into custody and Seattle Police had to hold back a hostile crowd in closing time gunfire at Pike/Pine club The Baltic Room early Saturday.

SPD confirmed the shootings and said one person was in custody following the 2 AM melee outside the lower Pine club.

According to East Precinct radio reports, two victims suffered gunshot injuries to their legs and one of the victims at the hospital was to be arrested. It was not clear if there were other victims not found at the scene or if police were looking for additional shooters. Continue reading

From cannabis to clubs, Capitol Hill’s The Baltic Room has a new owner

Proud owners Rachel Keith and Rahsaan Henry (Image: The Baltic Room)

From The Ganja Mom to Capitol Hill’s new queen of clubs? Rachel Keith is a long way from creating anything like Linda Derschang’s empire just yet but with her summer takeover of The Baltic Room, she’s proud to at least be following in a few of Derschang’s earliest dance steps.

Keith purchased the Baltic, the Pine dance club Derschang first opened as a piano bar in 1997, this summer and celebrated a grand reopening last month.

“What’s the Baltic Room?,” Keith asked earlier this year as she was searching through listings for an available club. “My husband and I have always been in the nightlife scene. I decided to go check it out.” Continue reading

Capitol Lounge ready for first weekend in Pike/Pine’s club scene

(Image: Capitol Lounge)

(Image: Capitol Lounge)

Pd0GUph0A new club is set to join Pike/Pine’s nightlife. The Capitol Lounge opened softly this week and is preparing for its first weekend of action in the DJ-focused dance and club culture that has formed around E Pike’s Friday and Saturday nights.

“We want Capitol Hill to define it,” a representative for the new club tells CHS of the plan for the lounge.

Born in a space left vacant when gay-friendly the Lobby Bar exited the street, the Capitol Lounge isn’t a gay dance club or even a dance club, exactly, the people putting together the new nightspot say. “We’ll definitely have dance nights on Friday and Saturday and we’ll be DJ-focused,” the Capitol Lounge representative said. Continue reading

Lawsuit alleges SPD made racist arrest in Rhino Room brawl

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-3-10-59-pmAn April 2015 CHS blotter item has escalated into a lawsuit over allegations of biased policing and racist treatment of a black patron at Pike/Pine nightclub The Rhino Room.

Here is how CHS recorded the police report on the April 8, 2015 arrest of Sean Perryman:

A man trying to break-up an altercation inside an 11th and E Pine bar early Saturday morning ended up in an altercation of his own when he allegedly assaulted a man who also tried to intervene. According to SPD, the suspect was trying to calm an argument between a bouncer and a bar patron. When a third man approached, witnesses said the suspect punched and kicked that man, possibly dislocating his knee. The suspect was booked into King County Jail for assault.

But the SPD’s account of the early morning arrest left out a few key details revealed later in a review of security video that would eventually result in King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole both apologizing for the incident and the dropping of a charge of the third degree assault brought against Perryman. Continue reading

Capitol Hill bars take precautions amid reports of drugged drinks

Bar Sue is now offering date rape drug detector strips. (Image: Bar Sue via Facebook)

Bar Sue is now offering date rape drug detector strips. (Image: Bar Sue via Facebook)

Bar Sue owner Ian Carey first became concerned about an uptick in drugged drinks on Capitol Hill when he himself was drugged a few months ago at a neighborhood bar. When a Bar Sue patron reported being drugged last month, Carey decided to start offering free “date rape drug detector” tests.

“For now I am just providing free tests and posting signs that they are available to my patrons, in hopes it will potentially deter predators in my bar,” he said.

Now other bars are following suit. Chop Suey owner Brianna Rettig told CHS she has already put the order in for the strips that test for GHB, a common date rape drug. “They’re very easy and pretty brilliant. You just do a straw test on the tab and it’ll tell you whether or not there’s GHB inside the drink,” Rettig said.

Rettig said she has held multiple meetings with Chop Suey’s security and bar staff about looking out for suspicious behavior and signs of over intoxication. Nightlife owner Steven Severin said he has not heard reports of drugged drinks at Neumos, Moe Bar, or Barboza, but hopes increased attention on the issue will scare off any would-be predators.  Continue reading

New ownership for Tavern Law after founder filed for bankruptcy

In the latest chapter from the fallout of a crumbled family of food and drink businesses, two Eastside real estate professionals have taken over Tavern Law, one of the pillars of Pike/Pine’s craft cocktail scene.

Mark O’Shea, a Bellevue property manager, recently bought the business along with Derek Straight, a former executive with a large West Coast housing developer. O’Shea confirmed the ownership change with CHS but we are still waiting to hear details on the duo’s plans for the 12th and E Madison bar.

The buyout comes in the wake of financial troubles faced by Tavern Law co-founder Brian McCracken, one of Capitol Hill’s craft cocktail pioneers. In June, CHS reported on the $2.4 million bankruptcy behind the sudden closure of 12th Ave’s The Old Sage. According to documents filed in Western District of Washington United States Bankruptcy Court, McCracken and his wife filed May 20th for chapter 7 protection over some $2.4 million in debts. The big number is owed to Key Bank — $1,248,498.16. Continue reading

Seattle Police offer Capitol Hill LGBTQ venues ‘active shooter’ training ahead of Pride

As Seattle Pride participants put the finishing touches on their floats and costumes, a more somber preparation for this year’s celebration will also be underway. City officials are encouraging LGBTQ venue owners, bouncers, and event planners to attend a training next week in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub that left 50 people dead.

Seattle Police will hold two trainings at the The Cloud Room coworking space at 11th and Pike after Seattle’s Office of Film and Music rushed to organize the events before Pride next weekend.

“We want everyone to be as prepared and as safe as they can be, and hopefully nobody has to use it,” said OFM director Kate Becker. Continue reading