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. Continue reading

Want Capitol Hill’s music clubs to reopen? ‘Band Together’ Thursday night

Thursday night, dozens of Pacific Northwest artists will take part in a livestream event to raise awareness and funding for helping independent music venues through the COVID-19 crisis.

Despite allowances as the state moves to the next phase of reopening that would technically allow capacity-limited crowds, most venues remain shuttered under the complicated web of bookings and sales required to support a live music business.

CHS reported on the early warnings from clubs like Neumos and Chop Suey about the unique challenges the industry faced. Those early concerns have only grown even as reopening has accelerated.

Steven Severin of Neumos and Life on Mars is hoping people will get involved with the keepmusiclivewa.com cause and tune into Thursday’s Band Together Washington broadcast: Continue reading

Top Chef Capitol Hill

Chef Shota Nakajima is reemerging from the pandemic without his Capitol Hill restaurants — Adana has closed permanently at 15th and Pine while E Pike while his Taku bar on E Pike which opened only days before the first lockdowns of the pandemic in 2020 is also currently temporarily shuttered — but with his positivity intact and a shot at reality TV stardom.

Top Chef returns for its 18th season in April with a season shot in Portland and Nakajima on hand to fight for the title on his home Pacific Northwest Turf:

“This season will welcome 15 new cheftestants vying for the coveted title of Top Chef in picturesque Portland, Oregon,” the hype begins. “These executive chefs and restaurant owners from all across the country each bring a unique set of skills and a diverse culinary point-of-view to the competition.” Continue reading

Pike/Pine newsstand Big Little News is now open with bottles of champagne and 250+ ‘foreign and domestic magazines, newspapers and zines’

Big Little News, a Capitol Hill-appropriate newsstand and bottle shop from Pike/Pine LGBTQ nightlife entrepreneur Joey Burgess and Tracy Taylor, the general manager of nearby Elliott Bay Book Co., opened this week on E Pike.

How did two of the neighborhood’s leaders in civic and business issues come up with their plan for a first-time collaboration launching a new Pike/Pine business?

“It seemed like in the midst of a pandemic,” Taylor said, “why not get into print and open a small business in Capitol Hill?” Continue reading

Artists Behind Glass: a small, masked taste of live music in Pike/Pine

(Image: Artists Behind Glass)

If you miss live music and you miss art, there is a gift for you on first and second Fridays at 11th Ave’s Vermillion. The Artists Behind Glass series brings a live show to the sidewalk of the Pike/Pine art bar designed for masked, socially distanced enjoyment. This month, you can see Dr. Quinn and The Medicine Woman rock the street. If you show up and things are looking too crowded for comfort, take a walk and enjoy the live stream: Continue reading

In the shadow of the greenest office building in the world along a busy street destined for bus rapid transit, Capitol Hill adds an electric vehicle charging station

(Image: Electrify America)

By Jethro Swain

Already home to the greenest office building in the world and still set to be transformed by 2024 into a transportation corridor optimized for public bus transit, Seattle’s efforts to add more infrastructure for electric cars are driving a new construction project in the surface parking lot of a Capitol Hill bank.

Electrify America, a nationwide electric vehicle charging station company, is constructing a new Seattle charging station in Capitol Hill at 1300 E Madison St in the parking lot of the Bank of America branch currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Madison station is projected to open this summer, Electrify America told CHS, and it will have four DC (direct current) fast chargers that can charge capable vehicles at up to 150kW. Electrify America stations normally have at least one (often two) CCS and one CCS-CHAdeMO style chargers, the two of which together cover almost all types of electric vehicles. Many of their chargers in metropolitan areas, including the majority of the ones around Seattle, also include a level 2 charger.

Electrify America is an expanding company that has 556 live locations across the country with 143 more coming soon, according to their website. They currently have two fast charging locations open in the city of Seattle, and more than 300 open stations across the state of Washington. Electrify America is planning on building six other stations in the city of Seattle, including a few near downtown including one in Ballard, the U-District, and Queen Anne, to go along with the Capitol Hill station.

The parking lot off E Madison, where the charging station has been approved by the City of Seattle and welcomed by Bank of America, is currently unused by customers and the construction for the charging stations is underway.

The stations will be placed in the middle of the parking lot, and there is an entrance to the lot from both E Pike and E Madison.

Electrify America’s expansion into the center of Seattle highlights Seattle’s continued push to encourage electric vehicles and the need for a stable infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations. The priority of Electrify America, according to them, is to expand access to fast charging in metro areas and along major highway routes. They also put their resources into a “future-proof” network by deploying exclusively 150kW and 350kW chargers, which are the fastest speeds available currently. Continue reading

The Seattle Police Department has taken down its West Precinct wall — Is the East Precinct next?

The heavy cement “eco blocks” are tumbling and being carted away outside downtown’s West Precinct Tuesday but Seattle Police officials aren’t ready to say a twin fortification added to the East Precinct will also be torn down soon.

“Nothing has been announced for the East wall yet,” an SPD spokesperson tells CHS.

The spokesperson confirmed social media reports of the West Precinct wall’s removal and said while the barriers are being taken down, the lobby area of the downtown precinct will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19 concerns. Continue reading

COVID-19 closures and a few hopes of new locations: Little Neon Taco, By Tae, Drizzle and Shine, and more

With word of a sad closing on First Hill — and some good news about some return visits planned for Capitol Hill — here are a few area COVID-19 crisis closures to catch up on.

  • Little Neon Taco: Even the lower rent from a reduced footprint couldn’t save the Boren favorite from small space master Monica Dimas. The three-year-old fixed-space home for her Neon Tacos is no more. Dimas announced the closure and said to watch for Little Neon Tacos at E Pike natural wine bar turned temporary COVID-19 era natural wine shop La Dive. “We are so grateful for the support of our friends and neighbors during this time,” Dimas writes. “We know that this year has been hard on everyone and while we are sad to be leaving our current location, we’re excited to partner with La Dive to keep doing what we do best: feeding good people good food.” Continue reading

A plan in COVID-19 limbo: Pike/Pine’s big Glossier Seattle showroom

A rendering of Glossier’s steamy pop-up on Broadway in 2019

While we’re uncertain how many neighborhood bars, restaurants, and shops we’ll find permanently closed as the COVID-19 crisis lifts, there are a few things to keep your fingers crossed for and to look forward to on the post-pandemic Capitol Hill — provided there is a post-pandemic Capitol Hill.

One center of this limbo of potential joy are plans for a new 7,000-square-foot Glossier showroom in the core of Pike/Pine on 10th Ave. But the hope hinges on a change of direction and overall recovery for the makeup and skincare company that shuttered its few stores around the globe this summer and furloughed employees to wait out the COVID-19 crisis.

It is possible the project could end up, instead, the center of things that could have been. Continue reading

With bigger Pike/Pine street changes ahead, construction on Melrose Ave pedestrian and biking overhaul slated to begin this summer

The Melrose palm is staying

Changes are coming soon to Capitol Hill to improve walkability and the biking — and we’re not talking about melting snow and ice.

The community vision for a safer, more vibrant for Melrose Ave — the change coming soonest — has been a decade in the making. Recognizing safety concerns, community members started doing outreach to neighbors to gather ideas for what a better Melrose would look like, eventually developing the Melrose Promenade project at the base of Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, a plan for the total re-orientations of Pike and Pine into one-way streets is also underway with a longer wait for the start of that construction.

The changes to Melrose, currently expected to begin construction in June, include a redesigned intersection at E Olive Way with a new signalized crosswalk on the west end of Melrose as the Seattle Department of Transportation reconfigures the I-5 on-ramp, SDOT community outreach lead Sara Colling said.

There were 141 reported collisions on Melrose between Roy and University from 2013 to 2018, with almost all of the serious injuries being suffered by people walking or biking on the short stretch between Denny and Pike Pine.

New protected bike lanes between Denny and Pike Pine will attempt to improve safety on Melrose. They will be one-way lanes on each side of the street protected with plastic posts and pavement markings. Continue reading