So many changes happening to East Olive Way on Capitol Hill that odd curvy stretch of a commercial district that links up Denny Way to Broadway. The neighborhood has always had a strong LGBTQ presence but very few LGBTQ specific businesses but that’s all starting to change. Certainly the Summit/Olive Starbucks is one of the gayest in town, and queer folks have been going to Pretty Parlor and Bus Stop and other local businesses for years but the neighborhood has gotten even “pinker” in the last couple of months with The Bottleneck owner Erin Nestor taking over the old Shinka Tea location with her new bar/food space Tommy Gun which opened last week and the announcement at the end of last year that beloved Seattle “bear” bar C.C. Attle’s was displacing local gay watering hole, The Metropolitain. C.C. Attle’s just got its remodeling permits in the last month and hopes to open before Gay Pride in June.
But, the latest, and biggest news, is that three local entrepreneurs: Shanon Thorson and Laura Olson from Po Dog and Grim’s and Alex Garcia from Emerson Salon and Banyan Branch marketing have joined forces and announced plans to open “The Social” a huge, “three level 12,000 sq ft ultra lounge/restaurant and nightclub” in the space currently occupied by a number of small businesses, Sideshow Salon, Seattle Wargaming and the Artful Dodger tattoo shop. Plans are for those existing businesses to be incorporated into the design of the new lounge. Design work has been started for the new venue but no permits have been filed with the city. A build out this extensive would probably mean it would be summer/fall before the space would open. From the press release:
The Social is located on East Olive and will feature three distinct rooms, including four bars and a 3000 sq ft restaurant. The entertainment venue is being designed by award winning Capitol Hill firm Pb Elemental (recently named one of the Decades Best by Seattle Magazine). Our focus is to provide a well designed, fun, and high quality venue for the LGBT community.
Those are some ambitious plans…and some brave ones, in our shaky economy, so kudos to The Social team. That’s going to be a HUGE space and will employ a lot of people which will not only benefit night life options on the Hill but help our neighborhood economy. But, hopefully the potential “awesomeness” of the new venue won’t suck too much business away from existing clubs on Pike/Pine…peaceful co-exhistence between the OLD entertainment district and the emerging district on East Olive Way would be in the best interests of both neighborhoods.
And, opening a new business is tough especially such an ambitious business, but if anyone can pull it off, it should be Mr. Thorson, Ms Olson and Mr. Garcia. The huge success of their current enterprises and marketing savvy will certainly give them a strong advantage with The Social. We can’t wait to see the results.