A new cocktail bar called Dead Line is coming to Pioneer Square next month, and the name is a historical reference to Yesler Way, which once separated Skid Row to the south from the rest of the city. It sounds a little ominous, although in promotional materials the concept comes across as standard. “Classic cocktails, elevated.” “Latin inspired” food menu with local ingredients. A lofted mezzanine in a space with Art Deco design elements and historical flourishes.
That is, until you get to the “Story” section, which may raise hackles for the way it equates prostitutes, junkies, and grifters with anticipation, passion, and authenticity:
We live in a society of contradiction, where our public quest for virtue overshadows our private yearning for risk and pleasure. Turn of the 20th century Seattle embodied this contrast. Our cross street - Yesler Way - was known as the Dead Line. It was the border between the privileged upper class to the north and the prostitutes, junkies, and grifters to the south in what is now Pioneer Square. By choosing Pioneer Square, we seek to blend the luxury, service and detail attained above the line with the anticipation, passion and authenticity traditionally only found South of it. We pay homage to those who knew what they wanted...even if they had to cross the Dead Line to get it.
The final sentence in particular makes this bar sound like it’s aimed at hunters of the most dangerous game: man. The invite-only Gold Room for big spenders isn’t a secret dog-fighting pit, is it? It’s not uncommon for bars and restaurants to romanticize dark realities (the speakeasy genre comes to mind), but this reads tone deaf at best.