Hoping to fill the gap left by Purr Cocktail Lounge — a long-running gay bar whose owner, Barbie Roberts, said her move from Capitol Hill to Montlake after 12 years was driven by rising rents, Seattle Gay Scene reports — upcoming Capitol Hill establishment Queer/Bar (1518 11th Ave.) is putting its queer-friendly intentions right in its name.
The business, slated for this fall, intends to be more than simply a place to grab a drink, fostering an inclusive space for the LGBTQIA community with a team and clientele that reflect the diversity of the city “while retaining Capitol Hill’s foothold of being the premiere arts and queer neighborhood,” according to a release.
In part, the bar will tackle these goals by hosting a wide variety of events day and night: a chef series showcasing the talent of LGBTQIA chefs; a discussion series for queer-focused issues in politics, activism, and community-driven forums; bingo; dance nights; art performances like drag shows; a nightclub; and a restaurant serving dinner and brunch.
Owner Joey Burgess is a partner at Grim’s Provisions and Spirits and director of operations for Guild Seattle (Lost Lake Café, The Comet Tavern, Big Mario’s). He’s also an LGBTQIA advocate, serves on the board of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40-under-40 in 2016. In a release, he said he’s been planning this venture for 12 years, and is excited to finally be executing a project that marries his love for social activism and his passion for running bars and restaurants. His husband, designer Murf Hall, will shape the space.
Queer/Bar comes “in the wake of rumors of LGBTQIA businesses leaving the traditionally gay neighborhood of Seattle,” the release said. Purr, which will reopen in the next month or so in the former home of Montlake Ale House at 2307 24th Ave E, may be the latest example, but rents have been rising and the neighborhood’s queer community has felt squeezed for years. KUOW asked in 2014, for example, “Why Is Capitol Hill No Longer The Gay Epicenter Of Seattle?” and that same year Seattle Mag wondered if the booming nightlife was to blame for a rise in antigay violence — years before Trump made a concerted effort to empower bigots. Hopefully, Queer/Bar will fulfill its mission of fostering community.