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Seattle Tries to Make It Easier for Restaurants to Have Outdoor Seating

Plus, an Elysian-’Queer Eye’ wedding is in the works and a so-called ‘indie’ Starbucks closes down

The Seattle Department of Transportation is looking for ways to increase outdoor cafes and restaurants.
Suzi Pratt/Eater

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Breath of fresh air for restaurant owners and customers

Recently, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has been floating a proposal to help loosen up some outdoor seating regulations for restaurants and cafes. One of the key components in this effort will be formalizing a “fence free” design option, meaning eateries can have sidewalk-area seating without needing to construct a physical barrier around it. The goal is to allow more flexibility for restaurants when it comes to developing open-air seating options. As one spokesperson for SDOT tells Eater, “We may consider narrower cafés [for outdoor seating], because you won’t need an aisle in-between the tables and chairs and fencing.” It’s still early to say how many more restaurants and cafes will be able to get outdoor seating under the proposed amendments, but Stateside owner Eric Johnson is optimistic. “Anything that streamlines the process for small businesses to add to their potential customer base is well advised as far as I’m concerned,” he says. The public commenting period and appeals process for the proposal is winding down this week.

Big brewery joins forces with “Queer Eye” star

Raise a glass to this wedding news. Elysian Brewery is teaming up with “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness to help champion LGBTQ marriage equality. On June 4, Van Ness will be marrying a couple at Elysian Brewery’s newly renovated Capitol Hill pub through a contest hosted by the brewery and Seattle Pride (more details can be found here). This event hopes to raise more awareness about LGBTQ rights and celebrate inclusivity. “I want Elysian to always be a safe place where anyone within our network can show up as their authentic selves,” says Elysian cofounder Joe Bisacca. “You don’t need to change who you are to make other people feel comfortable.”

So long to Capitol Hill’s “indie” Starbucks

Sunday marked the last hurrah for the Starbucks-owned cafe, Roy Street Coffee and Tea, which has now officially closed after 10 years on Broadway in Capitol Hill. The spot was one of a few faux-independent coffee shops owned by the Starbucks empire, designed to look and feel like a small, mom and pop neighborhood cafe. When Roy Street’s impending closing was announced back in February, there was a short-lived petition to keep the place opened, but it never reached its signature goal. There’s still no word on what will occupy the location next.

Elysian Taproom

5410 Airport Way S, Seattle, WA 98108 Visit Website