Just weeks after a fire destroyed its building, the Lumber Yard Bar in White Center is picking up the pieces. The neighborhood’s first gay bar — which opened in January of 2018 — has found a new location just across the street at 9630 16th Avenue SW. Co-owner Nathan Adams tells Eater Seattle the bar hopes to reopen in six-to-nine months, which is encouraging news considering how dire the situation seemed earlier this month.
In the early morning hours July 5, a two-alarm fire that investigators believe started at the Lumber Yard ripped through the bar and damaged several neighboring businesses, including Dottie’s Double Wide, an under-construction boba tea shop called Nuggi, and Mexican grocer La Tipica Oaxaqueña. While local authorities initially classified the fire as an accident, more evidence eventually led the King County Sheriff’s Department to open an arson investigation.
The Lumber Yard Bar subsequently posted a message on its Facebook page that the incident was also most likely a hate crime. Co-owner Michale Farrar pointed to a break-in a month ago as reason for the suspicion and told the White Center Blog that there were “anti-gay tags” on the windows of the bar in the week leading up to the fire. There’s currently a $10,000 award for any information related to the incident; the sheriff’s department says the investigation is still ongoing, but there have been no further updates.
Almost immediately after the full scope of the devastation was clear, the White Center community started pitching in to help impacted businesses recover. White Center Pride set up a GoFundMe campaign page for the Lumber Yard and reached its $100,000 goal within days. Meanwhile, the family-owned La Tipica Oaxaqueña still has a fire damage recovery fund set up on GoFundMe, as does Dottie’s Double Wide and Nuggi. And fellow neighborhood bar the Boombox is hosting a drag show fundraiser on Friday, July 30, with 25 percent of sales going to Lumber Yard employee relief.