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Espresso Vivace’s Famed Sidewalk Bar Is Gone

The company is prioritizing its flagship cafe just down the street

Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

Bitter, over-extracted news in the Capitol Hill coffee world: Espresso Vivace’s walk-up espresso bar on Broadway has pulled its last shot as of Sunday. Though the familiar neon signage is still up, for now, an important piece of espresso pioneer David Schomer’s empire is shuttered for good.

This doesn’t portend anything bad for Vivace as a whole, which roasts its own beans and still has two full sit-down locations, one in South Lake Union and a flagship cafe at the Brix condo building, a mug’s throw away from the sidewalk bar. It’s the proximity of that flagship store that’s the problem, reports the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.

Schomer told the blog that the roots of the closure go back years, to when Sound Transit seized the property where the old Vivace flagship was. The company was more or less forced to move to Brix, so close to the sidewalk bar that Vivace was essentially competing with itself for customers. Capitol Hill had enough caffeine fiends to make both locations profitable, but Schomer said that staffing shortages, among other difficulties, forced Vivace to make a choice. From the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog:

“For years the arrangement worked. The sidewalk bar had enough business to remain open so close to our new flagship bar,” Schomer writes. “However, through a combination of factors, coming out of the pandemic, the customers have chosen the Brix bar 10 to 1 over the sidewalk bar.”

So a rapidly changing Seattle neighborhood gets another change. Even though Vivace is still going strong as a brand, that walk-up location had sentimental value for a lot of Seattleites — Vanishing Seattle talked to one who got married there. On the other hand, as Schomer said it seems Vivace’s customers have pretty decisively chosen with their wallets that they prefer the roomier cafe (for all the sidewalk cafe’s charm, you couldn’t exactly work on its wifi). In any case, it will be missed.

Espresso Vivace

532 Broadway East, , WA 98102 (206) 860-2722 Visit Website