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The Lobby Bar opens at E. Pike St. location
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The Lobby Bar opens at E. Pike St. location

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Paul Villa and Curtis Bigelow have wanted to open a bar for some time, but the idea had always been a bit of a dream since both men had time-consuming professions - Bigelow is an architect, while Villa works in advertising. But, when the economic downturn took its toll on the architectural field, Bigelow began to devote time to researching the bar of his dreams.

Bigelow says that when he noticed the closing of two Gay bars on Capitol Hill, it appeared that there was a niche to fill - enter The Lobby Bar.

"Our goal is to create a bar with a concept that dovetails into existing LGBT nightlife and offers people another place to gather, enjoy themselves, and meet new people," Bigelow told SGN.

The Lobby Bar, which officially opened for business December 11, is spacious, welcoming and comfortable. Guests can order cocktails and sit in the chairs at the upper-level balcony, comfy couches in the VIP-esque lounge, or benches along the ground floor.

As a way to pay homage to the past establishments that once occupied the space, each bartender has created specialty cocktails that range in price from $8 for "The Lobby," a simple champagne cocktail, to $11 for "The Easy," a chocolaty martini concoction.

The food menu is geared towards snacks to share, and a few delicious entrees at reasonable prices. "Chef Lisa Ianinni has amazed us with a wonderful menu," said Bigelow. "Paul and I worked closely with her - meaning she cooked and we sampled - to create an offering of delicious smaller plates."

The Lobby Bar is an LGBTQ establishment, but Bigelow says they call it a "Gay bar" in the broadest terms. "We've endeavored to provide a friendly, comfortable atmosphere for all the letters: L, G, B, T, and Q," he said.

Bigelow and Villa say that opening up a bar on Pike seemed like a perfect fit. "The location provides that 'bar-hopping' link between lower Broadway for R Place, Neighbours, Café Metropolitain, The Crescent, The Elite, and The Eagle, and upper Broadway with C.C. Attle's, The Cuff Complex, Madison Pub, Martin's Off Madison, Pony and Purr," Bigelow told SGN. "Obviously, Pike has long been known for its nightlife and it was an easy choice once we saw the potential of the space and the great flow."

Capitol Hill is the only place they would open a bar, he said. "Paul and I lived in the Central District for many years and have just recently moved to Capitol Hill, which has been great," he said. "Our lives center around Broadway, Pike/Pine, and 15th Avenue. Our friends always laugh at us as we hardly ever cross a bridge."

The Lobby Bar is located at 916 East Pike, and is open seven days a week, from Monday-Wednesday 3 p.m. to midnight, Thursday-Friday 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight. To view the food and drink menu or for more information, visit The Lobby Bar's official website at www.thelobbyseattle.com.

"We are here to support the LGBT community and will be active in sponsoring local Gay sports teams and charities," said Bigelow. "The Lobby Bar is welcoming and accommodating. Our motto: Friendly, fast, fun!"

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