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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 17, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 51
The Lobby celebrates first year anniversary
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The Lobby celebrates first year anniversary

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

On Sunday, December 12, The Lobby (916 E. Pike St.), a Gay cocktail lounge on Capitol Hill, celebrated its first anniversary. The party drew out 400-plus patrons who sampled free hors 'd oeuvres, took advantage of awesome drink specials, and listened to the owners share a few words of thanks.

'It was a great evening to celebrate this milestone with our beloved patrons, family, and friends,' said Paul Villa, co-owner of The Lobby. 'It's been an amazing first year and we can't believe how fast it went. We are ecstatic that we've made it past the one-year mark and that the Seattle LGBT community has yet another option as they barhop each evening.'

'The Lobby has a very mixed crowd. There are so many different groups that fill the space and feel comfortable here,' Villa told SGN.

'This last year, we've hosted a ton of diverse events and fundraisers. We also do a lot of donating and sponsorships. In fact, the name 'The Lobby' has a double meaning. The first has to do with our design; we wanted to create a metropolitan boutique hotel lobby feel. The second has to do with our intention to lobby for LGBT issues and causes,' said Villa.

The Lobby has donated a total of $8,700 to various community organizations and Gay sports teams such as Jet City Hoops, Pridefest, and Lambda Legal; raised $20,000 for various community organization and Gay sports teams such as the ORCA Swim Team and Gay City Health Project; sent one of their bartenders to Palm Springs for a national cocktail competition (he won crowd favorite); offered their space free of charge to mainstream Gay film producers as well as independent filmmakers; and much, much more - all in their first year.

In addition to boasting one of the most diverse bar staff on the hill, the Lobby strives to make all patrons feel welcome with events such as their weekly lady's night (Fridays) and 'Lobby Bear' (Sundays).

Opening the bar during the economic downturn was a concern for Villa and Curtis Bigelow, the owners of the lobby.

'However, if it wasn't for the economic downturn, we would have never opened the bar. Because of the economy, Curtis was an unemployed architect and he had tons of time on his hands to dedicate toward a new venture,' Villa told SGN.

'With no prior restaurant or bar experience, we started reading about opening a bar, coming up with bar concepts, and putting together a rough business/financial plan. At the same time, we started looking at spaces to rent and transform. Then one thing led to another and the whole thing just snowballed to the point where we didn't think about what we were doing ... we just had a laser focus on opening,' the two recently told the Greater Seattle Business Association when they were awarded the title of GSBA's New Business of the Year.

'Then, the day we opened, we finally looked at each other with a smile and said, 'What have we gotten ourselves into?'

'We'd like to thank everyone who has patronized and supported The Lobby over this last year. & We'd have to thank Curtis' parents for all their help, and our friends who donated so much time getting us open a year ago - Joey Donato, Jason Kilpatrick, Ryan Spady, Michael Hudson, and Justin Cranford - and of course our amazing employees, who continue to provide great service and really care about our patrons,' said Villa.

In addition to the GSBA award, the Lobby was also named Seattle Magazine's Best New Bar of 2010.

The Lobby is hosting a no-cover New Year's Eve celebration with champagne specials and a balloon and confetti drop at midnight. They will also host Seattle's official viewing party for RuPaul's Drag Race season 3, which begins Monday, January 24. GLAMAZONIA and Lily Armani will be hosting.

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