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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 29, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 30
OutWest Bar opening in West Seattle in August
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OutWest Bar opening in West Seattle in August

by Joshua Michael Rumley - SGN Contributing Writer

OutWest Bar, one of the newest LGBT bars in Seattle, is scheduled to have a soft opening within the first two weeks of August. The owners, Chad Gabelein and Bob Lunke, have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the space. The pair hopes that their establishment will be a 'comfortable space, not only serving Gays and Lesbians, but the entire community at large.'

'That's what makes us different: we're the only LGBT establishment reaching out to the bears, twinks, butch and femme Lesbians; we're here to serve the whole community, including our allies,' said Lunke.

Lunke and Gabelein have been working on their business concept over the last four years and admit that through all of the challenges that arise when opening a business, it's the feedback received from other West Seattle businesses and West Seattle community members that has pulled them through the more difficult times.

'We've received a ton of positive feedback from local West Seattle businesses,' said Gabelein. 'They see that we're not only good for the LGBT community, but for business in West Seattle.'

There have been a few LGBT-owned businesses in the neighborhood before OutWest Bar, but Lunke and Gabelein, who are both West Seattle residents, hope that OutWest Bar will be a new page for the LGBT community in West Seattle. Seattle was recently found to have the second-highest Gay and Lesbian population percentage based on the total population of the community in America (behind San Francisco), and the owners of OutWest Bar recognize that there is a demand in West Seattle for new LGBT businesses.

'We're not trying to compete with Capitol Hill, but we want to offer another option to the community,' said Lunke. 'Gay bars are traditionally meeting centers for the community, and West Seattle needs a community meeting space.'

This is the first business for Gabelein and Lunke as business partners. Lunke recently retired from the Army Reserve and has a career in banking, and Gabelein currently works as in the medical field as a nurse. Lunke is excited that after retiring that he can now be Gay publicly, since 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was in effect for the majority of his time in the service.

Lunke and Gabelein decided that OutWest Bar was going to have a touch of a Western theme with all of the modern sophistication and amenities of a large metropolitan Gay bar. The owners hope that the intimate space will attract those looking for a fun and comfortable place to connect with their community while enjoying refreshing drinks and quality food.

OutWest Bar will have a full menu offering everything from appetizers to bread bowls filled with fresh soup and a variety of burgers and salads.

'We'll have a huge, 12-inch hot dog on the menu that's going to be called 'The Homewrecker,' said Lunke with a sly smile.

The owners thought it was important to have as many local beers on tap to remain sustainable to the local brewing industry. The bar will also have a wide array of non-alcoholic drinks available.

OutWest Bar currently plans on operating from 4 p.m. till midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, depending on patron traffic.

'The stars really aligned for us with OutWest,' said Lunke. 'We're excited to be the only LGBT bar between Capitol Hill and Honolulu.'

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