Lumber Yard Bar rebuilds: Gay community staple rises from ashes

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Photo courtesy of Nathan Adams
Photo courtesy of Nathan Adams

In July 2021, the Lumber Yard, White Center's first LGBTQ+ bar, suffered extensive damage in a fire still under active investigation as arson and a hate crime. Since then, the bar has been rebuilding across the street from its original location, with the support of the community. Its reopening is anticipated in early June 2022.

The bar is co-owned by husbands Nathan Adams and Michale Farrar. Adams shared updates on the construction at 9630 16th Ave. SW. He assured us that the new space, which will be 4,500 square feet, will continue to have "a lot of what we had at the old bar." All prior performers are set to return, and the location will continue hosting drag shows and themed parties. The bar will also bring back about 90% of its staff when it reopens.

Photo courtesy of Nathan Adams  

Adams described the new space as having two main parts — the Lumber Yard bar side and Loading Dock dance side — which together take up the same amount of space as the old location's combined parts. Said Adams, "The larger side will be where we'll be doing karaoke, drag shows, dance parties. And then the smaller side, which looks a lot like the footprint of the original Lumber Yard, is going to be more like the neighborhood, casual, sit-down dining experience."

Photos courtesy of Nathan Adams  

On the current state of rebuilding, Adams said, "The fun thing has been, this last month, we're actually starting to see it come together. So the plumbers and the other contractors have started coming in and... doing what they need to do, so that we can start putting the cosmetic stuff in place and seeing what this space is actually going to look and feel like."

Since the July fire, the bar has received ongoing financial support. In the first week alone, the community raised over $100,000 for the rebuilding. Adams is proud of "the support we... have from the community [to get] the space back up and going."

He is also proud of what the bar means to the LGBTQ+ community and Seattle. Said Adams, "There's no way, after the fire, [that] we could have just let it go away. It just meant too much to too many of us, including my husband and myself."

Adams said the Lumber Yard plans to reopen at the start of June, depending on how fast reconstruction moves forward. He looks forward to White Center's Pride festival in early June.

"It'll be, hopefully, fun that we can be a full part of that," he said.

Follow the Lumber Yard Bar's Facebook for updates.