Ever since Capitol Hill's beloved Velo bike shop moved downtown, everyone in the two-block radius has been on tenterhooks about what will move into the space on the southwest corner of 11th and Pine. We heard it was going to be a bar... so would it have retro-tavern decor and serve hamburgers? Would it look like an old-timey men's club and serve cocktails made with bitters made by local/organic/seasonal/artisanal/wood-fired bitters-makers? Would it be a gigantic neo-German beer hall, or a fancy Mexi-palace (either in a darkly contemporary or lots-of-tile style)? Would it be steam-punk-esque with an admirable collection of IPAs? Would it be olde-west-style with wine and/or batched cocktails on tap? WOULD IT HAVE AN AMPERSAND IN THE NAME? WOULD THERE BE TAXIDERMY??? PLATES OF CURED MEATS?????
Now Patrick Gabre-Kidan—formerly front-of-house/business-side-guy at the Book Bindery and various Ethan Stowell enterprises, and by all accounts a stand-up guy—has let us in on what is going to happen.
So the idea was simply to open a bar. Everything has gotten overconceptualized these days... The only thing that we want to do is have fun at what we do. I've always been SHOCKED by how many eating/drinking establishments forget what the basic function of their business is: hospitality... It happens all the time and we don't want that to happen to us. Be kind, be courteous, be attentive, be fun. That's it. We will, from time to time, have a DJ or do something wacky, or throw a fun party, but the foundation of the concept is to host a good time for all every day—which isn't a concept at all. I'm so excited to work with my homies and get my friends faded!
Gabre-Kidan's homies in the enterprise include Emma Schwartzman (server/bartender at places like Big Mario's, How to Cook a Wolf, Sitka & Spruce), Chris Rice (former Tavolata & Rione bartender and current Summer Dog owner with Schwartzman), and Jacob Mihoulides & IL (no surname) (builders involved with Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf, Frank's Oyster Bar, more, who Gabre-Kidan has known since high school).
They are working with the name Big Fun, but, he says, "We may change the name if something else strikes our fancy." A straw poll in the office finds Stranger staffers very on board with the non-concept concept, but not so hot on the name. Maybe we can make some suggestions in comments.
Also, Anna Minard says, "I hope they can incorporate the hot dog boat [that's Summer Dog]. Dry-dock it in there somewhere." AGREED.