By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The owners of OutWest – the new bar in the works for the former Westside Pharmacy building at California/Brandon, south of West Seattle Nursery, first reported here last December – are finally ready to discuss details.
After months of working through permitting processes, Bob Lunke and business partner Chad Gabelein are announcing their plans for OutWest Bar to be a LGBT-community-friendly establishment. We reported its name back in February, but even then they weren’t ready to comment beyond saying they were working on a “small, comfortable neighborhood (establishment).”
OutWest Bar will include a full kitchen, open for dinner and initially serving appetizers and entrees such as burgers and Caesar salad. They plan to adapt the menu to the clientele’s tastes as they go.
The owners are both West Seattle residents who love it here.
Bob says, “It’s so awesome I don’t even want to tell people about it. It’s an open-minded community with a small-town feel.” They felt the ex-pharmacy space was a perfect spot for their bar because of its location within a business district, but far enough away from other bars to avoid competing with neighbors.
Bob notes that some concerns have arisen regarding parking impacts in the neighborhood. He says they are working with the City of Seattle on the issue and have conducted parking surveys to determine availability during times they are likely to be busiest: “At those times there was only 33 percent usage (of available parking) but we’ll watch the situation and see what happens during the busy times.”
He points out the benefits he feels the establishment will bring to the community: a small business providing food and drink to locals and providing jobs, keeping the building from being demolished and turned into a “condo tower.” He adds: “Small businesses are the road to recovery for this economy, and historically, gay establishments have increased property values in the surrounding neighborhood.”
Bob says he and Chad are most excited about having a bar in West Seattle where there can be interaction between gays, lesbians and “open-minded straight people.” “It will be a safe place for us that is integrated into the community.”
In case you’re wondering – Bob has a background in banking and has been a member of the Army Reserve for the past 30 years, serving in Iraq. Chad has a background in nursing and bartending. They each plan to spend time cooking and bartending.
The space is limited so there will be no live entertainment; however, there will be a TV and a jukebox. They haven’t yet decided on the interior decor, Bob says they’re somewhere between “Old West and Sunset Magazine.”
The last West Seattle establishment that marketed itself as for the LGBT community was Guppy’s, on the corner in The Junction that has since been home to a variety of restaurants including Ovio, Ama Ama, and Table 35, and will soon reopen as A Terrible Beauty.
OutWest’s owners anticipate opening sometime this summer. Hours are planned as 4 pm-midnight Sundays-Thursdays, 4 pm-2 am Fridays and Saturdays.