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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 26, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 34
OutWest Bar opens its doors in West Seattle
Arts & Entertainment
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OutWest Bar opens its doors in West Seattle

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

West Seattle's newest bar is open - very open.

OutWest Bar is the first Gay lounge, restaurant, or pub to descend upon this quiet, laid-back neighborhood since Guppy's shut down several years ago. The bar welcomed its first customers on August 11, serving drinks that night and the following night up until closing hours.

'It was always West Seattle,' said co-owner Bob Lunke when asked if he and business partner Chad Gabelein had considered setting up shop on Capitol Hill. 'We live here. I live in Delridge, Chad lives in the Admiral district. We wanted a place to go for years, ever since Guppy's closed.'

While OutWest Bar is inclusive to all types of patrons, it foremost serves the Gay men and women in the area and throughout the city as a comfortable gathering spot.

'We look at the bar as the LGBT community center for West Seattle. That's why we have 'out' in the name of the bar,' stated Lunke. 'So that's its recognizable within our community as a place to go and be yourself and be Gay.'

Local residents have been overwhelmingly supportive - nearby businesses sent over bouquets of flowers on opening day. However, some have inquired as to why OutWest needs to be a Gay bar.

To this, Lunke replied, 'If you've grown up Gay you realize, until the last maybe 10 or 15 years, that it's all straight movies, straight radio, straight commercials, straight TV, everything is straight at work. So to have our own place is not too much to ask. Straight people are welcome, as long as they're Gay-friendly. But we're surrounded by straight bars, why have another one? This is why we really wanted it to be focused for our community. What we tell people is, 'This is your bar in West Seattle.'

The bar itself is a simple, intimate space - black tables with matching chairs, banquettes, burgundy walls, and a long, rust-colored countertop fill a space about the size of a coffeeshop. TV sets are due to arrive any day, on which customers will be able to view Seattle Storm games, local events, and possibly a favorite reality competition show.

Every Wednesday is 'Lesbian Night,' although everyone else is welcome, too. Future plans could include karaoke, a jukebox, or more theme nights, but for now Lunke and Gabelein just want the crowds to come enjoy drinks and food in an inviting, relaxed setting. That won't stop costume contests throughout Halloween weekend, however.

All edible menu items, such as sliders, 'handwiches,' and chicken Caesar salad are priced at $10 or below, and beverages range from regional wines to draught beers to tempting bubbles.

OutWest Bar is located at 5401 California Ave. S.W., accessible by public transportation (Metro buses 54 or 22, ask for the California and Brandon stop). Current hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Happy hour is daily between 4 and 6 p.m. As a courtesy to neighbors, parking on California Ave. is appreciated.

For more on OutWest Bar, visit its official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/people/OutWest-Bar/100002533478390).

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