The Columbia City Theater logo projected on its interior wall; the Rainier Ave. and S. Ferdinand St. intersection right outside

Share story

cct logo projection intersection.jpg
The Columbia City Theater logo projected on its interior wall; the Rainier Ave. and S. Ferdinand St. intersection right outside

Formerly the Lish House, a place I hear used to host raves back in the day, the Columbia City Theater is under new ownership and about to be beautiful, painted maroon and gold with plenty of exposed brick and a chest-high stage. I toured it yesterday and took photos with my phone.

The CCT opens June 25 with a concert by Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill rap collectives Mash Hall and Cloud Nice. Live entertainment is planned for Fridays and Saturdays, booked in part by local bloggers, and eventually there’ll be a bar, but the history-rich theater (Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix before he was Jimi Hendrix) anticipates daily use as a music production studio and recording space. Gary Mula is the house producer, and has a pretty unique set up with a massive theater for his live room (with a grand piano and a Hammond B-3 organ) and mixing board/iso booths/leather sofas in the back. Chatting with him and CCT sound man Jim Anderson before they started attaching speakers to a wall, I kept thinking about how cool Mula’s office was, not just inside (the staff/artist rooms have plush furniture, a skylight, a giant TV) but outside, too, with all sorts of food/drinks possibilities beckoning on the Columbia City strip — I ate at Jones Barbeque right before I went in — and the imminently walkable, racially diverse neighborhood behind that, with its light rail station and homes Seattle Metropolitan Magazine says you can buy for $400,000. Pretty hip spot.

My impression of the new Columbia City Theater is that it crosses the intimacy of the Rendezvous’ Jewel Box with the been-here-forever grandeur of the Moore. The outside/inside bricks give it a bit of a Green Lake Bathhouse feel. There aren’t many places to see shows in the Central District/South End that aren’t bars, so it’s a welcome addition in that regard, and if nothing else, it’s one more pretty building in Columbia City put to artistic use.

Check Hannah Levin (The Weekly, KEXP) on the CCT here, and the theater on Facebook here.

cct mixing board spotlight.jpg
In the studio looking out; on the balcony looking down with the spotlight on

cct house lights skylight.jpg
On the balcony looking down with the house lights on; a skylight near one of the artists’ lounges

Photos by me