Long-running Capitol Hill LGBTQ+ bar R Place will be vacating its iconic teal, multilevel home at 619 E. Pine St., according to a statement posted by R Place staff on the venue’s website and Facebook page Tuesday. (LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning, with the + denoting everything along the gender and sexuality spectrum.)
Addressing ” ‘R’ loyal customers,” staff wrote, “R Place has been a staple in the gay community for over 35 years. It was our intention to reopen. However, due to unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, it is with the heaviest of hearts that we are unable to renew the lease at our current location. We are grateful to you all for your years of patronage at 619 E Pine St.”
Long a hotspot of Capitol Hill nightlife, the Pine Street building was R Place’s second home. (It first opened just down the street at Pike and Boylston.) When Gov. Jay Inslee announced the state’s stay-at-home order early in the pandemic, the venue closed its doors and moved drag shows online.
R Place staff clarified in the statement that the bar was not going out of business but that a search for a new location was currently underway, with the goal of eventually reopening.
Steve Timmons, who owns R Place with Richard Elander, confirmed the details of the move in a phone interview on Wednesday. He said the owner of the Pine Street building had died and the estate did not renew R Place’s lease. Timmons said R Place staff were busy packing up the space in anticipation of the move.
As for where R Place might reopen, he said, “The sky’s the limit,” and noted that R Place plans to revive all of its current programming in the new space. “We’ll be back bigger and better than ever,” he said. “We’re not closed; we’re just moving locations.”