Line Out Music & the City at Night

Monday, March 12, 2012

Say Goodbye to the Funhouse; Save the Funhouse

Posted by on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM has the story:

Time is limited for the Funhouse, lower Queen Anne’s skull-adorned dive bar, after the city announced a seven-story mixed-use development planned for the site last week.

The new building at 500 John St. will replace the Funhouse and an adjacent two-story office building. Plans call for 106 to 112 residential units, four live/work units and underground parking for 85 cars.

Read the full story here.

There's a community meeting on March 21st and Funhouse-fans are already organizing via Facebook to attend the meeting and try to save the club.

In the mean time, go enjoy some drinks at the Funhouse. The $1 pints of Rolling Rock all day today.

UPDATE: See the Notice of Design Review here, and go to the meeting to voice your opinion:


Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Time: 06:30 p.m.
Location: Queen Anne Community Center
1901 1st Ave W
Room 3

We have an e-mail in to proprietor Brian Foss and will report more when we know. —Eds.

UPDATE 2: From the Funhouse's Facebook Account:

Funhouse Seattle
our landlords told us there was a 50/50 chance of the building being sold. my understanding was this was not a done deal. i'm surprised as everyone else at this news story.
we've been busy dealing with deaths of friends and other stresses so we haven't been in recent communication with the landlords. ugh

Update 3: Read Proprietor Brian Foss's statement on the potential development.


Comments (48) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Yes, save the Funhouse... god forbid a 10-year old bar be lost and density increased.
Posted by Madasshatter on March 12, 2012 at 8:44 PM · Report this
derek_erdman 2
Fuck this news, Funhouse rules.
Posted by derek_erdman on March 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 3
@1: If the definition of density involved unrented/leased condos, you'd maybe have a point. Fuck off anyway.
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus on March 12, 2012 at 9:04 PM · Report this
mackro 4
The blueprint infers that McDonald's + drive-thru next door will stay. Who doesn't want a condo with McDonald's stink?
Posted by mackro on March 12, 2012 at 9:17 PM · Report this
@3 Yes I know, developers are evil/economic crash/blah blah blah, but most of these types are not stupid people. Most things built do wind up selling, being rented, whatever.

I think it is possible to both think that losing nice businesses is a bad thing, and that denser, safer, and newer buildings are a good thing.

Real life is about making choices where many options offer both good and bad things.
Posted by giffy on March 12, 2012 at 9:23 PM · Report this
I hope Funhouse can find a new rental home to make a go of it. It seems unlikely, but it started out as a miracle to begin with, who am I to say it can't live on. The site will probably be new apartments. Seems like everybody and their grandma's trying to build new rental units these days.

In the meantime, I'm gonna go ahead and blame that glass museum Meinert likes so much. It's probably not accurate but it feels good.
Posted by gloomy gus on March 12, 2012 at 9:24 PM · Report this
@3 aww, Grant, sorry a bar/venue is closing. It's not historic, it's not even been around that long. This isn't the fucking Blue Moon we're talking about. But, yes, organize via Facebook and try to save it.

As to the unused argument: yes, we're in an economic downturn. I guess following your logic, the Roosevelt neighborhood NIMBYs should have won their battle. Because, obviously, those condos will be unused, right? Maybe if development, development, and urban planning were about flows rather than stocks, you'd have a point. But they're not short-term issues, and the idea that we're not going to see large increases in the number of people wanting to live in central Seattle is absurd (and flies in the face of all regional planning estimates, but you know that).

As to your general tone: thanks for elevating the discourse.
Posted by Madasshatter on March 12, 2012 at 9:25 PM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 8
But you're the one who goes by "Madasshatter"!
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus on March 12, 2012 at 9:31 PM · Report this
Asking other people to sacrifice what they like for the greater good, while treating the same when directed at you with contempt, is a dick move.

Losing bars sucks. As does losing backyards or other nice things. But living more densely is a good thing that is worth some sacrifice.
Posted by giffy on March 12, 2012 at 9:41 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 10
Fucking hell. Lets just erect a six story glass box over the whole fucking city and be done with it.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on March 12, 2012 at 10:07 PM · Report this
LEE. 11

And when we all live in this "good", densely populated city, what will we do with our time besides working to pay for our exorbitant rents?
Posted by LEE. on March 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM · Report this
Yes, because our choices are 'touch nothing' or 'destroy everything'.

Posted by giffy on March 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM · Report this
@7 who cares if its historic or not. Its a great venue. Go fuck yourself.
I've been to more awesome shows at the funhouse than anywhere else.
Posted by Chester Copperpot on March 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM · Report this
derek_erdman 14
And there's a 99.9% chance that the next location won't have a fucking basketball court.
Posted by derek_erdman on March 12, 2012 at 11:04 PM · Report this
California Kid 15
There is too much bar space in lower QA anyways since the city let the Sonics and T-birds go for a bag of beans
Posted by California Kid on March 12, 2012 at 11:05 PM · Report this
LEE. 16

No, the third choice is leave shit that I like alone. This isn't some altruistic developer trying to make the city more accomadating. This is greed. The owners of the property can make dozens of times more money if the land is used for multi-occupant condos than a club and a few offices.
Posted by LEE. on March 12, 2012 at 11:07 PM · Report this
I'm not sure where the Mad Assshat is getting his info. This has been an active location since the 1940's.
Posted by IDontHaveAnAccount on March 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM · Report this
Spookytoof 18
The building itself actually IS historic. That's gonna be looked into as well. It is easy for these people that are saying "make a little sacrifice for a better future" because they are not the ones doing the sacrificing. They are not the ones losing not only a current loved establishment, but one that holds years of great memories. It's the thriving art and music community (that make it such an attractive place to live for yuppies) have been doing almost ALL of the sacrificing over the years. It sometimes feels like Seattle has a war on fun or something. All that aside, while people that just moved here, don't go out to places like that or simply don't care either way won't miss the place and probably would be happy to see it go, I just want to remind you that there are many, MANY other bland, clean and quieter places in Seattle for you to choose from when you want to go out and discuss what type of business cards you just had made, but for those of us who love live music, most of our options have been stripped away over the last couple decades. Expect a fight.
Posted by Spookytoof on March 12, 2012 at 11:15 PM · Report this
Money always wins...
Posted by sinibaldi on March 12, 2012 at 11:22 PM · Report this
@18 Wait, so what about the owner who is losing tons of projected revenue from not selling the property? Why precisely does your desire for a live venue strip the owner of his property rights? The owners themselves claim they knew there was a 50/50 chance they'd lose their lease. Or because he's an "owner" his property rights don't matter? This isn't some fucking class war, or that the only two options are "bland, clean, and quiet" and "keep whatever exists that I like."

There are plenty of places I love in this city that I would weep to see go, but that doesn't mean when something I love loses its lease because the owner of the property decides they would prefer to do something else with their property that I act as if it's anything more than someone choosing what they want to do with their property. Again, this isn't the Blue Moon, where there was an offer to buy that was rejected.

I just call bullshit on a paper--and its broad readership--that decries NIMBYism and thinks many should sacrifice for density to piss and moan when something they like is going to get the axe. Does it suck? Yes. Is it some travesty? No. Shit changes. Welcome to a city. Or, fuck, if you want your dive bars to never succumb to gentrification, I guess we could always go back to Seattle circa 1980. That's be awesome.
Posted by Madasshatter on March 12, 2012 at 11:40 PM · Report this
Whenever you run a business in a property that you don't own, you open yourself to this. It's amazing that it lasted ten years given the location and development trends. But, if there's really a demand for Funhouse-style punk rock, then they'll find another rental space.
Posted by tiktok on March 12, 2012 at 11:42 PM · Report this
kimpunkrock 22
Can someone please explain how making more over-priced high rent mixed unit condos in that area is for the greater good? Giffy's comments are completely off base. None of this is for the greater good! If they were planning on tearing it down and building low income based housing then maybe, but there are TONS AND TONS AND TONS of empty mixed unit overpriced dwellings with underground parking in capitol hill and in seattle in general. NONE of this is for the greater good and anyone that would say that is completely out of touch with what is going on not only in this city, but the country and the world. We dont need anymore mixed unit high rise with underground parking that no one can afford buildings in downtown seattle, all over capitol hill there are units like this that get some place torn down and then either never get up OR it takes years and years and years to get them up.

Hey Giffy the only thing this is good for is the carpetbagging New World Order profiteers who all ready have too much money as it is. PLUS this building has been around and used as a bar for over 70 years. You are so out of touch with reality.
Posted by kimpunkrock on March 12, 2012 at 11:43 PM · Report this
LEE. 23

Please please please tell me some of your favorite locales so I can write the property owners and explain to them that they'd be better off replacing those street-level businesses with condos. Since you think it's wrong to fight these kind of things, I hope you remain intellectually honest here and just let the whole development roll over.

If your favorite place happens to like a library, that's cool too. I can vote to defund that fucker since I technically own the property and would be better served by it being a highrise.

Finally, a preemptive fuck you to anyone who wants to call out my strawmanning. This isn't Slog. People who actually post about things in Line Out are usually vested in things discussed here first hand. We don't have the patience for your little fencing matches.
Posted by LEE. on March 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM · Report this
kimpunkrock 24
@#20----You are so off base, this is about class warfare, make no mistake about it. Tearing down a place that offers CHEAP drinks and CHEAP entertainment to replace it with an OVER-PRICED mixed unit dwellings that those that are not in the higher levels of the middle class and upward can afford. This is all about moving out the poor to accommodate the upper class. The more we throw away our heritage, be it guns, buildings, the way we grow our food on farm land, etc etc etc, the more we lose and the more the rich, new world order eugenicists make everything squeaky clean and new for only themselves to enjoy while the rest of us get swallowed up and slowly murdered by the poison they feed us on a daily basis. there is no surprise that the McDonalds will be allowed to stay.

Car buy backs, when the govts buys older junk cars takes automobiles out of the hands of the poor who can only afford to buy these older beat cars that the govt wants you to hand in, to gun bay backs that have completely destroyed our firearm heritage which this country was founded on and if you cant handle that fact that go to nazi germany where you werent allowed to own a gun. All over the place the elite and rich that run this country want to destroy and get rid of the heritage of this country so we cant remember where we have been and where we have come from so we accept their New World order tyranny because we cant remember anything else but this new system they set up to destroy the old system of freedom based on what the founding fathers set up. I know those with an intellect can tell where I am going with this. Make no mistake this is a war, the rich upper class elite against every one else and the middle class better get with it because in their idea of a New America, there is no place for the middle class. just the super class of the rich elite and everyone else ie--their slaves.
Posted by kimpunkrock on March 12, 2012 at 11:58 PM · Report this
I've been going to Zaks and the Funhouse for MORE than ten years. A paint job and a new name later, this is the oldest surviving punk club. Show your support and attend the meeting.
Posted by JewelieGhoulie on March 13, 2012 at 12:04 AM · Report this
There's a lot of condo apologism here. I sure bet developers (provided you aren't, yourselves...) sure would love to know people here are creating justifications for their personal profits. Meanwhile, local venues leased to poorer business owners and local housing rented by poorer people get displaced to make way for rent-raising condos, and all we can do is think about the woebegone owner of the property and God knows how many other properties in the area. How the landlords must suffer. Surely we haven't seen this pattern with Manray and bar after bar, perfectly usable apartment building after apartment building.... Surely it's not more environmentally friendly, never mind friendlier to people who currently live in the area, to keep existing buildings rather than destroying them from under their feet and recently mined and clear-cut resources to build a new one....
Posted by ocelot on March 13, 2012 at 12:45 AM · Report this
A bit of info FWIW: county and state records suggest the owners controlling the property in trust are heirs to the Joe Diamond parking empire and Bill Weisfield, who keeps a low profile but is beyond well connected. If after renting to Zak's and then Funhouse for a couple decades they've decided it's time to sell to apartment builders (or what I figure they'll do - use an LLC to buy the property next door and build the apartments themselves), it could be hard to shake them on it. On the other hand, who the fuck knows.

Best of luck.
Posted by gloomy gus on March 13, 2012 at 12:57 AM · Report this
djh 28
White folks problems.
Posted by djh on March 13, 2012 at 1:00 AM · Report this
@3 I agree. Being a Seattle ex-pat in Bed-Stuy (do or die) Brooklyn we got to watch much beloved blocks/buildings razed for condos that no one can afford. They sit empty, if they even get completed at all.
Posted by HDCase on March 13, 2012 at 1:31 AM · Report this
mackro 30
Again, I ask: who thinks it's a good idea to make condos where:
* there's a monorail right there, feet from the windows
* a pernicious Filet-o-Fish stink from the neighboring McDonald's and all the drive thru traffic exhaust that comes with it
* a Ride The Ducks tourist center

The only thing that makes sense if this is Ride The Fucks themselves buying this.
Posted by mackro on March 13, 2012 at 1:51 AM · Report this
ChadK 31
@ 7 - "Maybe if development, development, and urban planning were about flows rather than stocks, you'd have a point."

So you mean to say that another pressed wood condo block with tanning/nail salons and maybe a Subway franchise is an adequate replacement to what presently exists there?
Boy oh boy, Seattle is just dying for another one of those...
Posted by ChadK on March 13, 2012 at 2:14 AM · Report this
Matthew 'Anc' Johnson 32
On the one hand you say that 'the rich' want to destroy our farmland, but then argue that Seattle should hang out a no vacancy sign.

How many acres of Kent Valley farmland would you have to take to put 120 McMansions? How many acres of forest up in Snoqualmie?
Posted by Matthew 'Anc' Johnson on March 13, 2012 at 4:28 AM · Report this
I thought the hipster community had already moved to Georgetown, why is everyone getting their panties in a knot over this?
Posted by jeffinfremont on March 13, 2012 at 6:32 AM · Report this
who wants to live in a condo full of PUNK POLTERGEISTS!!!
Posted by soggydan on March 13, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 35
@33: I think the Funhouse is just slightly too crusty to appeal to hipsters.
Posted by undead ayn rand on March 13, 2012 at 8:49 AM · Report this
Beyond angry and sad.

Maybe Funhouse and Chop Suey could merge into one new space?
Posted by Kelly O on March 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
diminished 37
is chop suey on the way out too? man this hits home. by far my favorite place to see music in seattle since the crocodile (new one is too posh) and rckcndy went down. this breaks my heart. reading the article it sounds like its a done deal and the meeting is just to weigh in on design details?

for all you who don't seem to give a shit, what you don't understand is that place has history, it is a community, its a jumping off point for bands, a place where anytime i go i see a lot of the same faces, where no matter whats going on in my life i can go and have fun. how about we fill up the condos we have that are sitting empty and then talk about tearing out seattle institutions. cause from where i sit we've lost a lot of the shit that makes seattle an awesome place to live and its time to stop the bleeding.
Posted by diminished on March 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Simone 38
I never really like the clown sign but I too am very sad to see the place get turned into overpriced empty condos and store fronts.
Posted by Simone on March 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Again for anyone wanting to fight this, a Belltown apartment tower announcement in this morning's paper got me wondering about the scale of the holdings of the Funhouse's owner. I did a little digging and she owns either outright or in trust (as with the Funhouse - Weisfield is the trustee) about $250 million in properties around town. Look, a member of the Mitt Romney quarter-billionaire club.

She's cheeseball parking lot emperor Joe Diamond's daughter Diane Foreman. Among her other properties is the entire rest of Second Ave between Stewart and Virginia across from the Moore, just north of this thing about to be built.…

Here's a profile of the family real estate business.…
Posted by gloomy gus on March 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
This isn't capitol hill, why does anyone care?
Posted by touristville on March 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Seriously...I can't think of a more inconvenient part of town for a punk rock club, save for maybe el corazon's location.

Face it. The Funhouse is out of its element where it lives now. Let it go. It will move to a better location I'm sure.

Look at it this way,, all those yuppies we all hate so much that are buying/renting on capitol hill will have another option instead of our precious precious neighborhood. Remember we don't want anyone to live in who looks dresses acts thinks drinks differently than us to live among us!!
Posted by withoutanaccount on March 13, 2012 at 12:19 PM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 42
While density is good (I shed NO TEARS for that building on 11th and Union, good riddance), the Funhouse is a pretty vital part of Seattle's arts and music scene. I don't know what we'd do without it. It's been around ten years, but it's kind of a cultural pillar. That's different.
Posted by icouldliveinhope on March 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Hernandez 43
You can be pro-density and against this project.

Density is more than just cramming as many housing units as possible into the urban core. The other prong of density is providing plenty of amenities for the people you want to move in. That's not just grocery stores and hardware stores, it's entertainment and cultural amenities as well. Like the Funhouse.

Adding housing at the expense of amenities is density done wrong. You need both or it doesn't work.
Posted by Hernandez on March 13, 2012 at 1:22 PM · Report this
J. Burns 44
@43 just bodybagged this comment thread.
Posted by J. Burns on March 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Baconcat 45
What cultural artifacts were leveled to ensure you live the life you live today? How much of Seattle is built upon the displacement of people? How many of you live in the mid-/early-century equivalent of the modern condos you're railing against today? Do any of you drive on I-5 which uprooted entire neighborhoods? Any of you live in Bellevue which is partly built on land stolen from Japanese farmers?

It's fine to be all about saving something you enjoy but digging hard for bullshit justifications to back up an understandable apprehension toward this project is just plain stupid.

Not wanting to see something that brings you joy taken away from you is totally fine on its own. I think the sentiment speaks well enough on its own.
Posted by Baconcat on March 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM · Report this
Fuckin transplants have and continue to destroy my city. Piss off you pretentious wine sipping bitches. Go back to where you came from and take your shit mixed use buildings with you. Seattle was better without you.

Oh ya and we had Rainier beer before we had fucking starfucks you shitbirds.
Posted by bsnub on March 13, 2012 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Fucking transplants have and continue to destroy my city. Piss off you pretentious whiny little bitches. Go back to where you came from and take your shit mixed use buildings with you. Seattle was better without you.

Oh ya and we had Rainier beer before we had fucking starfucks you sorry shitbirds.
Posted by bsnub on March 13, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
LEE. 48

the first few dickhole comments put everyone on the defensive. of course not wanting to see something you love demolished should be reason enough to try to save most circumstances, but not on this blog, not with these assholes.
Posted by LEE. on March 13, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this

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