Yes, the rumors are true.
The Lobby Bar on 916 E. Pike is closing on November 22nd while the owners, Curtis Bigelow and Paul Villa, search for a new location to continue serving our community.
After five years in business, the close is not due to a lack of profit or interest. The landlords of the building made a deal with another company over a year ago to acquire the space and the lot next to year for approximately $9,000 more a month than what the Lobby bar was currently paying. The landlords did not inform the owners of Lobby were not notified that they wouldn’t be able to sign a new lease until recently, leaving them no choice but to go on hiatus.
While disappointed in our landlord’s utter lack of respect, we would much prefer all of you to recall all that we have accomplished in the last five years. Curtis and Paul started out as two entrepreneurs that admittedly knew little about running a bar and, with the help of GM Dave Orton, turned Lobby into one of the most successful establishments on Capitol Hill (that would continue to flourish if the circumstances were different).
Curtis and Paul have allowed for a staff full of artists, chefs, stylists, photographers, writers, musicians, actors, etc. to have flexible schedules so that they might pursue their dreams and become a family. Our friends, loved ones, and regulars have become extended branches of the Lobby tree we are hope to continue those build and grow those relationships during our hiatus. We would also like to thank our amazing customers who have made the Lobby Bar feel like a second home. We couldn’t have done it without you for these last five years, and we wouldn’t have wanted to.
Wherever we go, we’ll continue the mission we started five years ago, to LOBBY and support LGBT causes and organizations. We’re proud of our record and being the go-to space for significant events like the repeal of DADT (pictures of that night are on display at the MOHAI), approval of R74, and the repeal of DOMA (we joined the amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court). Curtis and Paul even held events in their own home to further promote these causes.
Being here since almost Day 1, and I've seen all of the Lobby's transitions first-hand. The people I've met there and the lessons I've learned have helped me grow in more ways than I can even fathom, and I wouldn't trade any of that for the world. These people (both staff AND customers) have supported me through break-ups, make-ups, that one time I moved to San Francisco for three weeks, and five pride weekends when all you want to do is hide in the walk-in and sob until it's over. Dave and Tyson didn't yell at me that time when I got high (off shift) and ate their entire pizza, and no one will forget the awesomeness that was all of our employee parties (though I doubt we remember all of them, either.)
I nearly cried yesterday during my final Sunday shift when I realized that some of our Sunday regulars are people that I may never see again. We will be having to endure that sort of sadness all week, which will culminate on Saturday night when we as a staff will work all together again for the last time. Unlike every other Lobby occasion, there will be a $5 cover on Saturday. All of the proceeds go to the staff as a gesture of kindness on behalf of the owners of Lobby bar. We really hope to see all of you there.
In closing, it sucks that we have to move, but things happen for a reason and we’re looking forward to a bright future.