The Little Venue That Could

September 29, 2016
By Tamara Thomson

The old brick building residing at 1325 East Madison has seen many things come and go in its 79 years on Capitol Hill. This historic space which at one point housed an auto parts shop has almost seamlessly over the years turned itself into one of Seattle’s oldest and most beloved music venue’s and watering holes. This story start’s back in 1997 when a Wisconsin native by the name of Trish Timmers decided to open a music venue and bar at this location called “The Breakroom”. The success was almost instant for Timmers and the venue after securing such acts as: Murder City Devils, Elliott Smith, The Melvins, Sleater Kinney and many, many more. After a great couple years run, it was then time for Timmers to move on and the venue was sold in 2002 to Jeff Ofelt and Wade Weigel (owners of the Cha Cha Lounge, Bimbo’s Bitchin Burrito and many other Seattle institutions). It was then that this space would receive the name it still carries to this day,Chop Suey.

img_1939Chop Suey has a few pin balls machines and it’s very own photobooth machine.

The new owners turned the old Breakroom into an Asian Themed Bar that hosts live, local music and equipped it with its very own small side bar called the Dragon’s Lounge. After a few years running Chop Suey the duo decided it was then time to sell and the space was then purchased in 2009 by a Japanese company that owned a live music venue in Tokyo called K’s Dream. By August of 2014 they decided to bring their investment to an end and Chop Suey was once again up for sale. With the fate of the space unknown at this time it looked as if it may be closing its doors for good this time. That is until the owners of L.A.s Escondite and Bar 107: Brianna Rettig, Brian Houch and Erin Carnes decided they weren’t quite ready to see it go and decided to take over this much loved venue in early 2015.

img_1927The brand new Den.

The new ownership had many changes in store for Chop Suey including an extensive interior renovation that included a brand new state of the art sound system. They also revamped the club’s secondary bar The Dragon’s Lounge by adding a stage for smaller acts, a new bar top was installed with adequate seating and they even changed the name from Dragon Lounge to The Den. With events taking place almost daily now the new owners also started offering Happy Hour in the Den Monday thru Friday from 4-8 p.m. Food is now served daily too with items on the menu like: fried pickles, mozzarella sticks, a long list of sandwiches and burgers including their signature The Jimmy Hendrix-6 oz. patty topped with grilled mushrooms and onions, fried jalapenos and deep fried cream cheese. Fortunately for us the music has stayed the same so you can still find a mix of local, underground, rock, hip-hop and electronic show’s throughout the week’s line-ups which is really why we fell in love with Chop Suey in the first place.

img_1929 The Den is equipped with it’s very own small stage. Great for smaller shows and DJ nights.