The Cafe

Speakeasy Cafe Original Logo

The Cafe was not only an epicenter for the community, it served as the de facto hang out of the Speakeasy Crew.

Here are some of the stories that made the Cafe such a unique place.


Hypnotizing Chickens

Hypnotizing Chickens

One day, I was walking from the Pike Place Market to our apartment in Belltown. On the way, there

Press: Coffee And A Few Bytes — Internet Cafes Serve Up New Ways To Get Wired, Blending Technology, Community And Entertainment

Press: Coffee And A Few Bytes — Internet Cafes Serve Up New Ways To Get Wired, Blending Technology, Community And Entertainment

After months of wielding jackhammers, running cable, wrangling 2 x 4’s into actual furniture

The Whole Internet Guide and Catalog

The Whole Internet Guide and Catalog

The day my girlfriend left for school back east, a friend took me out to cheer me up. He brought

Press: Art Of The Net — I-Music Offers Internet’s First Live Gallery Opening

Press: Art Of The Net — I-Music Offers Internet’s First Live Gallery Opening

Roderick and Anisa Romero of Sky Cries Mary hold the first live-streamed art gallery opening,

Tripping Out on Coffee

Tripping Out on Coffee

I worked regular shifts in the cafe for some time, which I enjoyed in the extreme. I also got to

Press: Dramatic Additions — New Performance Spaces Are Springing Up In Unlikely Places

Press: Dramatic Additions — New Performance Spaces Are Springing Up In Unlikely Places

As Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood begins to be revitalized, Speakeasy’s backroom

Infamous Alleyways

Infamous Alleyways

I’ve been a bass player in a few Seattle bands over the years, and back in the day I used to

Press: Cyberspace, Real Life Merge For A Day — Internet Users View Images From 500 Sites Around Globe

Press: Cyberspace, Real Life Merge For A Day — Internet Users View Images From 500 Sites Around Globe

In 1996, it wasn’t hard to dub your event ‘the largest collaborative Internet event

Press: Music Creates The Mood For Silent-Movie Series

Press: Music Creates The Mood For Silent-Movie Series

Speakeasy’s backroom theater was host to not only live performances, but to a wide variety

Press: Coffee and Quick Bytes – Asia Times

Press: Coffee and Quick Bytes – Asia Times

Our press coverage even went as far afield as the Asia Times.

Rolling Kegs with Humans in the Way

Rolling Kegs with Humans in the Way

I loved my early days working weekend nights at the Speakeasy Cafe, behind the bar in a packed

Press: A Dose Of Culture — You’ll Find Art, Theater And More In The Heart Of The City

Press: A Dose Of Culture — You’ll Find Art, Theater And More In The Heart Of The City

“People are starting to live here again. As opposed to in the past where people leave

Press: X Marks the Spot for Low-Key Sales – Nation’s Business

Press: X Marks the Spot for Low-Key Sales – Nation’s Business

The cafe was featured in a business review newspaper, focusing on the low pressure sales approach

Didgeridoo, with Jam

Didgeridoo, with Jam

It was one of the most musical improvisation sessions I have participated in.

Press: Gathering ‘Round a Virtual Campfire – The Christian Science Monitor

Press: Gathering ‘Round a Virtual Campfire – The Christian Science Monitor

Speakeasy was the focus of an article by the Christian Science Monitor in May 1996.

Handwritten Resumes

Handwritten Resumes

I asked to talk to the manager and this short, attractive, direct woman in cutoff jeans and a

Press: Monk in the Cell – Der Spiegel

Press: Monk in the Cell – Der Spiegel

The cafe was featured in a piece by Der Spiegel in June of 1996.

Press: Smaller Films, Videos Find A Showcase At Speakeasy

Press: Smaller Films, Videos Find A Showcase At Speakeasy

One of the ways that Speakeasy connected with the arts community in Seattle was to provide a space

SST #1

SST #1

At the young age of 15 I attended an alternative school by the name of Puget Sound Community

Superfan Turned Crew

Superfan Turned Crew

I had always been a super-fan, lived in Ballard, came to Belltown all the time, used the,

Edward, Enchanted

Edward, Enchanted

I first met Mike and Gretchen when I was 18 and came in to the Cafe via my volunteer work with

Press: Linux Journal Interviews Mike Apgar, Speakeasy Cafe

Press: Linux Journal Interviews Mike Apgar, Speakeasy Cafe

Speakeasy was conceived around March of 1994. The main impetus was that while the Internet was

Workin’ Girls

Workin’ Girls

It was the most relaxed work environment I’ve ever experienced and we always had a blast.

Feats of Derring-Do

Feats of Derring-Do

Belltown Killer was organized by myself and Adrienne Dailey. The participants (around 30 in the

The Final Song of Buddy Rose

The Final Song of Buddy Rose

Here’s my Killer saga; I was mercilessly taken out by Vain’s owner, Victoria Gentry.

Tickling the Ivories

Tickling the Ivories

One of my new roommates brought me down to the Speakeasy Cafe one night after Bumbershoot in early

From NetDesk to VP

From NetDesk to VP

I started off doing tech support in the evenings on the weekend and found I had a lot of

Children Have the Right to Music

Children Have the Right to Music

The Speakeasy Cafe had become a popular destination in the area, particularly for all-age fans of

Press: Blue law meanies ruin a business that was an institution

Press: Blue law meanies ruin a business that was an institution

“The Speakeasy has been really glorious,” says Gretchen Apgar. “From the

JAMPAC Benefit Screening – L7: The Beauty Process

JAMPAC Benefit Screening – L7: The Beauty Process

Founded by former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, JAMPAC was focused on fighting several anti

Press: Local Nightclub Owners: Music To Their Ears

Press: Local Nightclub Owners: Music To Their Ears

“It ruined us,” said co-owner Gretchen Apgar. “You spend two-and-a-half years

On Loan from the Wall of Sound

On Loan from the Wall of Sound

I adored that we had a record exchange going with Wall of Sound records across the street.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Work Hard, Play Hard

While working at Speakeasy, I also had the privilege of performing in a play on the Speakeasy Cafe

Press: Nader for Prez!

Press: Nader for Prez!

The Speakeasy Cafe hosted a fundraiser for the Green Party presidential hopeful, Ralph Nader.

Giddy and Free

Giddy and Free

There are too many memories! There were a lot of good times, but the best times were spent in

Put it in Juakeem’s Box

Put it in Juakeem’s Box

At some point during my tenure as a barista, I became the curator of the cafe’s music

LANsanity

LANsanity

Introverts from all over converged for LANsanity, a Quake 3 tournament with DJs, beer, and a $1

We All Pulled Together

We All Pulled Together

I always loved the old building(s) we were in, but being in the 2nd Ave office during the

Press: 21 Dog Years – Timely look inside Amazon.com

Press: 21 Dog Years – Timely look inside Amazon.com

Mike Daisey’s breakthrough work, 21 Dog Years, debuted in Speakeasy’s Backroom theater

The Fire

The Fire

On the evening of May 18th, 2001, one of the cornerstones of Speakeasy’s ideology,,

As the Windows Above Us Exploded

As the Windows Above Us Exploded

The rising air made the steel door to the staircase rattle like someone was trying to escape. When

Feeling Less Helpless, Together

Feeling Less Helpless, Together

A memory that stands out is getting a phone call from a night shift tech telling me that the cafe

The Angel of Belltown

The Angel of Belltown

About a year after the fire, Tom and I moved to the building next door to the old Speakeasy Cafe.