Bus Stop 2.0

Seattle Metblogs visits with Gary Zinter, owner of the Bus Stop.

Bus Stop on Closing Night Before the Wrecking Ball

Bus Stop on Closing Night Before the Wrecking Ball

Bus Stop was one of the few real bars left on Capitol Hill. It wasn’t trying to be a club or a restaurant. It was just a bar: a dark, simple, small space where you could have a conversation with a total stranger and not get the heeb vibe from typical scene anxiety or desperation. The joyful combination of the uber-smart, friendly clientele comprised of an unpredictable variety of misfits and a ridiculously strong pour made the Bus Stop a home away from home for a host of regulars.

Gary Zinter was forced to close his bar at the Pine Street location in November 2007 after a hostile takeover by the Empiric Overlords of Seattle real estate.

Bus Stop is back. This fall you’ll find the bar 3 blocks north of its original location at the intersection of East Olive and East Denny Way.

What became of you and your staff after shutting down the original location of Bus Stop?

I went back to work in tech so I could afford to reopen the bar. Most of the staff went to work elsewhere but will be back! My boyfriend, Rodney Shrader, the manager of the bar, has been out of work and is now managing the build-in. Needless to say, he was a little bored till we got the go-ahead to start building in.

So when can we expect to cozy up to your bar again?

We are starting the build-in this week, actually! It should be about two months. Cross your fingers! We’ll probably do an official opening but not with a lot of hoopla. Gratefully, people are always asking when we’re re-opening, so we’ll be excited to see everyone in the place again.

Tell us about the new space? Is it near a bus stop?

We’re at 1552 E. Olive Way at Denny next door to where the Coffee Messiah used to be. Olive is turning into this new neighboorhood-y strip. Lots going on over there and not a lot of new building. The space is a great old store front, which I love. The actual bus stop is around the corner. I wanted to call it “Parking Lot” in honor of the situation with the old space. Hahaha. It was a nail salon. Some people want us to call it “Nails”.

Why was Bus Stop so successful so quickly?

We got folks coming in who weren’t part of the scenes in the other bars in the neighborhood. I think people were comfortable there!

What’s gonna be different with the new location?

Not a lot. Space is almost the same. A few design changes, but we weren’t too heavily designed last time. I hope it feels very much like the old place.

Gary Zinter, Owner

Gary Zinter, Owner

How long have you been in Seattle?

9 and a half years. Jeez!

What have you been doing all these years? Who IS Gary Zinter?

I keep reinventing myself. Like Madonna. Except with better taste later in my career. I do theater. Was an actor, then a producer, and now I’m directing more than anything else. Wish I had more time and money so I could spend more time doing it. The Bus Stop is sort of my retirement plan. Go to work at the bar and get out of the regular 9 to 5, you know?

What’s the best thing about making this bar your own business?

It really turned into a community for the regulars and the folks who helped build it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to reopen, but the closing was heartwarming, actually, and I really missed it when it was gone. I want it to be there for many, many years.
Photos by: Doug McLaughlin

3 Comments so far

  1. josh on September 10th, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

    awesome interview! I’ve been eagerly eying the papered windows ever since I saw that they were taking over that storefront.

  2. samantha on September 10th, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

    This is so exciting. I’ve missed the Bus Stop bad.

  3. not just yet… « cap to the hill (pingback) on September 12th, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

    […] – a fall christening will certainly help me with the […]

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