Business, Eat

Popular Columbia City Wine Bar to Close This Month; Owners Looking for New Home (UPDATE)

Verve Bistro & Wine Bar – home of Southeast Seattle’s favorite chef Garrett Brown – has announced that they will be closing their current location in Columbia City later this month.

From owner Kate Bond:

After surviving the Great Recession and clawing our way out of debt in order to negotiate a new lease with our landlords, we received an email from them this weekend that they have decided not to renew our lease and want us to leave the premises by September 20th.

She added that they are actively looking for a new location, preferably one with ventilation and street-front visibility.

Verve’s last official dinner service will be Fri., Sept. 24.

In the meantime, all retail wines are 10% off, and all retail glassware, bottle openers, wine bags and stoppers  are 20% off.

UPDATE (9/14):

From Kate:

We have a little reprieve on our closing date.It turns out that you can’t give a twenty day vacate order over email.Apparently there are lawyerly formalities around this type of thing. You have to give it on the proper form with a signature and date.Who would have guessed that?!

Our new closing date will be Sat., Sept. 24.

We’ll be hosting a farewell party with a buffet and a suggested donation of $30 on Sun., Sept. 25, from 6-10 pm. Feel free to wear a hat.We love hats!

Verve Bistro and Wine Bar – currently located at 3820 S. Ferdinand St. in Columbia City – plans to close later this month. Photo/Rainier Valley Post

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31 comments on “Popular Columbia City Wine Bar to Close This Month; Owners Looking for New Home (UPDATE)

  1. I took an out of town guest there for brunch last week and he said it was one of the best breakfasts he has ever had.

  2. Kind of bizarre that the landlord wouldn’t allow them to renew. I guess all those high dollar South Lake Union tenants are moving to Columbia City. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the space. Perhaps Verve can move into the bottom of the Columbia City Cinema.

  3. Who owns this building? Is it Pete Lamb? What the hell? I don’t understand why anyone would want to boot Verve. They seem like ideal tenants. What a jerk.

  4. Betcha it’s got something to do with Rookie’s moving into the front of the house. Maybe they want a lease option for more space and are willing to pay more rent per square foot than Verve?

  5. Im sitting on Verve’s patio enjoying some wine. We’ve made a pact to not support the next business because tgat would be condoning Pete Lamb’s actions. No, thank you. You shouldnt be rewarded for acting like a dirtbag.

  6. I know it’s kind of mean, but i’m sort of hoping they don’t find a new tenant for the space anytime soon….greed is killing this world.

  7. @musicanimal
    Greed is killing the world (or has killed it and we just haven’t figured it out yet), but chances are if he is not renewing their lease, he probably already has a tenant or other plan for the space.

  8. that guy is a jackass – we had friends that wanted to lease the Rookies space and he was demanding too much $ per square foot and required they be open for lunch. They had big plans and were going to make it a sweet bar (sports bar too) but didn’t want to give in to his ridiculous demands. If you are leasing a space and getting the rent I’m not sure where you get off telling the tenants when they have to be open or closed.

    I hope the Verve space remains vacant for months and months just like the Rookies space did….

  9. They should move into the old Vince’s building in Rainier Beach! It would be perfect for a wine bar.

  10. I’d love to write to the owner and tell him how his actions have impact on the community. It is reprehensible to lease to someone who helps establish the area as a “go to” place and then boot them when you think you can get more money. These people were here when there were still drug dealers a block away. They lived through the hard times and the new hard times and bye-bye when times get better? Shame, Pete Lamb. Is there a website for the Lamb people? Do they care at all?

  11. Yeah I was reading about how the owner of Rookies won’t let it stay open past midnight and wants to make sure it’s family/kid friendly. I’m all for the chiren but Tasha needs a place to show out every now and again without watchful youth eyes.

  12. kids in a bar? So much for going there. I go to a bar to relax not dealing with the kiddies!

  13. Seriously. One on the reasons why the atmosphere at the Alehouse is so comfortable is because it’s 21 and up. You never have to worry about screeching kids being ignored by oblivious parents. The soft chatter of conversation and reliably good iPod selections is… aaahhhh!

  14. this frustrates and angers me. first we lose vince’s and now verve (a place we frequented at least 2-4 times a month and our go to for numerous special occasions.)

    the food is stellar as are the people who work there. who else could get such a draw around the alley way?

    these landlords, meh. i hope their bottom line suffers from these unstrategic moves.

    vince’s still remains empty.

  15. A kid friendly sprots bar, Really? Noise in a bar should be from a jukebox or people cheering on their team, not from someone’s crypod with no volume control.

    That’s what Chuckie Cheese’s is for.

  16. Perhaps we as a community need to come together to find a way to flex our community muscle? Can we influence Pete Lamb in any way? Does anyone know this person? Is he a member of the columbia city business association? It doesn’t seem community minded to push out a business that we have helped to build by eating, celebrating and spending our money there? Also, if businesses like Verve take a risk in our community do we want them pushed out in favor of the highest bidder. Are we interested in having any influence over this process? Do other communities have such influence? If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them..

  17. Would Angie’s be a good location? Seriously- it on the main street, it is small enough to be cozy (sometimes Verve seemed too large and cavernous).

    The Angie’s building looks like a tear down, though……

  18. Hi Cristina,
    I hear where you are coming from and people’s angst at losing Verve. I thought it was a nice place too. I’m not sure what Pete’s motivation in not renewing their lease was but there could be numerous reasons. I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Verve was pushed out. As with all situations there are three sides to the story, Verve’s version, Pete’s version and the truth.

    That said, my impression is that Pete has been the pioneer in Columbia City and has invested significant money in helping rejuvenate several buildings. I’m not sure but he may be the largest non corporate building owner in Columbia City. Rob Mohn, among others, is also a significant non corporate. I think both are members for the CCBA.

    In terms of exerting influence realize that Pete, Rob and the others are also small businesses that are trying hard to make a go of it. You may or may not agree with how they manage their business or their product. Overall, I believe these folks have had a tremendous positive impact on the neighborhood. And I think that they mean well. But when they decide that a different product mix is necessary or if they need to raise prices, well , that is their call.

    One point that has come up in this discussion is of particular interest. It was the requirement that Pete had in terms of business hours. It was particularly interesting in that most professionally managed shopping areas/centers require that their stores have uniform hours. While this may seem draconian, in fact it helps all the businesses drive more traffic and keeps them healthy as consumers have certainty to their shopping. In our neighborhood – particularly where Verve is – set hours and people on the street would be of tremendous benefit in helping cut down crime and increasing the walk friendliness of Columbia City.

    Hope this helps.

    Tom T

  19. I am concerned when just a small handful of people determine the fate of Columbia City. Where are the federal incentives/assistance since the city will ignore us?

  20. @ Jimmy
    FYI Pete Lamb also owns the Angie’s building. It’s in the historic district so it might be quite a while until we see some changes there.

  21. we’re so bummed about this. Verve has the best brunch in the South End! But I think they’ve always suffered from not having store-front location on Rainier. I’m always boggled on how there are lines out the door for Geraldine’s (a good square breakfast, but nothing special IMO) when Verve hits a homerun every time and is in the same price-range and is rarely full on Sunday brunch rush hour. What a loss, we always took out of town and in town guests to Verve and will be sad to lose it, there’s nowhere else in Columbia City that rivals it, IMO.

  22. I must say as a landlord/ property owner in Columbia City, I love the community and businesses making C.C. a unique and joyful experience. There has been a few here who have taken a shot at Peter Lamp wishing him harm financially.Others called out Lamb as a pioneer. I can tell you over the past few years, with this recession, the harm done has been shared by all of us. WhileI understand the frustration lossing a wonderful reastaurant/wine bar like Verve, I can’t see any benefit for Mr Lamb short or long term. We don’t know the full circumstance and I’m in no position to speculate. But I can tell you that these property owners blazed a trail in a city that still deminishes what a thriving Columbia City represents. There is at times a fine line between a successful business model and doing right by the community. Every once in a while that balance is rattled. The Cinema is a perfect example. What a loss to the community. We can only hope someone with the expertise and love for C.C. can re-establish a vibrant , thriving venture (hopefully another movie theatre) in what could be a beautiful site.
    The Verve situation, while disappointing, is likely under the current economic climate. The landowners have no safeguards, no bailouts, and no empathy for their challenges. What does hurt us all and should get more of our attention are the landlords and property owners who let their building fall apart and offer very little to the long term health of the community. Look around. It’s not hard to find. Look at some of the properties on Angeline. Place your frustrations towards those owners who have sat back while owners like Lamb or Mohn have added nothing but value to this community and take the greatest hit when times get tough. I wish Verve success (hopefully in C.C.) in securing their new location and Mr. Lamp the ability to find a new business that will embrass this very special community.

  23. @surfer1
    Nice post.
    I don’t know if it is people wishing him financial harm as much as it is people not wanting to support his decision to boot Verve. I imagine he already has a tenant lined up so it would be actually effecting the new tenant since the landlord is going to get his money one way or the other.

    I guess what I am trying to say is now-a-days people are more likely to vote with their dollar (I know I do). If I don’t like it, I don’t support it.

    Also, I was looking forward to Rookies opening until I heard “family freindly”, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against kids, just not at a bar. I will go there (unless it is why Vereve is leaving) but the 1st time I have to listen to someone’s screaming child will be my last.

  24. I went Friday night for my B-day since I had gone for brunch many times but never tried them for dinner. Not sure what happened, had to send food back, then it came back overdone so ended up not eating.

    Lucky for me I was with a couple of lovely young ladies and a couple of my boys so I still had a good time.

    Their food has always been great so I am going to go back one more time and I still hope they get another place near by.

  25. You all have been so amazing and I can’t imagine why you will not be
    a part of Columbia City’s classy city restaurents……its our loss and theirs.
    Please keep us posted.

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