“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Seattle in King County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)

Speakeasy Café

Speakeasy Café Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, October 24, 2016
1. Speakeasy Café Marker
Inscription.  Just like that - it was gone. An electrical fire gutted the building at Second Avenue and Bell Street on May 18, 2001, putting an end to a storied Belltown place. Constructed in 1925 as the Seattle Taxicab Company headquarters and garage, the two-story brick warehouse was designed by architect Louis Svarz (1886-1976). It was home to various taxicab and auto-related companies through the 194os. During the next several decades it housed theater operator, Higgins Amusement Company, and Pacific Auto Rebuild. Seattle’s original Display & Costume Supply occupied the space during the 1970s and 80s. Seattle Building Salvage moved in during the early 1990s. The historic 211 Billiards Club occupied the second floor from 1987.

In 1995, Mike Apgar, his wife Gretchen and his brother Tyler opened the Speakeasy Café. It was Seattle’s first internet café and one of the first in the United States. The Café brought together coffee, culture and computers with a mission to “provide a service that is not simply entertaining, but educational, enlightening, and most of all empowering.” The Café housed a cocktail bar, an get gallery
Speakeasy Café Marker - Wide View image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, October 24, 2016
2. Speakeasy Café Marker - Wide View
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and a small experimental performance space. The civic and artistic hub in the re-emerging Belltown neighborhood, it was a place for tech workers, artists, poets and musicians. The 2001 fire sped up the inevitable, times were changing and the Café was set to close. The building was demolished in 2005, and in its place stands 206 Bell, a commercial and residential building that opened in June 2013.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEducationIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical date for this entry is May 18, 2001.
Location. 47° 36.863′ N, 122° 20.759′ W. Marker is in Seattle, Washington, in King County. Marker is at the intersection of 2nd Avenue and Bell Street, on the left when traveling south on 2nd Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Seattle WA 98121, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Austin A. Bell Building (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Belltown Pan (about 400 feet away); Fire Bell No. 4 (about 600 feet away); Guiry/Schillestad Buildings (approx. 0.2 miles away); Crystal Pool (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bell Street Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Why Are the Piers Angled? (approx. ¼ mile away); Bell Street Terminal, Pier 66 (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Seattle.
Also see . . .
1. Seattle's Speakeasy Cafe burns on May 18, 2001 (, Alyssa Burrows)
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. On the evening of May 18, 2001, the Belltown internet cafe, the Speakeasy, burns. The upper story of the building at 2nd Avenue and Bell Street is completely consumed in the two-alarm blaze, and the ground floor cafe is heavily damaged. Besides establishing a pioneer outpost on the Internet for those without computers, the Speakeasy also housed a bar, an art gallery, and a small, experimental performance space. Initial investigation targeted an overheated power cord being used to renovate the upper floor to house staff of Speakeasy Network. (Submitted on November 15, 2016.) 

2. Speakeasy Burns - Will Popular Internet Cafe Rise from the Ashes? (The Stranger, 5/24/2001). (Submitted on November 15, 2016.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 15, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 15, 2016, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. This page has been viewed 421 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 15, 2016, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California.

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Feb. 6, 2023