Downtown Olympia’s Urban Onion to close

An Olympia fixture for more than 40 years, adjacent to Sylvester Park in the heart of downtown, the Urban Onion Lounge is closing its doors by the end of the month.

The restaurant and bar will host a Christmas Eve Eve party on Dec. 23 as a farewell. On Facebook, bar manager Dan Osborne called the party “more like a funeral, sadly,” but added that the hope is to gather people together to share some last drinks. There will also be shows at the bar on Dec. 26 and 27.

The restaurant has a space in the Hotel Olympian building, also home to other businesses and some apartments. The building was purchased by California-based Preservation Partners Management Group.

The property manager and the Urban Onion were not able to agree on lease terms. Osborne said it was a situation where the new ownership “very forwardly made it impossible for the (Urban Onion) to continue (operating).”

Osborne is sad to see the restaurant close, and said a new location is a possibility. He shared the news of the closing in a Dec. 20 Facebook post. It racked up 174 shares, many from people lamenting the closing of the lounge.

“I have loved MORE THAN LIFE being an Urban Onion bartender, with all its hills and valleys, and I never dreamt I’d have so many incredibly lovely people I can call my friends,” Osborne wrote in his Facebook post.

The stage inside of the restaurant was home to karaoke, drag shows, and musical acts. Osborne told South Sound he emphasized that the Urban Onion was a community space. It was a well-known and respected gay bar, but it was a place the entire Olympia community.

“It really served as the living room of the downtown gay community,” Osborne said. “I made efforts though to stress that it was a ‘diversity’ bar. Just two weeks ago, I had 20 Hells Angels sharing cocktails with drag queens. All smiles and taking pictures.”

The last day of service is Sunday, Dec. 27.

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is a staff writer at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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