More than two years in development, including some recent delays, is White Center’s newest wrestling theme Lariat bar will reopen today at 4 p.m. Heaven for anything wrestling – especially the wrestling culture of the 1980s and 1990s – Lariat is adorned with memorabilia, with pictures of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Andre the Giant (whose life-size sticker picks up on the better Part of a wall behind the bar) and more. There are pinball machines and of course a mini ring.
Lariat originally opened on the evening of Saturday, November 13th, but some family matters and minor construction issues resulted in an inadvertent four-day closure. The crowd at the opening on Saturday was bigger than expected, a good indicator that Lariat fits well into the growing scene of themed bars at the White Center like the horror theme 2 fingers social and the upcoming carnivalesque unicorn.
“In the end, a lot of people showed up, like many,” said co-owner Jorge Perez of the opening on Saturday. “We had a queue in front of the door most of the night. It was just overwhelming and was fun. “
Lariat fans have been showing up for the bar since 2019 by contributing to the bar’s Kickstarter campaign and keeping the momentum going for the past two and a half years as the setbacks caused by COVID-19 piled up. The opening last Saturday marked the first time Perez met some of Lariat’s supporters in person. “It was very humiliating,” he said.
Perez owns Lariat with Stephanie Burggraf and Nate Little. The three refer to themselves as “tres luchadores,” all of whom hail from the Capitol Hill bar scene, an area of growing influence in the White Center.
Just south of West Seattle and north of Burien, the White Center is home to a Latinx population who grew as workers in King County in the 1940s moved into the area for assembly and manufacturing work in times of war. The neighborhood’s diverse population is reflected in its Latinx restaurants, markets, and small shops like that Salvadoran bakery and restaurant, longtime food truck Taqueria La Fondita, and the Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery. In 2019, The stranger documented the questionable idea of becoming a white center “The new Capitol Hill,“Especially with the opening of white-hand gay bars in the area. Add to this the highly anticipated opening of the Unicorn circus-themed bar on Capitol Hill (the bar’s second location in a sprawling 15,000-square-foot space in the center of the White Center) and the recent opening of Tomo – a new, varied gourmet experience – and it feels a bit more like the Hill these days.
Perez wants Lariat to be different. He and his wife were originally from Southern California before moving to Seattle. Perez said White Center “feels a little more like home”. You live north of the area for the time being, but he wants to get closer.
In addition to being a home for Seattle’s underserved wrestling fans, Perez wants to make Lariat a welcoming place for its neighbors. “We are very happy to be part of the neighborhood,” he said. “Not just as someone who opens a bar, but really just wants to be part of this community.”