Yesterday, Capitol Hill-bound Elliott Bay Book Company sold its last tome at its now-former Pioneer Square location. News accounts concerning Elliott Bay's farewell note that a successor for the space has yet to be secured. However, Seattle Weekly has learned that two local entrepreneurs have a deal in place to open what they're calling a "bikini bookseller" in the space, which will be licensed like a strip club and feature an all-female staff prepared to engage in "sexy librarian role playing" amidst the stacks in order to entice customers into purchasing the works of Tolstoy and Steinbeck.
"If the brick and mortar book business is going to weather the Amazon storm, it's going to take true innovation," says Barry Henthorn, a former telecommunications executive and basketball booster whose latest venture involves coffee carts featuring scantily-clad baristas. "And there's nothing more innovative than a Tina Fey lookalike grinding on a guy's crotch in front of the Biographies section."
Henthorn's partner in the new nightclub/bookstore will be Bob Davis, who at one time intended to turn Cyndy's Pancake House on Aurora into a pole-dancing emporium, and who clearly still hopes to take advantage of the city's forced relaxation of its strip club moratorium.
"This is just a better idea than what I wanted to do with the pancake place," concedes Davis. "In all honesty, putting both maple syrup and baby oil dispensers on the same table always posed a bit of a health inspection quandary."
Henthorn, who, in spite of some controversy, has achieved great success with his bikini barista shacks, says the club--dubbed The Fun Also Rises--will open May 1. He and Davis plan to use the bookstore's ample balcony space as a VIP area, called The Leather Bound Addition, where clients must disrobe and read at wooden desks while being flogged by a comely team of "hardbacks."
Somewhat surprisingly, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce President Phil Bussey says he's keeping an open mind about the venture. "Strip clubs are legitimate businesses in this city, and bookstores have long been part of Seattle's cultural fabric," explains Bussey. "Does the former denigrate the latter, or does the latter elevate the former? We'll have to wait and see, but there's no reason not to maintain a tone of cautious optimism for the time being. Plus, it's Pioneer Square. Who really cares what goes on down there?"
Mayor Mike McGinn says he's also cool with The Fun Also Rises, provided they provide bike racks and showers for employees. Oh, there'll be showers.