Café Racer gets its name from the spirit of the iconic DIY motorcycles Café Racers were particularly associated with the urban Rocker or "Ton-Up Boys" youth subculture, where the bikes were used for short, quick rides between popular cafés, such as London's Ace Café on the North Circular ring road, and Watford's Busy Bee café. Young men were eager to buy cast-off motorcycles and modify them into café racers, which for them represented speed, status and rebellion.
Café Racer embraces that spirit of DIY invention, passion, and rebellion. We celebrate the musicians who imagine and create that sounds that define a generation.
Cafe Racer first opened in 2004 as Lucky Dog Espresso. Since that time, many changes—including name and ownership—have taken place. The current owners, Cindy Anne & Jeff Ramsey took over in January 2018.
"As Seattle continues on its path of gentrification, it’s important to us as Seatlleites to help iconic places like Cafe Racer stay alive," says now owner Jeff Ramsey.
Racer has long been home to Seattle artists of all mediums. The atmosphere fosters creativity. On any given day you'll find musicians, muralists, illustrators, writers, and performers of all kinds shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar or deep in conversation in the OBAMA Room.
Every night of the week features live entertainment. From our Artists in Residence series every Wednesday to Seattle’s innovative DIY bands and rising stars to Avant Garde Jazz on Sunday evenings.
And what would an art bar in Seattle be without a bad art museum? The Official Bad Art Museum of Art, aka the OBAMA Room, is a collection of bad art curated by two beloved Seattle artists, Jo David and Marlow Harris.
On March 16th, 2020 by order of the Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington State, Cafe Racer was forced to close our doors due to the CORONA Virus. During the closure one our genius regulars Dan Theisen, came up with the brilliant idea to create a Cafe Racer online radio station. We were committed from day one to keep the vision of Cafe Racer relevant. Dan set about creating the platform and we began gathering the music. On September 1st , 2020 we launched Cafe Racer Radio. The station featured many artists who have graced our stage. Over the coming months, we will continued to fill out our library with the support of Easy Street Records and local record labels like Sub Pop, Barsuk, Youth Riot etc., we built a comprehensive and historical library of music (40,000 songs so far) from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Bellingham and all over Washington State.. Additionally we added DJ curated shows, spoken word, storytelling, live streaming and interviews. Stay tuned for updates as we have them. Keep the music alive!
Café Racer is more than a venue, it’s a community, it’s a mission, it’s a celebration all the brilliance that is Seattle’s thriving DIY music scene!
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