A popular jazz bar is leaving a small gated community in Issaquah and heading for Bellevue’s night scene.
Bake’s Place will host is last show at Providence Point in mid-February, reopening in downtown Bellevue in late March.
The new Bake’s Place location has been a 12-year dream for Craig Baker, who started the club in his Redmond basement. Inspired by Seattle’s Jazz Alley, he wanted something similar on the Eastside.
With 110 seats, the new location almost doubles its Issaquah seating, but Baker plans to continue creating the intimate setting that attracts so many people today.
He chose Bellevue because of it’s vibrant night life on the weekends, he said. “Bellevue has a lot of really good restaurants, but there aren’t a lot of music venues like us.”
Rules in the gated community at Providence Point have required Bake’s Place to shut down at 10:30 p.m., about the same time some people start going out, he says.
By expanding hours into the early morning hours in Bellevue, he hopes to attract crowds of young people who often are out and about looking for entertainment.
While construction isn’t complete on the new space, located next to Seastar Restaurant on Northeast Second Street and 108th Avenue Northeast, it will have a mezzanine above a bar. He’s also planning a moody, rich atmosphere with all new furnishings.
Baker plans to expand from three evenings a week to six days, including lunch and dinner. Busy nights would have two shows, one for his customers used to his current hours and one for the late night crowds.
The larger space and open schedule are likely to draw in some of the same names as Jazz Alley, he said.
Bake’s Place will still focus on jazz music, but include a more eclectic blend of performers, including styles such as Latin, R&B, big bands and swing.
Baker asked young chef Chris Peterson, who is known for his time at Bis on Main and Campagne at Pike Place, to partner with him in the new jazz spot. Together they’re building a new kitchen and a new menu.
While the food is going to see a major upgrade, it’s still all about building a respectful atmosphere for artists, he said. “Our focus has always been creating a listening room.”
Issaquah Reporter staff writer Celeste Gracey can be reached at 425-391-0363, ext. 5052.
Laura and Craig Baker will take Bake’s Placeto Bellevue in late March. COURTESY PHOTO