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How to Get Down on a Monday in Seattle

One word: Motown 🎙️

August 18, 2022

📸: Photos Courtesy Motown on Monday's Robee Aquino, Bok a Bok | Hoa Hong

Mondays get a bad rap. From songs to movies to memes, we all seem to hate the day. And that’s why sometimes you just have to shake off the post-weekend slump and get down on a Monday. Party like it’s the weekend. (And for those of us who work in the service industry, Monday is the weekend.)

This Monday night party planner all takes place on Capitol Hill. It involves cats, dogs, chickens, and Motown. Who said Mondays can’t be rowdy

1

Meet up with your friends 🐈

Buster, one of the bookstore's cats, sits in a crate on a table surrounded by bookshelves
📸: Twice Sold Tales

Tonight’s main event doesn’t kick off until at least 9 pm, so start your night by relaxing and visiting some friends. Their names are EleanorLilyBusterScreamerJinx, and James, and they live in Twice Sold Tales on Harvard and Denny. It’s a place you’ll want to spend time inside, so long as you’re not allergic to cats. Because that’s what Eleanor et al. are: book-guarding cats who live inside this iconic Capitol Hill bookstore. When you come across any of these tiny tabbies going crazy on the grooming, the serotonin will hit. Hard. 

A couple of years ago, in my angsty phase, I bought Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre from Twice Sold Tales, and inside it was a hand-written recipe for carrot cake with a perfect heart at the end. Find your book with your cute little note while kittens play around you.

📍 Twice Sold Tales: 1833 Harvard Ave

This place is something out of Howl’s Moving Castle, and it’s been around for 35 years. With new books coming in almost every hour, book choices are always fresh.

 

2

Now for some pup play 🐕

Two people walk together on a path through Cal Anderson park past the iconic fountain
📸: Cal Anderson Park Alliance

After you’ve gotten drunk on knowledge at your happy hour with the cats, head to Cal Anderson Park, the heart of Capitol Hill. At just over seven acres, the park acts as its own world made up of tiny ecosystems. 

You could hang out on a bench by the volcano-shaped fountain on the park’s north end. Or you could chill on the fields east of the fountain, which also serve as the neighborhood’s unofficial off-leash dog area. It’s Seattle so you’ll see the usual suspects; I’m talking Corgis named Oliver, Huskies named Luna, or Shiba Inus named Mochi. You might even mosey over to the turf at Bobby Morris Playfield. A popular pick. There are always at least twenty different things going on but they usually peacefully coexist. 

📍 Cal Anderson Park: 1635 11th Ave

If you hang out on the turf at Bobby Morris Playfield, beware of flying balls. The sports kind.

 

Hot tip 👚

Sometimes, especially during sunny days, you can find a mini outdoor thrift shop on the park’s south end. The vendors are super nice. Say hey. 

3

Put an egg on it 🍜

Photo of ramen from Betsu Ten Jin
📸: Betsutenjin Ramen

The sun is starting to set. You should probably grab some food. There are so many good things to eat in Capitol Hill, but today I’m recommending Betsutenjin for ramen. Just a straight shot south down 10th Ave E, the walk is as easy as getting a table. The setup is a nod to traditional ramen shops in Japan, with curtains to separate tables.

I don’t like picking favorites but the Hakata-style ramen is probably the star of the show. It’s creamy but light. The milky broth is flavorful, never salty. Just the right amount of richness. The experience becomes top-tier if you also grab some gyozas and buttery lobster salad.

📍 Betsutenjin Ramen: 954 E Union St #102

Open until 2 am. Last call for orders is at 1:15.

4

A road rockin’ trip down to Flavortown 🍗

Exterior of the Capitol Hill Bok a Bok location at night
📸: Bok a Bok

Not in a ramen mood? What about a fried chicken sandwich? (Or a fried tofu sandwich!) You’ll see Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives royalty Bok a Bok just a few doors down, which has been a Seattle Korean-fried chicken staple since 2016. One of the few chicken spots that relies on air-frying, gluten-free batter, and antibiotic-free ingredients, I think it’s the best chicken I’ve ever had.

If you’re feeling ravenous, get the Bowl O’ Shame with kimchi mac n’ cheese, tater tots, diced fried chicken thigh, homemade 4-chili hot sauce, cheese sauce, fried shallots and garlic, green onion, and a soft poached egg. Guy Fieri himself called it “dangerous.” Are you up to see how dangerous it can get? Hell yeah you are.

📍 Bok a Bok: 1427 10th Ave

Open until 10 pm every day. Trying to avoid the meat sweats? Substitute the bird for tofu. It’s almost just as good!

Eat inside 🐔

Don’t want to wait outside? Order from a table inside The Runaway and your fried bird will get delivered right to you.

5

It’s time to get down 🕺

People dancing at Motown on Mondays
📸: Photo courtesy Motown on Mondays | Photo by Robee Aquino

And now for the main event of the evening: Motown on Mondays.

Whether you chose Betsutenjin or Bok a Bok, the final destination is only a few steps away. Enter The Runaway, have that ID ready, and if you’re tired, order a vodka red bull, babe. We’ve got a night of dancing ahead of us. 

Motown on Mondays is the place to be on a Monday. Adopted by The Runaway after the closure of Bar Sue, these funky dance nights bring an even funkier crowd. Every week a new DJ blesses guests with the groove-filled tunes of everyone from The Isley Brothers to KAYTRANADA. Prepare for old-school hits like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, as well as R&B queens from Lauryn Hill to Faith Heavens.

I stumbled across Motown on Mondays as a fresh-faced 21-year-old in the food industry looking for a good time on my unconventional days off. What I love most is how everyone is accepted here. You have the cool party kids, 73-year-old guys who remembered when SLU was just parking lots, even theatre kids. Different vibes, sure, but they mesh together here.

Show up in platform boots or just jeans—the fit doesn’t really matter; just do you boo! When your Lyft driver picks you up, prepare for questions like, “Is this a club? Why does everyone look so cool?”

📍 The Runaway: 1425 10th Ave

The night starts at 9 pm, but it really gets going by 11, when happy hour starts.

Heads-up ‼️

When you’re going to any party, be aware of party etiquette. Some folks have been coming here for over five years! Be polite, be kind, and get to know people. 

Haylee Jarrett is a writer based in Capitol Hill. She loves oat milk chai lattes, her chihuahua, and being delusional.

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