Two years after move, Twilight Exit is debt-free and doing well

Two years ago this month, the Twilight Exit was moving out of their digs at 22nd and Madison to 25th and Cherry, across the street from Garfield High School and Community Center. There were some brief hiccups in the move, but the bar ended up signing a good neighbor contract with the school and neighbors have embraced the bar. And according to owner Stephan Mollmann, business is up.

“Business is better here than it was at the old location,” said Mollmann, “and we’re doing it with just about half the square footage.” Of course, it’s not exactly the same place.

For example, the Cherry location sells more food than the Madison location did.

“It used to be, ‘I own a bar,'” said Mollmann. Now, he tells people he owns a restaurant and lounge. In one sign of the restaurant and lounge’s success, it made its final payment December 1 and is now officially debt-free, he said. Though Twilight Exit still do battle with the Citibanks of the world every now and then.

The Twilight is a CDNews advertiser.

The Twilight crowd has also gotten a little less young and raucous, though many patrons are still younger. The Twilight still gets a lot of Seattle University students, he said, motioning to the big group of students near the back of the bar by the shuffleboard table. Because of that, Mollmann says they have to be extra vigilant about checking IDs.

Moving forward, Mollmann has both big and small changes in mind. He is currently working on allowing minors in the Twilight for brunch. He said he gets asked all the time by people with kids if they can bring them, but it’s currently not allowed. He has to make a few changes to the space, like creating more separation between the bar and seating area. Also, the health department frowns on having a shuffleboard table in a dining area?

In big plans, Mollmann said he would love to open a vegetarian bistro of sorts that would serve what he described as “the opposite of what we serve here.” He hopes it could go in on 23rd some day, an area he said has incredible unused potential (we wrote about a stalled project there a few days ago). But any further plans may have to wait a bit. Mollmann is about to have his hands full of issues that go well beyond checking IDs, shuffleboard and brunch. A child is on the way, he tells CDNews, due in the early spring.

0 thoughts on “Two years after move, Twilight Exit is debt-free and doing well

  1. Please please please Twilight owner. You have a loyal following that has followed you on all the moves and loves the Exit for what it is. Please do NOT cave to a few parental requests and allow kids in our beloved bastion of ADULT entertainment. Seriously, the bars on 15th (SMITH) that have allowed kids have suffered for it. I’m sorry, but there are tons of options for people with kids and the Twilight should NEVER be one of them. Adults go there to chill out w other adults, NOT to listen to kids crying or running around. Please let them go to Vios or continue to ruin Smith, but not Twilight.

  2. Agreed. I love kids, but adults need places to chill, just like you said. and Twilight is a small space.

  3. IF (and it’s still a big if) we were allowed to let minors in it would only be for the brunch until 4pm Sat. & Sun. Without the extra revenue that parents may bring in we may end brunch on weekends and wouldn’t open until 4pm anyway. So I guess it’s a sort of damned if we do and damned if we don’t sort of situation. But, rest assured adult only fun after dark will continue.

  4. Twilight Lover,
    Give me a break, there are NOT lots of places for parents who want a quick, non-chain casual meal and a pint of beer, especially within their own neighborhood. Try to find such a place in Capitol Hill and you will see that it is YOU, the non-parent, who has many, many options. You can go anywhere you like and especially after 8 pm – we can’t. There is a big market out there for people like my friends and I who happen to have a kid, love good beer and would equally love an AFTERNOON option such as the brunch he is talking about – we’re not going to be pushing our high chair up next to you at the bar at 10 pm. But just because we procreated, doesn’t mean we should go hide in a hole, or worse, at an Applebees. I suspect Mollman will find out exactly how hard it is when his baby arrives…that’s what happened to Prost! in Phinney Ridge – owner had baby and realized “Hey, this system sucks” and started allowing Minors in the afternoons.

    I for one am extremely grateful Smith allows kids and I bet the owners are too seeing as we drop at least $75 a week there every single week – all before 6:30 pm – and dude, I don’t know what kind of conversations you’re having at Smith but if a kid across the room is managing to bother you, find a better drinking and conversational companion. Most parents are pretty damn thoughtful about their kids in a dining establishment – if some aren’t, just consider it on par with the amount of drunken idiot 20-somethings you’re also going to encounter.

    Twilight Exit, if you’re still listening, I live right down the street and we would be thrilled to support you weekly at brunch if you go forth with your plans. Here’s hoping!

  5. I can see both sides of the argument. It can be quite irritating to be trying to enjoy a meal with the little ones screaming. I know there are a ton of places in Columbia City I avoid because it seems kids take over.

    However, I know it doesn’t make parents feel good to know that people would rather have them go some place else with their kids then invade the “adult” surrounding.

  6. ” if a kid across the room is managing to bother you, find a better drinking and conversational companion.” So you’re blaming others for not being able to shut out the noise of poorly raised children?

    I have children. They’re teens now. We, as a family, have stopped going to the Madrona Eatery and Ale House because we cannot hear each other over the loud screaming of children allowed to literally run all around the tables. Parents do not, these days, “usually” make an attempt to rein in their children. Instead, like you, they frequently have the attitude that because they’re buying a meal their ill behaved, loud children can ruin everyone else’s experience dining.

  7. I’m just saying that at Smith I have rarely seen a plethora of kids and certainly not running around or screaming – it is set up to be fairly private and cozy and the music and conversation is loud enough to drown out most other patrons, young and not so young.

    Also, I’m glad having teens has provided you blessed amnesia about your kids in public as wee ones – no matter HOW well we raise them, how many coloring books we provide and whispered stories and distraction, it’s a fact that they will not always be perfect when we would like them to be. I truly don’t “have the attitude that because they’re buying a meal their ill behaved, loud children can ruin everyone else’s experience dining” – but many people do have the attitude that because they’re buying a meal they’re entitled to perfect peace in a public place. I really admire scenarios I’ve seen in Europe where many generations seem to frequent their neighborhood places without the same drama.

    But I think we can agree Madrona Ale House is a special case scenario, for better or for worse! I am really glad it is there and open to kids, but we definitely joke about the “kid tax” – we willingly pay more for okay food just for the ability to finish one sentance with your partner as your kid plays in the play area. As a non-parent I wouldn’t be stoked about going there before 7 pm, I agree. But I think it illustrates the issue at hand – why do parents flock there and overwhelm the place? Because there really are so few options.
    (And I think lots of us would go late afternoon and be entirely avoidable if they would be open before 5 pm, especially on weekends…)

  8. I looked over that brunch menu the other day and the first thing I thought of was that my oldest son would totally love this food. He is 12 and I promise he will only bother you with his wit and teen angst.

  9. Mamabeer – I don’t have amnesia about my kids when they were younger. But if my child misbehaved, I packed up and left. Mostly I chose places appropriate for a child, with a quick enough dining experience so that I wasn’t putting unreasonable expectations on my kids. Expecting a 3 and 5 year old, for example, to behave in the kind of restaurant where the total experience takes an hour or more, is simply an unreasonable expectation for the children, and other patrons shouldn’t suffer for a parent’s ill judgment. When my kids were younger we did a LOT of take out (I’m a horrible cook), and otherwise frequented restaurants appropriate to the kids’ ages and attention/good behavior span.

  10. As someone who loves the Twilight Exit brunch (seriously the best brunch in town and so easy on the wallet) and whose friends are all procreating I really hope Mollmann is able to work something out.