• adamsayswhatt / Stranger Flickr
Tomorrow Ballard will lose a beloved institution with the closing of café and performance space the Chai House. A sharp increase in rent has sent the owners searching for a new space and their patrons looking for a new hangout.

As one of the few all-ages venues in Seattle, for the past 12 years the Chai House has given young audiences a place to see shows and young musicians a place to play them. Their weekly Scratching Post open mic nights have long provided an audience to bands still getting used to playing live and served as a stepping stone to bigger things.

According to a Chai House employee, this sense of community is something that a chain café could never replicate:

Not only will a handful of baristas be out of their jobs, but more importantly our customers have nowhere to go… Seattle is changing. Ballard is struggling and longtime independent businesses can no longer compete with the condo take-over. Losing the Chai House will mark an incredible loss for the arts and music community.

When contacted, Chai House owner Chris Tudor emphasized that this is a hiatus, not a permanent closure. He’s currently looking for a new location with more affordable rent, possibly something smaller, though hopefully still in Ballard.

From 2 pm to midnight today and tomorrow, the Chai House bids farewell with live music and comedy.