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Hanging at Bake’s

By Keegan Prosser on May 25, 2012 – No Comment

By Keegan Prosser | Photo by Celeste Gracey

A haven for designer duds and award-winning dining, Bellevue’s swanky downtown district has a new concept to be proud of – in the form of newly re-opened jazz and supper club, Bake’s Place.

Founded by Eastsider Craig Baker and his wife Laura nearly 13 years ago, the newly re-opened Bake’s Place is a one-stop-shop for a rich blend of music, food and atmosphere.

Accented by art deco posters of acclaimed jazz musicians, the warm, chocolate brown walls and dim lighting inside Bake’s Place is a welcome change to the hustle and bustle characteristic of downtown Bellevue. But where most restaurants use music as a secondary feature, Bake’s Place turns tradition on its head – opting out of the “music as ambiance” mantra for a more focused approach.

“We are a music venue first,” Baker explains. “Music is the center, the focus. It’s the primary reason we are here. And everything else comes second to that.”

Like Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley and the Triple Door of Seattle, Bake’s Place plays with the concept of an intimate “jazz room” – an idea the Bakers have worked tirelessly to achieve.

In this vein, the supper and jazz club brings classy entertainment in the form of high-caliber live music six nights a week. Recently relocated from Providence Point in Issaquah, the new Bake’s is located at 155 108th Ave. NE (425-454-2776) in the Columbia West Building at the corner of 108th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Second Street.

“Our purpose isn’t to see how much alcohol we can sell or how hard we can party – not that we don’t do that,” Baker said. “Because we all have a good time. But our purpose is to create an environment where people can stop.”

And when it comes to what type of niche Baker hopes to appease, it’s simple: Bake’s is a place for family and friends – a unique destination for people seeking a mature, relaxed atmosphere that feels more like home than an upscale concert venue.

“Often times you go out to eat and you sit there and you go, ‘Now what?’” Baker says.  “People are looking for something else.”

That’s exactly what Bake’s Place is looking to be for the Eastside. And with a weekly lineup that spans traditional jazz music, Brazilian/afro-Cuban, R&B and swing, there’s bound to be something for music fans of all types.