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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 24 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 34
New Capitol Hill nightclub finishing interior
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New Capitol Hill nightclub finishing interior

Q set to open September 8

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Q, a new Seattle nightclub featuring electronic dance music and creative cocktails located in the heart of the Capitol Hill neighborhood (between Pike and Union at 1426 Broadway), is set to open September 8 with a preview party September 7.

More information will be available soon at www.QCapitolHill.com.

On August 22, owner C. Scott Smith, alongside general manager Ryan Schmitt and PR specialist Kirsten Graham, gave members of the local LGBTQ and mainstream media tours of the impressive 12,000-square-foot converted auto-rebuild space. The remodel, designed by the firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (whose past projects include Seattle City Hall and the Apple stores in New York and London), is a welcome respite from what we normally see built, opened, and in some cases (e.g., EVO Tapas Kitchen & Cabaret) close because the product, d├ęcor, and/or service just couldn't live up to the hype.

I could go on and on about how beautiful the place looks. But I'm not going to, because Q already has been Facebook-posted, tweeted about, and blogged about to death. The nightclub hasn't yet even opened its doors, but I feel as though it has because hysterical queens (who apparently will suffocate if they don't have a shiny new venue promising to change their life) have talked this place up to a level that no club could possibly achieve.

Are we seeing a pattern, Capitol Hill? I remember the - what was it? - a year, maybe more, of media, socialites, and shit-starters blasting social networks and blogs with predictions that The Social was going to change nightlife on the Hill forever, and that Pike and Pine were in trouble. The spin cycle went on forever, it seemed. And, well, I don't think we need to go into what happened and how the excitable members of our nightlife community were way off the mark.

A NEW ATTITUDE
Which brings me to the point: Smith and Schmitt have not been nauseating in their posturing, have not been publicly venomous to already existing LGBTQ-owned and operated businesses on the Hill, and have really put a lot of work into Q. Isn't it amazing how a business owner and manager can actually accomplish something when they aren't worried about everyone else?

There is no doubt about it: Q looks good. There is a warm feeling to its design - the whole place seems to hug you because the designers eschewed hard angles and dramatic turns. The space has a surprisingly natural flow to it. One thing that might stand out as odd or different is that there is no traditional, square stage for performances. However, I would urge everyone (i.e., drag queens) to remain calm and not lose your shit, because the space is not designed to be square. It has smaller, rounder, and - I'll say it - smarter raised areas on the main floor where people can sit or dance, and where guest entertainers can perform.

What I have seen so far, after talking to Smith face-to-face, is that he is a man of his word. He has said, from the beginning, 'Q will give Seattle a space that gets back to the basics of what a club should be about. We want to avoid the elitist attitudes of upscale lounges with separate VIP areas and instead provide our customers with a cohesive, immediate relationship to the DJ, music, people, and the club itself.'

SIGHT AND SOUND
Smith has lived in Seattle since 2003, but is originally from Kentucky where his family has deep bourbon ties - which would explain The Bourbon Bar and why it is featured so prominently in Q. The space can be set up as either a semi-private or private area and can accommodate up to 25 people.

The sound is as good as advertised. They've installed a custom system from Funktion One and lighting design by SJ Lighting. It is the best-looking and sounding dance floor on the Hill - possibly even the city at this moment. Serious music-heads and dancers will want to check out Q for that reason alone.

Everything else remains to be seen - only time will tell. SGN will save the real review until the club has been open for a few weeks because, as we've seen before more often than not, service often begins to slip, the place begins to tatter and fade, and before you know it, it's gone. I have high hopes for Q. In my opinion they are starting out right. No one has been pushed out - everyone seems to have been brought to the table. They are not calling the place a Gay bar, because, c'mon, it's 2012. Another breath of fresh air is the announcement that big-name DJs and national entertainers will be booked. And they are approaching the use of drag queens from a less-is-more standpoint - not for any other reason than that Q is a nightclub where they want people to dance, drink, and then dance and drink some more. There's nothing wrong with that.

Seattle Gay News would like to wish the ownership and management of Q all the best. Welcome to the neighborhood. If you treat her well, she will love you back.

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