New Club to Amplify Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill finally gets the dance club it deserves when Q opens on Sept. 8 at Broadway and Pike.

The neighborhood has never been short on live music venues, punk clubs and dive bars. But Q is the type of music-forward, crowd-focused, disco-style dance club mostly unknown in the area—and is perhaps more in line with the emergent face of the Pike/Pine corridor than any other recent nightlife venture.

Months of public speculation about Q, which began construction in March 2012 in the former Rutherford’s Auto Rebuild space at 1426 Broadway, were allayed when owners announced the installation of Seattle’s first Funktion One sound system inside the place, a $250,000 investment that implies a serious commitment to high-end sound design.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, workers scrambled inside the unfinished, 8,000-square-foot club, using a scissor lift to install LED lighting rigs and movable spots in the 18-foot-tall ceilings. The 1,500-square-foot dance floor, surfaced with dark walnut wood laminate, was finished but covered by cardboard. Even in its raw state, Q was impressive, and appeared well conceived in its attention to detail.

Patrons of the 750-capacity club will line up to pay inside a long entry corridor rather than outside in potentially inclement weather. The main bar is one of the largest in the city, surrounded by copious seating. The dance floor, lit by an intricate system of movable heads and pinpoint spots, leads back to the DJ booth, which is unobtrusively set in the back of the club at only a few feet above the floor. A four-seat bar—which features 100 bourbons and craft cocktails—is hidden away in the front of the club. A 2,200-square-foot mezzanine offers lounge space and views overlooking the dance floor. In an Ibiza-like touch, a liquid nitrogen-hazing machine will fill the dance space with cold fog in seconds and clear it just as quickly.

“The club is the star,” said managing partner Scott Smith. “Performance to us is secondary. The DJ is the master of ceremonies for the customers, who are also the stars. That’s the idea behind the nightclub: Forget your life, go out for an evening and be fabulous.”

Smith, 54, formerly co-owned a gay club in Manhattan called XL. A self-described “New York clubgoer and club owner” of 20 years, he moved to Seattle in 2003 and noticed a void in the market for the kind of experience Q will offer. He’s a fan of Neighbours and the Cuff, he says, but those well-loved gay clubs are institutions, not current reflections of the neighborhood.

“We’re something totally different,” he says. Rather than identify as a gay club or straight club, Smith describes Q as “a Capitol Hill club.”

“We need to be as inclusive as possible. We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves or our customers. We want to be a part of this community.”

Smith recently hired Kevin Kauer, aka DJ Nark, as booking manager. Opening night will feature veteran NYC house music producer and DJ, Quentin Harris; on Sept. 29, Erykah Badu will DJ Decibel Festival’s closing night party along with local duo Justice & Treasure. [Full disclosure: Justice is married to this magazine’s editor.]

Asked to describe Q’s vibe, Smith says “Grown-up. But not necessarily chronologically. We’re looking for grown-up people who understand what we’re trying to do, who listen to serious music, who appreciate dance music, who appreciate a well thought-out, well-put-together club that’s catering to its customers. That’s why we’re doing this.”

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