CHS had the opportunity to preview the Hunter Gatherer Lodge, which replaces beloved hipster club The War Room, at 722 East Pike. The new incarnation of this space is swankier with a greatly reduced stage (a small stage was visible next to the raised DJ booth last night). Marcus Lalario, one of the owners, told Eric Gandy of Line Out that though the Lodge will host live acts, the focus will be more on DJs and creating a lounge experience. The taxidermy seems to be deployed ironically, rather than in furtherance of a theme. Hunter Gatherer opens its doors to the public this Friday April 9 with DJs Sean Cee, Soul One, Fourcolorzack, and Nostalgia B. The full press release appears below the photo collage.
FORMER WAR ROOM SPACE UNDER CONSTRUCTION; NEW CAPITOL HILL NIGHTSPOT HG LODGE WILL OPEN APRIL 9
Seattle, WA, April 1, 2010 — When Capitol Hill business partners Marcus Lalario and Brian Rauschenbach closed the doors to the War Room on November 30, 2009, the future for the beloved nightclub remained uncertain.
Four months later, the duo will re-christen the same location with an entirely new concept, and some familiar faces. HG Lodge, located at 722 E. Pike, will open on Friday, April 9, with a public party featuring DJs Sean Cee, Soul One, Fourcolorzack, and Nostalgia B.
“Letting go of the club proved to be too hard,” Lalario admitted, explaining that he and Rauschenbach weighed multiple offers and a number of options before deciding to hang on to the venue. Sentimentality and a commitment to nightlife helped seal the deal.
“We just didn’t want that history to end yet, we’ve had so many good times in that space,” he said. Lalario has held the lease to the building for nearly 15 years, since he was a 19-year old kid throwing all-ages dance nights.
Although located in the same space, there is very little to remind patrons of the former War Room. The stage has been removed, and the room is lined with cozy padded booths. The design reflects a very Northwest sensibility, with rockery, oak and cedar surfaces, and a live ivy wall.
“It’s kind of a modern take on a hunting lodge,” said Lalario, an avid collector of taxidermy. “More of a social environment than the War Room was.”
The HG Lodge will feature an entirely re-designed sound system, and a rotating calendar of local and national DJs. The renovated rooftop deck, a favorite amongst summertime drinkers, will open in June.
“We were able to fix the things we needed to fix, and make changes to stuff at the War Room that drove us crazy,” Rauschenbach said, immediately citing the extensive plumbing work. “We read Yelp, and we hated the women’s bathroom, too.”
By their own admission, both Lalario and Rauschenbach were “tired and burned out” when they shuttered the War Room, and unsure as to whether they wanted to continue in the nightlife business. But, with a combined 25+ years of experience between them, and an ever-present love for music, they found it impossible to not.
“We really believe in the direction our city is going with regard to nightlife,” said Rauschenbach, a life-long record enthusiast and frequent DJ. “We have a Mayor that understands its economic importance, its cultural significance, and actually goes out and participates in it. It’s great to live in a city where music and art are such a big part of the landscape.”
Extensive renovations and a considerably smaller dance floor will allow HG Lodge to operate without the addition of a costly sprinkler system. Approximately 75% of the former War Room staff will be employed at HG Lodge, which is a 21+ venue.