Lest you begin to believe that Capitol Hill’s nightlife future will be built on the back of hand-foraged nettles and grass-fed beef, don’t forget your tall whiskey soda. It’s a busy week for club and lounge news on Capitol Hill. Here are details on two more new projects where people will drink, dance and drink again underway in Pike/Pine. On Monday, we told you about the ambitious overhaul on E Olive Way that will become The Social. Now, here comes the Narwhal and (this time it means it) Q.
Along East Pike, the streetscape is packed with food and drink. Beneath the surface, something rumbles. Work will soon be underway on the Unicorn’s underground companion, the Narwhal, a subterranean addition to the liquor-drenched circus above promising a second bar, a game room, a stage for live performances and an impressive new staircase connecting the two levels.
The space, planned by Unicorn partners Paul Blake and Adam Heimstadt, will transform the 5,000 square-foot basement beneath the 1118 E Pike building. A new staircase will require the elimination of at least one booth above. Below, Blake said he expects visitors will find another world of Heimstadt’s vision including space for live performances and a pinball room.
According to city filings, the project has a $290,000 construction budget for new staircase and overhaul of the basement. No seismic upgrade was required and Blake, says, the partners were fortunate to have a sprinkler system already in place in the basement that has been used for storage and construction in recent times. As you can see in the pictures, it looks like the kind of place where maybe some bad things have happened recently.
Speaking of bad things, posting a target for opening this kind of project is a way to guarantee disappointment but, right now, Blake says the Narwhal should be with us by fall.
Q Ultra Lounge
The date for Q is more iffy but the location is not. When we originally broke news of the planned “ultra lounge” nightclub last summer, lead partner Andy Rampl was working on a plan to build out the basement at the corner of 12th and Pine. Now CHS has learned that Rampl’s company has applied for a liquor license and started the permitting process to recreate the former garage home of Capitol Hill Collision on Broadway across from the Harvard Market QFC and just a hop, skip and a jump from Neighbours across the intersection of Pike and Broadway.
Rampl isn’t commenting on the space just yet but last year he told us Q was envisioned as a lounge with a dance floor and a world class sound and lighting system designed by an all-star cast of entertainment vets.
We also asked Rampl if he was planning Q as a gay venue. His reply:
I personally hate labels but understand that a lot of people and most businesses need them to one degree or another in order to self-identify.
I think the fact that we’re on Capitol Hill and that I intend to draw largely from the great talent pool on the Hill for our staffing needs should tell you all you need to know about the incredibly mixed and varied crowd we will attract, as do all of the wonderful bars and clubs on the hill.
With The Social also embracing if not targeting a gay clientele, Seattle Gay Scene’s concerns for the Neighbours-es and R Places of the Hill might need to be turned up a notch.
Now a note of caution. Q is at nearly the same point of its start-up process as we found it last summer when it was being planned for a 12th Ave basement home. Permits are started, liquor licenses are applied for — but, as we saw earlier, a lot can change. Stay tuned.