First look: The plans for Q, Broadway’s new gay dance club

With Seattle’s Pride weekend approaching and the days when the celebration started and ended only on Capitol Hill not that distant in the past, CHS can report that at least one aspect of gay culture is apparently alive and well in the Neighbours-hood. There is a big, flashy gay nightclub being planned for the intersection of Broadway and Pike/Pine. Here is a first look inside Q.

Andy Rampl and Scott Smith, the men behind Q, unveiled these renderings and shared details of the overhaul of the 17,000 square-foot former auto garage space being overhauled at 1426 Broadway, smack in the middle of Pine and Pike at a vodka tasting event held in downtown Seattle Friday night. CHS passed on the tasting but gobbled up the pictures. At the top of the post, is a shot of how the space looks before the work begins.

Now, here are the renderings from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson architects. The space will be split into two sections. A southern “half”…


And the section to the north…

The north’s dance floor… (Yes, that is Kanye West. Who knew?)

And, below, the main floor and mezzanine. Somebody buy that lonely looking guy in the tuxedo a drink.

The view of the main entrance and mezzanine from below…


And the mezzanine bar, below, that people like me and you need desperately before proceeding down stairs like these…

We originally told you about the plans for Q on 12th Ave back in summer 2010 and posted the update on the Broadway re-target here. With these renderings and a chance to chat with Smith and Rampl, Q is now starting to flesh out. “It’s going to be big,” Smith tells us. “We have a lot of space. But I’ve done this before in New York. It’s not going to be for everybody but it’s going to be done right.”

The look and feel of XL

Back in Chelsea, Smith says he was a part of the creation of XL, a gay club that came and went and came again. Here’s how New York Magazine described the now-shuttered (again?) club:

Open the door to XL, the most recent nightlife offering from John Blair—the man behind gay-clubdom’s big night at the Roxy—and you expect to find hordes of shirtless men dancing to thumping music. Instead, it’s hordes of tight-shirted men sipping Melontinis, served by bartenders who follow a strict dress code of black pants and large pecs. All the drama (and lack thereof) takes place beneath a mood-lighting system that changes constantly over the course of the evening—”I feel like I’m having Lasik eye surgery,” joked one patron. Don’t miss the fish-tank-enhanced urinal.

Scott didn’t say he will be re-creating XL here. But he did tell us he’ll put his experience gained building the club from “scratch” (somewhat NSFW) to work in his new home city of Seattle. “We want this to be for the neighborhood,” Scott said. “We’re willing to turn away five of the wrong people so one person from Capitol Hill wants to be here.”

The garage being transformed for Q (Image: King County)

Regarding that semi-NSFW link above, don’t think only the young upstarts at the Social are the only ones putting the Internet to good use. Scott has been blogging for years at Read it to follow along on the Q dramas and triumphs — and speculation on how Jake “The Snake” Locker came by his python-sized nickname.

Rampl tells CHS there’s no timetable yet for opening. Permits from the city are backlogged so construction is nowhere close to beginning. The 17,000 square foot garage and old auto row building waits. Scott said they’re looking for a partner to utilize some of the space for offices. Work by day, party by night.

Q, a creative neighborhood news reporter might be able to convince you, is part a chapter of LGBT history on Capitol Hill when the culture and the business of it all have mixed. Whether that is new or not can be a subject of debate. But the new venues are coming along fast-ly and furious-ly to join fixtures like Neighbours, R Place, Purr and the Wildrose and next-generation pioneers like the Lobby Bar.  Capitol Hill’s other new dance club project we told you about, the Social is moving forward on E Olive Way. They’ve hired a bar manager and are looking for resumes from other prospective employees. E Olive Way’s gay-owned bars are numerous enough to be a “community” and band together for no-cover Pride promotions. And a new bear bar is about to open on 14th Ave.

UPDATE: A few more images provided by BCJ:

41 thoughts on “First look: The plans for Q, Broadway’s new gay dance club

  1. Article says 546 Broadway E, but the picture is 1426 Broadway. Glad to see it coming in, I miss the days when there were three dance clubs within a block.

  2. It’ll be interesting to see how this new generation of bars draws crowds away from Cuff, Neighbors, etc., and how that brings about changes with those old bars. It’s exciting to see some imagination and effort being put into creating a new bar scene in Seattle.

  3. The place looks awesome. I just hope they know better than to try and charge NYC cover ($20+) to get into a place like this. That won’t fly with Cap Hill folks and only serve to attract the douches from Pioneer Square and Belltown.

  4. I was wondering the same thing.
    From the article:
    “It’s not going to be for everybody but it’s going to be done right.”
    “We’re willing to turn away five of the wrong people so one person from Capitol Hill wants to be here.”

    This could mean a lot of things. I guess we’ll see.

    If it ends up being the kind of place with a VIP/champagne room behind velvet ropes, they won’t last 6 months. (Well, not if they intend to keep it a gay bar, anyway). Keeping it safe for the CapHill neighborhood would be a good thing, but Seattle sure doesn’t need snotty NYC/LA “exclusivity”.

  5. Hey guys, Scott from Q here —

    Great questions re; a cover charge. When there is a cover charge — like on a Saturday — it’ll be in the five buck range. $8 if we’ve got a big name guest DJ or special act booked for you. We never could stand being pick pocketed in New York clubs for $25 and $35 cover charges and we won’t do it to you.

    Also, NO VIP ROOM OR VELVET ROPES!!!! Nobody we want to hang out with likes them, we don’t like them so why should we make our customers put up with them. Plus, Seattle in general and Capitol hill in particular just doesn’t mesh with that kind of pretentious attitude.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Very disappointing news that Scott Smith is associated with this new enterprise. I’ve found him to be a petty, vindictive, mean-spirited individual who’s curmudgeon-y personality is the antithesis of hospitable……a rather important quality for anyone involved in the HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY.

  7. Hospitality is indeed an important quality for those in the hospitality business CinCity — but I’m in the nightclub business.

    And you know me only from my blog where you’ve been an annoying comment troll for all of my readers going back months if not longer. So thanks for playing and let me know who you are when the club opens and I’ll make sure your first drink is on the house.

    Hows that for hospitality?

  8. “We’re willing to turn away five of the wrong people so one person from Capitol Hill wants to be here.” That’s a little scary because currently no gay bar in Seattle turns anyone away. That’s something I like about Seattle. The music, ambiance, decor, lighting, staff and prices usually determine a bar’s clientelle in Seattle without the need for a bouncer to determine who is ‘hip’ enough to enter.

  9. My thoughts are that charging a bit more cover for something something worthwhile is a good thing. I think it helps keep the clientele on the more desirable side. Less trouble.

    Just my two cents worth. Thank you.

  10. How exactly is a nightclub not a hospitality business? Seems strange that you don’t know what type of business you run.

  11. This seems very Queer As Folk and about 10 years too late. I just don’t see Seattle having enough people (gay or straight) to support this type of club. It looks overly fancy and pretentious (tuxedoes in the promo art for it-I wear a jacket to the opera and I often feel OVERDRESSED in comparison to the rest of the opera goers). We all know Seattle peeps love their dives. I mean, Linda (as much as I don’t care for her personally) as built an empire on it.
    For the record, I’m probably the income and social demographic they are targeting (30′s, educated, upper middle class income) and this just isn’t someplace I’d go regularly. It’s fun to step out in NYC to a place like this, but Seattle? It just doesn’t seem sustainable.

  12. Skeptical, the figures in the pictures are called “place holders” and are there simply to show scale, not what we expect our patrons to wear. Just because a guy in a tux appears in them (as does a uniformed police officer in case you missed him) doesn’t mean we’re expecting people to wear dinner jackets (although the occasional cop uniform might be hot!). We also don’t expect Kanye West to show up at the club but he appears in one of the images just the same. And in some of the other images that we’ve got (but that don’t appear here) DJ AM is manning the DJ booth and spinning records. But that doesn’t mean we expect him to rise from the dead just to spin at our club.

    Hope that helps.


  13. I get the point, I know it’s promo art and I know Kanye (God I hope not) is not going to be there. But…it promotes an image and plants a seed of what is to become in my mind and the mind of others. As I see this, and look at these mock-ups, etc., I see pretentiousness. I see something that doesn’t fit. I see a gay club being promoted with Kanye’s likeness (WTF?). I mean, is that suppose to be tongue in cheek? Or just plain offensive?

  14. Skeptical, I must say you certainly do see a lot. I wish I had your sight.

    And although you claim to fall into our target market your stated opinions of what you see in a series of totally innocent images produced by a noted local architecture firm and the fact that you feel the club will be pretentious based solely upon those images would clearly indicate otherwise.

    But hey, if one day you should feel the urge to stop in and check us out feel free to ask for me and I’ll be happy to buy you a drink and show you around. And if you don’t. . . well, we’ll just have to make due somehow without your patronage I guess.

  15. I love it! A combative business owner. A recipe for success in any industry. Especially the hospitality industry.

  16. Customer, I prefer to think of my style as being more. . . educational and informative, rather than combative ;)

    But of course, the Customer is always correct, so there’s that.

  17. I am pretty sure “We’re willing to turn away five of the wrong people so one person from Capitol Hill wants to be here.” as in the intolerant people that stay away from the hill to begin with. This looks like a great club and to me it sounds like they want to keep it a Capitol Hill club not to bring the belltown crowd or the Pioneer square crowd up to the hill, they can stay there.

  18. I am definately looking forward to a place where plywood and black paint isn’t the ideal when it comes to a danceclub. Oh and broken furniture to sit on, because that’s always a great place to socialize and drink. Just make sure the bouncers arn’t a-hole power-mongers!!!

  19. Obviously you can’t win on here, Scott. I guess it’s the nature of anonymous internet postings. But in any case, blog posts won’t determine your success anyway, so who cares? I’m naturally skeptical at first too, but you’ve convinced me– if that means anything.

  20. My bet’s that The Social will eat this place for lunch. And what’s with the cranky comments from their spokesman?

  21. No Jim98122x, he hasn’t answered that question. Review the tapes and you’ll see that the only clarification offered on this point thus far was by poster anon. Additionally the record also shows that you are squarely in Team-Q’s corner on all matters. May your kool-aid cup runneth over.

  22. I think you need to read my very first post on the matter (under “Cover?”), and you will see that you’re wrong. And Scott’s answer to that question persuaded me to at least give him the benefit of the doubt before I assume the worst. And BTW, your question about the “wrong” people– you’ll see I raised it long before you did.

  23. Scott..congrats on the vision of a new Q. I’m hoping I can be a big part of the new place and I’m certain there will be all sorts of performers knocking on your door. I remember XL very well and dont mind a little Manhattan injected into our Seattle life if that’s the way the club is headed! Fun AND class can be acheived with the right people supporting you all the way. *Cheers*

  24. Fancy: hiring Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, a well known and respected architecture firm. Well worth the money. Congrats, great to see someone spending the time and money for a good project, not just hiring someone who does the same thing over and over. The investment will be well worth it and will make places like The Social look bad for not spending the time and money to get a good experienced architecture firm. Looking forward to it!

  25. I, for one, cannot wait for this place to open. Huge upgrade for our city and it’s about time we had a really cool nightclub.

  26. Scott, ignore silly trolls, we need this place bad and you know it!Congrats on the great space, design and vision.

  27. The whole concept is exciting, and it’s long over due that someone comes in and does a club right. Not paint and put up flat screens, and call it a club. I can’t wait!

    Looking forward to hopefully spinning there:)


  28. Why are you so silly? He doesn’t need your kind or your business, and you know it so your answer is to be bratty? BRATTY LITTLE SHIT. Go find a push pop to shove in your mouth, or some flintstones vitamins or something.

  29. Hi Scott, I now live in Vancouver BC but I am always visiting friends in Seattle. Clubs in Vancouver close and no one opens another. In Seattle clubs close up but another re-opens. Sad that most club owners rule with a large ego and never listen to their bread and butter loyal customers. Savvy marketing and execution is a big key factor. I do look forward to your fresh innovated out of the box thinking concept club. I have traveled many places in the world like South America, Africa, Europe, Japan, Mexico… and it would be so wonderful and refreshing to see a club like the ones in NY and many other big cities. Seattle could use the grand energy and evoke modern day gay life. My partner is older than me and has owned a bar and hotel plus has done promotions for clubs. I have had much great stories form him and the past. I look forward to the new future of creator/entrepreneurs like yourself. Being in the marketing/visual field has me always forecasting the future through rainbow diamond eyes. Best of luck and contact me if I can ever help. Also my partner is the webmaster for the SGN so if you do not have a website yet give him a call or email.





  31. i love all the intolerance here from people who hypocritically preach about tolerance. all those ‘douches’ in belltown/pioneer square are no less human than you, and probably more tolerant of you than you are them. cliquey attitudes are what kills music scenes – not any specific group of “people” – we’re all human beings. i would love to see clubs such as this bringing everyone together from the capitol hill locals to the downtown clubbers to people from the suburbs. actual coexistence in the name of dancing and having a good time. which cities like LA and NYC actually have going on – and parts of seattle do too. but we need a lot more of it. we need to all get together and stop acting like spoiled intolerant babies towards different sects of our own fucking city.

    anyway, i’m with the positive people here. i moved here from los angeles several years ago, love seattle’s music scene, love EVERYONE in this city – and the only people i don’t have time for are people who go around calling other people things like ‘douche’ or ‘hipster’ or ‘faggot’ or whatever other intolerant word you’re making up to just JUDGE another person you haven’t even taken the time to get to know.

    let’s all just grow up and get along – that is what i see venues like this embodying, and that is what i hope they bring to the table. people who want to be cliquey and intolerant of anyone else can just stay the fuck home. you’re not helping the music scene or the economy with that attitude.

    wishing q all the best of success and a broad and diverse crowd from all over the city – which is something more of seattle needs and something that “those douchey clubs” in pioneer square, belltown, and many clubs i worked at in LA are getting RIGHT – true all-inclusiveness. none of this “my people and part of town are better than your people and part of town” bullshit. which is the exact sort of “exclusive intolerance” those negative people here are pretending to have a disdain for – when in reality, they’re the ones perpetuating it.

  32. I’m super excited for another dance spot on the hill. Ass for the negative, skeptical queens I have the answer to your question, Stay yo ass home! FYI, Social sucks!!!

  33. I have nothing against a large, over the top, modern discotheque but I’ve seen this attempted before and it just didn’t work and I think it goes beyond the type of people it attracts.

    I don’t think Capitol Hill can get into a plush, ultra lounge type of place. Maybe some research has been done that says the gay community in Seattle has asked for something like this but with that there is a another issue: the size. This looks like a rather large club that caters to an exclusive crowd. So how many people do you need in this place for the illusion of a busy night? The mentality that people carry in this town is that the dance club must be packed, always, and with the right type of people, or they’re not going. It seems like a tough business to be in.

  34. Very well said and think you for bringing awareness to the issue.
    Seattle has a huge problem with intolerance – if you’re not in their clique or in their scene, go away. That’s disturbing.

    I was watching LimeLight on Netflix. Peter Gatien had a huge club to fill but he did it by attracting 20% of everything. 20% gay, 20% raver, 20% goth, 20% yuppie, etc. I think it’s a bad idea to focus only on 1 type of crowd, 1 type of music, 1 scene. It’s just morbid to think that way.

  35. The club looks hot I can’t wait to check it out. Seattle has gotten away with murder for not competing in their shitty little bars. Scott, I don’t know you but I’m very familiar with clubs in New York, Los Angeles, London, and San Francisco. And I’ve seen flashy bars like this come and go. Packed at first than nothing??? Greg bronstein just lost 3 clubs and 2 restraunts in San Francisco, and you must know what happend to Peter gaiten in NYC. None the less it sounds like you have experience with bars, clearly you secured a space built it out and transferred a liquor license in so “props”. My take is I do notice Seattle has matured and is friendly, but a little bit country. Your taking a big risk. Seattle folks are not sophisticated. There fun so I’m sure you’ll Taylor your model down. Or your going to be super rich. Good luck. Tom. PS I will be in Seattle 9/22/12 I will introduce myself and you can buy me a drink. I drink top shelf. Boutique whiskey and soda. Have to watch the calories.