As Capitol Hill nightclub Q wraps up construction in preparation for its debut on the dance floor next week, it’s pretty clear the partners behind the project Scott Smith and Andy Rampl have one aspect of the business down pat: hype.
Last week, Smith began leading a series of tours including media, neighbors and curious parties from neighborhood businesses through Q’s construction zone to show off the new space and help stoke the fires of excitement as the new electronic music-focused dance club is readied for its first weekend of business.
“Don’t make me sound like an asshole,” Smith said to CHS during one of the preview tours. “But Seattle has never been a great destination for electronic music. We’re building a major EDM venue.”
That’s great, Scott. But you might want to let your state-of-the-art light and sound system do the talking:
The converted auto garage on Broadway just off Pike (during one of our first visits, a potential customer drove into the space and asked for an estimate) is being transformed into a 12,000 square foot dance, bar and lounge space designed by project architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. 20-foot ceilings rise above. Walls will be lit with digital color washes and the club can be sectioned off to a 5,000 square-foot venue by sleek aluminum curtains on slower weeknights. A duo of DJ booths and a major investment in bleeding edge equipment round out the spend.
Q’s investment in electronic dance music will be pushed forward by Seattle DJ Kevin Kauer. DJ Nark as he is known was hired this summer to be the creative director at the club. Ken Batali and Ryan Schmitt are in charge of the food and drink end of things and are working out partnerships with local caterers for happy hour action as well as hoping to connect with a few nearby restaurants. By the way, if you’d like to work at Q, they’re hiring.
DJ nights and the works are still being sorted out as are cover charges, we’re told. The construction budget for the project is listed at a modest $500,000. We suspect Smith and Rampl are shelling out a touch more beyond the buildout — though Smith told CHS that his contractors at Dovetail (a CHS advertiser) came up with a lot of solutions that saved him money along the way.
We originally told you about the first plans for Q back in summer 2010. At that point, the club was planned for a subterranean space beneath 12th Ave at Pike. “It’s going to be big,” Smith told us way back then. “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.”
Back in Chelsea, Smith says he was a part of the creation of XL, a gay club that came and went and came again. XL’s gloss is now history. Here’s what Seattle’s media had to say about their Q tours:
- The Stranger: “As you enter Q, you walk down a long corridor before countenancing the 1300 square foot main dance floor, which has an odd, curvaceous shape to it. There will be elevated spots on which to shake moneymakers, and the Funktion One sound system, fitted with huge bass bins, promises to make said shaking easy to do. There are two DJ booths, both of which are inaccessible to trainspotters. SJ Lighting—which has illuminated huge dance fests like Ultra and Electric Daisy Carnival—will be responsible for the lighting. One odd fact about this system is it can be controlled and/or troubleshooted (troubleshot?) remotely by smartphone.”
- Seattle Gay News: “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? “
- Seattle Times: “About the size of a roller rink and with speakers lacing the ceiling the whole way back, the almost-finished Q Nightclubl looks to be a massive addition to Seattle’s music life at night.”
- Seattle Met: “At 12,000 square feet and with a capacity of 700, Q is expansive, to say the least.”
Q hits the dance floor as Capitol Hill’s other new nightclub venue is working to find its rhythm on E Olive Way. The Social debuted in May but has already seen some big changes. Smith said he’s pulling for his rookie counterpart. “A high tide raises all boats,” he said.
Meanwhile, some of the Hill’s veteran dance venues have also faced challenges in recent times and mostly overcome them. CHS reported on the challenges faced by Neighbours as the City of Seattle required a series of upgrades to allow the club to continue at full capacity.
Q will hit the ground at several beats per minute. Following its planned September 8th opening — VIPs party the night before, by the way — Q is jumping into things with both feet with plans to be part of the 2012 Decibel Festival at the end of the month.
Learn more at qcapitolhill.com.