‘Major EDM venue’ Q nightclub prepares for first dance on Broadway

Your tour guide: Scott Smith (Image: CHS)

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.

BEFORE: A 2011 visit to the space (Image: CHS)

AFTER: The view from the floor DJ booth (Image: CHS)

Powerful power (Image: Q)

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.

Putting the finishing touches on Q’s bar (Image: CHS)

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.”

A design rendering from the planning days at Q (Image: Q)

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.

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11 thoughts on “‘Major EDM venue’ Q nightclub prepares for first dance on Broadway

  1. Like Smith said, this place isn’t for everyone – now crawl back into your hole. I can’t wait for Q – especially Erykah Badu’s DJ set for Decibel Festival!

  2. I am glad there is finally a dedicated (again) EDM venue with a sound system to boot. Though 700 might seem large to Seattlites, in the EDM world, that is tiny; it is a start though. Keep up the good work.

  3. Looking forward to this place opening – I love EDM and am jealous of the scene in Vancouver, it would be nice to have an active EDM community here in Seattle too.

    Hopefully they do not overcharge for cover and drinks thus shooting themselves in the foot, turning off customers and becoming yet another fly-by-night venue.

  4. You’re a hundred percent correct notimpressed. Because of course an initial sound and lighting check — which is what that video was of course — by the techs who installed the system and playing their own music off their iPhone or iPod in order to get the room levels is EXACTLY the same thing Q will be playing when they open.And so its perfectly legit not to be impressed by the club.

    You base your tragic and crabbed opinion on a video of a sound check of a club not yet open? You must have a whole lotta experience owning and operating a club. Why don’t you give us all the name and address of YOUR club so we can all check it out.I’m sure it must be swell.

    Sheesh. I guess the old term, “haters gotta hate” is really apt here.I’d only add that apparently trolls gotta troll, too.

  5. This place will probably be hella Gay (and thats fine..i am not a hater) …but if it has a wicked system, and is well done…it might be nice…..But i’m guessing when they say EDM…They really mean “hand bag house”….which is kinda like walking into an Abercrombie and Fitch store..Umm, no thanks. The only venues for truely deep sexy house, techno, tech house on the Hill are ETG, Baltic Room (TRUST party once a month), and The Woods (on occasions)Its sad that the true scene doesn’t exist here.

  6. Looking forward to checking this place out! I don’t know where some of these people are hanging out, but I think Seattle has a vibrant electronica scene! And this will be a great addition to the hill. Just don’t let it turn into a Trinity like joint, playing 89.5 trashy mainstream crap…keep it underground, keep it funky. The music will certainly set the vibe…

  7. Its so much fun to bitch slap each other, anyway my 2 cents. The club looks hot. And I’m gay and hang out with everyone, I will be in Seattle next week to check the club out, than I will blog about it. Anyhoo, your killing me with your gay / A & C reference. Honestly is that top notch for Seattle. I was hoping for Prada from boys, or at least diesel. I buy this shit on sale all the time. The only full price thing I have is my lv wallet $350. You can get a flui for $12. And pretend. Also I would prefer to pay a $20.00 cover for obviouse reasons. True this club will not be for everyone. In sf I have ten different parties to choose from every night of the week. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, these guys landed in your city spent 500 to 700k on your little town. My fear is when I get there I’m gonna see rei.