The stage at Neumos — the true center of Pike/Pine’s sometimes raucous nightlife scene — is starting 2017 with two months of quiet.
The partners behind the nightlife complex at the southwest corner of Pike and 10th tell CHS that when Neumos and its sibling lounge reopen after a two-month overhaul, the club will be reborn with “a full systems and facility upgrade” including everything from bathrooms, bars, and the heating and cooling, to the all-critical sound system. You can also expect a new life for the old Moe Bar.
“After 12 years, we decided the venue is in need of a refresh and an upgrade. With another decade of business in front of us, we wanted to protect and invest in the legacy Neumos has been working hard to build,” co-owner Jason Lajeunesse tells CHS:
We are one of only a few independent live venues of our size left on the west coast. We compete daily with national corporations as an independent promoter of local, emerging and internationally recognized artists. We have been very fortunate to receive such wonderful support from both the artists we present and the fans who come to see them. As such we felt it time to upgrade the facility to create a better experience for all who support us.
In 2014, CHS reported on the 20-year history of the venue and its place as “patient zero” in the spread of today’s Pike/Pine’s nightlife culture of music, drinks and good times when it opened in 1994 as Moe’s Mo’Roc’N Café. “Most places were just a hole with a pole,” Moe’s founder Jerry Everard told CHS in 2014, referring to the support beams that block stage views in most taverns-turned-venues. “We just wanted to have the best venue in town, with the best sound system.” After expanding the ownership in the mid-2000s, Neumos is now run by a Capitol Hill supergroup which includes building owner, preservation-minded developer and Moe founder Everard, Lajeunesse, Mike Meckling, and Steven Severin.
Everard continues to own the building purchased in 1993 from the Salvation Army for $577,895, according to county records, and managed to survive the city’s crackdowns on performance venues with costly upgrades to fire and safety systems. The club underwent one significant upgrade in the late 90s and another in 2012 as the subterranean sibling club Barboza opened beneath.
With a busy slate of projects to overhaul Neumos underway, the adjacent Moe Bar has also closed after 10 years of business. It will return with a new, as-of-yet unrevealed new concept.
In the meantime, the delayed Capitol Hill Paseo is still on track to open… soon. The Neumos crew says the popular sandwich joint set to reside in the old Pike Street Fish Fry is finally close to opening.
The Neumos hiatus quiets the Hill’s highest profile stage for music acts. During the downtime, Barboza will pick up some of the slack with remaining dedicated Hill music venue Chop Suey also fully active under new ownership and its 2015 rebirth.