Beneath Capitol Hill’s Rhino Room, it’s Now or Never

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Check our new sister bar / club #noworneverseattle

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There are levels to it. Pike/Pine’s auto row-era bones that restaurants, bars, and nightclubs have put to good use often come with another past feature ready for nightlife repurposing. You can now celebrate the Pike/Pine underground at Rhino Room’s new subterranean sister bar, Now or Never.

The venue debuted around Capitol Hill Block Party. Building out a basement party zone is longterm endeavor. CHS broke the news on the project way back in January 2016 as Rhino Room owner Patric Gabre-Kidan began the planning process for the new bar beneath the 11th at Pine club. 

The plans went into motion after the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted to extend protections to the auto row-era building the club and Capitol Hill media player The Stranger call home. CHS reported on the decision from the building’s longtime owner to drop plans for a redevelopment of the property in the wake of the decision.

The Rhino Room opened in the former bike store space at 11th and Pine in spring 2014 and has since grown into a popular Pike/Pine venue on the weekends, joining the scene’s longtime gay clubs like Neighbours and R Place and big-time newcomer Q in maintaining Capitol Hill’s dance scene. Q, by the way, was originally sized up to be an underground venue beneath the corner of 12th and Pine.

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There are bands at block party?

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You say never I say now🤩

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🍑🍑🍑 #noworneverseattle

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While CHS hasn’t been down the stairs to see the new joint, the Stranger has:

It’s pretty big and its walls are covered by thousands of fake plants. The effect of all this artificial greenery is very impressive. You know none of it is real, but you still feel like you are “in the jungle somewhere.” And the room also has the coolness of a tropical forest. It feels as if the plants are keeping things cool because, as environmentalist and futurist James Lovelock has often said, life “likes it cool” (Dorion Sagan and Jessica Hope Whiteside, 2004). But such again is not the case in Now or Never. The coolness is as artificial as the plants that cover its walls. And if real plants were here, they would soon whither and die. There is hardly enough light to drive the photosynthetic production of ATP and sugars. This is a nightclub. And it feels like a jungle at night, and opens only at night (Friday and Saturday). The only life to be found here are party animals.

Sounds like the space will pair well with Saint John’s new dinosaur mural for things that make you say, “Hmmm.” The walls of plants, meanwhile, echo the ecosphere of Bezos’s balls and the popular live plant trend around Pike/Pine venues.

Now or Never also joins a pack of subterranean siblings around E Pike including the Narwhal below the Unicorn, Cha Cha beneath Bimbo’s, and Barbozaneath Neumos. You also might find some musical fun below Dino’s along E Olive Way.

Now or Never is located at 1535 11th Ave. You can learn more at therhinoroom.com.


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9 thoughts on “Beneath Capitol Hill’s Rhino Room, it’s Now or Never

      • I don’t think they’ve served food in years. It quickly turned into a Friday/Saturday night-only club for people who don’t actually live in the neighborhood, and just sits empty and closed in a prime spot the rest of the time.

        I was hoping they’d go away eventually, so this expansion is unfortunate.

      • I don’t think they’re open except for Friday and Saturday nights, you might be thinking of a different place.

        It’s basically where all the worst parts of the bridge and tunnel crowd hang out to ‘get lit on Cap Hill’. I’ve seen so many fights break out outside of it, I don’t even walk down Pine any more to go home after a night out.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I was sadly hoping this building wouldn’t be protected, simply so we would be rid of the Rhino Room.

  1. I remember the buffoonery that happened outside of the Rhino Room while enjoying a conversation with friends outside of the old Purr! It was just a bunch of repugnant Bro’s and Ladies of Bro’s. that made you want humanity to end. Let save the earth and give them free condoms so they don’t procreate! LOL

  2. Rhino Room was cool when it first opened. Now it’s ALWAYS closed. Cool location and bar. I had a theory that a lazy rich kid created it but was too lazy to actually run it. Now I wish it would just turn over to new management and come to realization as a cool bar on the hill.