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CHS Pics | Capitol Hill’s The Social, EVO pair up for first weekend of E Olive Way dancing

IMG_4253, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.

After a few false starts, Capitol Hill’s first new dance club to open in years debuted Friday night to an enthusiastic crowd and with only a few reported hiccups. Is it hot in here or is it just me!?!

It’s me.

Picture of the first Friday night at The Social and its little friend EVO Tapas Kitchen, below.

The Social project is one of “>two nightclub ventures slated to come to the Hill this year — the Laura Olson-Chris Pardo-Alex Garcia-backed the Social and Broadway’s Q Capitol Hill. This is how the Social’s social media-savvy backers described their venture:

We are excited to announce our latest venture: The Social – a three level 12,000 sqft ultra lounge/ restaurant and nightclub. The Social is located on East Olive and will feature three distinct rooms, including four bars and a 3000 sqft restaurant. The entertainment venue is being designed by award winning Capitol Hill firm Pb Elemental (recently named one of the Decades Best by Seattle Magazine). Our focus is to provide a well designed, fun, and high quality venue for the LGBTQ community. The Social is a joint venture of three Capitol Hill small business owners Alex Garcia (Emerson Salon, Banyan Branch), Shanon Thorson and Laura Olson (Po Dog, Auto Battery, Grim’s) . Drawing on their specific talents we will be featuring a gourmet food menu, holding daily events and drawing from national and international DJ talent. The Social is scheduled to open this summer, watch for updates on We are excited to join the expanding scene on East Olive with Tommy Guns, CC Attles and Fred Wildlife Refuge.

Early on, the Social gained some buzz for its plan to incorporate technology and social media into its experience. We don’t know about the iPads but we noticed the club issuing drink coupons via its Facebook page. Kinda beats Groupon, no? The club has also walked a fine line around its positioning as a gay dance club. “Everyone is welcome at The Social!” Garcia told Seattle Gay Scene. “All people, gay or straight, will feel comfortable. We want it to be a place where everyone can come in with their friends and have a good time.”

We visited Todd Nordahl to talk about his food+drink component of the project here

IMG_4298, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4262, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4666, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


EVO Bar, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4695, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4315, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4690, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4593, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4539, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


IMG_4482, ori
ginally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.

Thanks to CHS contributor Douglas McLaughlin for all of the pictures. His slideshow below will take you from an early evening at EVO into the night at the Social.

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33 thoughts on “CHS Pics | Capitol Hill’s The Social, EVO pair up for first weekend of E Olive Way dancing

  1. Considering how long The Social has been in the works, I was expecting more. A far cry from the 12,000 sq ft, multilevel mock-up on their website, The Social is a single, sparsely furnished and cavernous room with one large bar. I’ll go with a simple pro/con.

    Pros: Gorgeous bar. Chic furniture. Good music. Friendly staff. Drink tasted good and prices were reasonable for a nightclub.

    Cons: Most obvious would be the lack of A/C and ventilation- the heat/humidity was unbearable and drove many people away. More furniture is needed- you can’t expect everyone at a dance club to be dancing all the time. The bathrooms are awkwardly located outside of the actual club in the entrance hallway. This created a bottleneck at the with people entering, leaving, smoking, and using the restroom. The bright white paint and fluorescent lighting in the bathroom was jarring as well.

    Verdict: Get A/C and I’ll certainly come back, but major changes are needed if The Social wants to continue to draw a crowd.

  2. We started to go in but saw that it was a rave club, so we left. Big empty room, with minimal furniture, and a lack of organization are apparent. There is a reason why Evo is doing way better than The Social. I’m sorry, but Capitol Hill needs a new club and bar, not rave space. Their Saturday nights are called Circuit?! Really? Hi, 1990 called and they want their party back. Last night it was like I was walking into a middle school dance. Guys on one side, ladies on the other. What a joke.

    And that doesn’t include all the rumors that seem to be endless and true. The owner, Alex, drunk and handing out the house on liquor on opening night is a tell of how well this place is going to work out. That doesn’t include the sketchy people that were scraped off the bottom of Neighbors alley and given jobs here. Some guy name Andrew, I think he might have been a manager cause he was telling people what to do, is a little too full of himself and is a joke in the community.

    If The Social wants to succeed they need to make some SERIOUS changes fast.

    1. Get a manager who actually knows what he’s doing in a night club, not some twink with a big ego and even bigger insecurities. You can’t run a business if you’re too busy trying to impress people.

    2. More reasonable drink prices. I shouldn’t be charged $9 for a vodka tonic.

    3. Cover on opening weekend? Really? You want to show the community your new club and you’re gonna charge people? Oh but not everyone had to pay! Any cute twink who wanted to get in just had to bat his eyelashes at Alex and they got a bracelet. Now how is that fair? If charging cover is a matter of paying your promoters, you should be paying them out of pocket and not giving them the door… ESPECIALLY since you wouldn’t have anyone there without them. (more on that below)

    4. They’ve got too many hands in the pot. Who’s running the place? If I’m waiting for a drink for 20 minutes, something is wrong. Just the total lack of organization is appalling. You want to be a chic club in Seattle but you don’t have AC the opening night? yeah, ok. You’d be laughed out of business in a week in other cities.

    On that note, it’s funny to note that Arden and Jimmy from Sinfinite Productions are probably the main and only reason why people went to the Social this weekend. Without their parties, which are typically pretty good, The Social would have been a ghost town. The Social should be doing ANYTHING those guys want because the way this dyke sees it, The Social won’t last long without them.

    It’s really a far cry from what was proposed, and it seems like every decision on that place has failed them. Let’s hope they get their shit together, because the place has a lot of potential… but the people running the club itself don’t seem to know how to tap into it.

    Good luck, Social… you guys REALLY need it. Maybe talk to your restaurant owners and managers at Evo, they seem to be moving in the right direction. Let’s just hope The Social doesn’t turn into the dead weight on the monkeys’ back.

  3. Few people will notice but the back of the building is surrounded on three sides by condos and apartments. A nightclub of this size should never have been built there. A friend with a newborn owns a place facing the building and now has to move. I don’t know what the answer is but Capitol Hill is a wonderfully diverse place, including young families, and this was a poor planning decision. I’m not sad to hear it sounds like a flop.

  4. Agreed. I was really disappointed to learn that “The Social” and “Evo” are completely separate businesses. They have competing music, and you can’t open a tab at one and add drinks to it from the other. I was really hoping for a place where you could dance or just hang out and chat with food and good drinks.

  5. The Sinfinite guys you praise in your comment are the same ones responsible for the laughable ‘Circuit’ theme. Just sayin’. Overall your sentiments are spot on. Alex running around wasted drunk while the lines at the bar weren’t even moving and people were leaving due to heat… embarrassing.

  6. The joint just opened. It’s not the worst. It’ll get better. I wish them success. It’s not like we can’t use some alternatives around here. I was in Saturday night and had no difficulties getting reasonably priced drinks at the bar and from the waiter who stopped by frequently after I’d wandered off. I really like that Olive is turning into a real alternative to Pike/Pine.

  7. Wow! I get accused of being snarky and negative but some of y’all take the cake…and, cram it into other people’s faces.

    They JUST opened after a long and difficult build out! It’s a brand, spanking new club and you don’t “review” bars/restaurants immediately after opening day because there are ALWAYS bugs to work out, like broken A/C and disorganized staffing. The space isn’t even 100% finished yet; cut them a bit of slack.

    And, if “rave” or “circuit” music/clubs ain’t your thing, then go elsewhere. Bitching about a club’s theme/music/scene is like going to Benaroya and complaining there’s too much classical music. If you don’t like it, don’t go there. Find your own hangout, or open your own.

    (But, if they’re still a hot mess after a couple months, then it’s ok to bitch…)

    As for being too noisy for the neighbors, that’s tough shit. If you want a quiet neighborhood, don’t buy or rent a home within a block or two of a major commercial/night life area. If you want peace and quiet, live in a cul de sac in Kirkland.

  8. thanks for your observations, “Seriously?”. I suspect I’m not the crowd they’re looking for, or who will like this place. But I was game for checking it out anyway when I saw a friend’s Facebook profile with a drink offer of $5 for a double, all weekend. “Hey, give it a shot anyway”, I thought. What’s that? It’s after 10, I’ll be paying $8 to walk in? On opening weekend? Sorry, I’ll pass. Not gonna pay effectively $13 for one drink. I’ll leave that to paycheck-to-paycheck twinks and hipsters, and people with more cash to drop than me. Might not be a place for 50-year old fags like me anyway. I’ll wait and see.

  9. Agree with most I’ve heard.

    I was there opening night and no, it did not go as planned (I hope). My belief is that they had delayed two weeks and wanted to do SOMETHING. Well, that’s what they did. I’ll check back in a month and see if there are improvements. Now if everyone does that, I don’t know if this will last.

    Q Bar is planning a July open and if The Social can’t put together a decent establishment, Q Bar will take over. They are being opened by an owner with know club experience and success. They’re bigger. They’re in a better location (less than a block from at least two other dance clubs). The Social has unfortunately set the bar rather low at this point. Hopefully management and staff read all on here and take heed!

    Fingers crossed.

  10. Michael you say the club isn’t even complete yet — which begs the question of why a business owner would open his or her business to the public with a product that wasn’t finished. Unless that business owner just didn’t have any respect for his or her customers and simply didn’t care.

    And for someone who is supposed to be a Capitol Hill supporter you’re sure pretty cavalier about people’s lives who live in the area. I’d point out to you that those apartments around the social and the people who live in them were there first. And I’d also point out to you that the city noise ordinances are much MUCH stricter with regard to noise into people’s homes than they are about noise into a business from another business, and for good reason — because residential occupants have more rights. These are the homes of people who hadn’t banked on living next to a nightclub when they bought or rented. I’m betting if noise becomes an issue then the neighborhood residents will be able to get the Social shut down WAY before its owners pull the plug due to a lack of customer interest/management incompetence/competition from Q.

  11. This neighborhood doesn’t need more idiots like you commenting about moving to Kirkland. Renton or Lynwood could use somebody like you though.

  12. Seriously, Michael? What a callous thing to say about the neighborhood’s residents. There’s a big difference between living in a lively, urban neighborhood and living adjacent to a nightclub thumping music 7 nights a week.

  13. I just want to know if the rust on the metal panels on the front is intentional or not. I walk past every day and I noticed how shiny they were when they were installed, and how they started rusting almost immediately. Did somebody order steel when they were supposed to get aluminum? Doesn’t look very hip to me….

  14. Michael – your comments about people who live around the new club are complete bullsh*t, sanctimonious, and judgmental. The large building to the west are condominiums – people OWN those homes. The buildings to the south and east are apartments. ALL were there long before this club was. In fact, for decades, that space has been nothing but retail. The club needs to accommodate its neighbors because the neighbors were there first, not the other way around.

  15. The rust is intentional. My guess is that it will pop a bit more once it rusts more evenly.

    I do think the sign placements are strange; it looks as if only two of twelve businesses have arrived, like a half-vacant minimall.

  16. Oh! Think of the neighbors! And the childrens!!

    C’mon. Look left. Look right. I see… bar bar bar…

    Three years ago I looked at the building next door and could figure out that I didn’t want to live above and next to and next to the bar scene.

    No sympathy for those missing the obvious.

  17. @umvue you must have superhero vision if you can look left and look right on East Olive and see “bar bar bar”. Because Olive from Broadway west and well past The Social is actually largely residential with the retail being made up mainly of coffee shops and a couple of restaurants. And you’d know that umvue if you were to . . . ummm. . . you know, actually take the time to look left and look right from time to time.

  18. The only person missing the obvious is you. The bars along Olive Way have thus far been neighborhood joints, not clubs with 10 foot speaker stacks.

  19. I heard from people with bedrooms directly to the west of Social that sound wasn’t an issue, apparently the addition of soundproofing was a success.

  20. As one of the residents of the building directly behind The Social, I can say that this area is actually surprisingly residential. That said, when we bought my boyfriend and I were aware that the building behind us was commercial; however, we did not anticipate a loud nightclub would ever decide to situate itself in between all of these residential buildings.

    As far as noise goes, it was quite loud a few weeks ago (I assume the sound system was being tested). I expected city noise when we moved here, but all I could hear was an incredibly loud thumping bass for hours. After the opening weekend though, my boyfriend and I are much happier. They did a pretty good job on the sound proofing, and it is quiet enough that I can sleep (I’d still prefer not to hear the music, but all things being considered it’s ok). Basically, it sounds like there’s a car outside blasting some music that’s somewhat muffled by our windows. My only concern is when it gets warmer out and we open our windows. I guess we won’t be sleeping with them open at night, nor getting an air conditioner. Hopefully it won’t get to 102 degrees again!

  21. I live in the building to the west of the social as well. not directly next to it but on the other side and I didn’t hear much of anything. Much improved from a few weeks ago.

    Thanks for the soundproofing guys.

  22. Where did you find out that Q is going to open in July? Just curious if it’s reliable/recent or if it will be similar to the Social in having a bunch of tentative dates.

  23. I was there on Saturday night.. it’s just a big room and the music was so loud the bartender who I know completely screwed up all of the 6 drinks that were ordered based on the pure and simple fact that he could not hear us. The music was way too loud that nobody could hear anyone talk and we were standing by the bar in the back. Sorry.. but I seriously doubt we will be back.. :(

  24. There has been a lot of talk about The Social (and a I agree with most of it) but I feel like it has taken from the great service and food I found at EVO. Friday was a little packed but Saturday at EVO was amazing!

    Have you tried the flat-bread yet? Tasty food, and they also offer good variety. The staff was very pleasant and I think they did a great job hiring bartenders that know how to serve (at least the ones that served me). A friend already had his birthday “party” at EVO and the staff made a big difference.

  25. Evo is the saving grace of that place…. what they’ve done is fantastic and a great place. Everyone I know would much rather be there than in the Social.

  26. I agree. Evo was neat. The Social? I thought this was all-together one place. The Social= overhyped, overpriced, disorganized mess. If this place was “designed” by one of Seattle’s “top” designers as you claim, then you have been duped. Little or no thought in to how to move around the space. Just a big empty room. Yawn. This is a far cry from what you sold to us!