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Save the Mercury! Save Neighbours! Donations and volunteers helping dance clubs reopen on Capitol Hill

(Image: The Mercury at Machineworks)

The Neighbours disco ball survived break-ins and squatters (Image: Neighbours)

While Capitol Hill watches a new future unfold for a building that formerly housed one of the neighborhood’s iconic clubs, organizers around two other centers of dance and community in the neighborhood are asking for help to reopen the venues.

The efforts include fundraising, selling merchandise, and work parties to help reopen the Mercury and Broadway’s Neighbours.

Here’s one message from the people working to save E Union’s Mercury at Machinewerks private gothic dance club:

Please help us save an iconic Seattle nightlife institution! We need help getting the word out about the Mercury. Its fate hangs in the balance if we can not raise money to pay for upgrades! A group of member/volunteers have put together this group as a way to reach out to the thousands if Mercury members for help.

According to the organizers, the nonprofit club needs “VERY, VERY, EXPENSIVE updates to mitigate sound to accommodate the new upstairs neighbors.”

“The updates require the Merc to install sound baffling in the ceiling, which means the lights and ventilation will have to be replaced, and a new sound system will have to be installed,” a post about the effort reads.

In March, gay bar Union moved in above the Mercury, necessitating the changes now being pursued as the more than 20-year-old gothic dance club tries to reopen after months of COVID-19 restrictions.

The To Mercury With Love group has been created on Facebook to help organize the fundraising effort. Supporters can also pre-purchase Merc merchandise to help support the drive to reopen the club.

(Image: Neighbours)

Meanwhile on Broadway, Neighbours Nightclub is making plans to reopen and starting to hire staff. Its supporters are planning a weekend of work parties to help get the club ready for business:

We are trying to push ahead after a tough year with the break-ins during the Pandemic. We have come so far but we need that extra push to get the doors open. if you can volunteer that would be amazing.

Performer Roxy Doll has also been organizing fundraising efforts and a drive to re-equip the nightclub — somebody recently donated a new Ninja deep fryer for the kitchen — after the building was trashed by break-ins and squatters during the pandemic closure. The city also said earlier this year that electric work in the building would require new permits before the property can be reopened.

The Elassiouti continues to own the club and the building despite listing the property for sale for $6.9 million in 2019. The club’s block is about to undergo major changes with development of Pride Place, an eight-story affordable housing project focused on LGBTQ+ elders, set to begin demolition, preservation, and construction this year.

But Roxy Doll and new management around the club say they are hoping to reopen the club soon: “We are getting ready to rise!”

You can find more ways to help and support the effort at facebook.com/NeighboursNightclub.

 

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Onyx
Onyx
1 year ago

It should be noted that these expensive updates for the Mercury are being forced entirely due to the antagonistic and entirely unreasonable actions of Union. It’s really sad to see a Gay Bar act this way towards a club that has been one of the most Queer friendly institutions in Seattle for over 20 years. For so many queer goths in Seattle, the Merc has been our Sanctuary and “home” for a long time, a safe and welcoming space with an amazing community. Now the Rainbow Capitalist Union Bar seems to do anything in their power to shut the Merc down. Their demands are entirely unreasonable .Anyone who used to Frequent Sizzle Pie or Dark Bar when they were in that space can attest that the music from the Merc was not audible when the upstairs venue played their own music, Union Bar has their own very expensive sound system that would have no problems drowning out the music from downstairs, but they still insist on enforcing these demands on a small Members-only club staffed entirely by volunteers. As a queer man, I never thought the day would come where a Gay bar becomes the enemy, but the Union Bar has shown themselves to be enemies of a large swath of the LGBTQ+ community in Seattle

Barb
Barb
1 year ago
Reply to  Onyx

I’ve had some pretty bad experiences at Union. A friend of mine had a health episode (not related to drinking if that matters) and we had to call the paramedics. As they arrived and were dealing with my friend all they cared about was settling up the tab while we were hoping he’d be alright.

After that I said I’d never go back to Union.

dethzoid
dethzoid
1 year ago
Reply to  Onyx

I was walking down union today because to test drive a Ferarri when I was hit by a wayward beer pong ball by a group of chubby Bromos. Oh my God! This building is no longer the home of Sizzle Pie’s fashion model ltbtg babies! My bone began tingling because my collector bone tingles because I am an Ed Hardy trucker hat collector. The air was heavy with a potpourri of axe body spray that could have choked a Persain body spray enthusiast. Only complaint was that my craft cocaine was mixed perfectly but not sifted properly and the bathroom stalls were used by people using the toilets so I had to stand in line for every key bump.

d.c.
d.c.
1 year ago
Reply to  dethzoid

What a gross comment. Would be nice to be able to flag for mods.

Persian man
Persian man
1 year ago
Reply to  dethzoid

I’m Persian and don’t feel your “poetry” is warranted here.

petey
petey
1 year ago
Reply to  Onyx

how is union able to dictate those terms to the senior tenant?

Onyx
Onyx
1 year ago
Reply to  petey

My guess and this is purely speculative is that they were able to wrangle concessions from the building owner who was desperate to lease a space that had been unoccupied for over a year after sizzle pie closed and then covid

Adam
Adam
1 year ago
Reply to  petey

Probably because they pay a lot more in rent and them signing the lease had certain stipulations for the base the building owner agreed to.

Sadie
Sadie
1 year ago

Why won’t there Mercury be transparent and give a dollar amount for their goal? It seems shady all these micro fundraisers going towards a mythical goal for “expensive” repairs.

msdevilpuppy
msdevilpuppy
1 year ago
Reply to  Sadie

Sadie, I’m one of the mods on the group. The reason there’s no set number yet, and it’s been stated a few times in a few threads in the group, is because the total project is not finalized yet. Right now, we’re being pro-active, since the Merc, while still closed, has to not only pay for the upgrades, but also rent and bills. I invite you to join our Facebook group to stay up to date with what’s going on.

SpookyDude
SpookyDude
1 year ago
Reply to  msdevilpuppy

The easy solution to that would be to publish your current financial needs plus a header for unknown expenses with the understanding that there will be more need in the future. People will be a LOT more willing to donate if they can see it move a needle and not just have it go down into a black hole with no idea how much or how little it helped. It’s a basic fundraising tactic that has scientific studies that show when goals and related progress are published, they are a lot more effective in raising funds. I am a member and very longtime attendee of the Merc and it’s saddens me how opaque management has been on this.

CliqueCliqueClique ov satans heels er um hooves
CliqueCliqueClique ov satans heels er um hooves
1 year ago

hate to say it, but why would they ask non-members for help when they dont even allow non-members? They treat ppl the same way normals treat them (um, you cant come in because you dont lewk the part; nevermind if someone enjoys & has roots in the aesthetic. Who wants to give to a clique pretending to be inclusive when cant see past own noses.

id rather chill where the dream of the 90s is alive at lovecraft
go spend your money their kids or create a better club.

Hell, from what i remember Pony had an epic BloodLust night

keep the “its who you kno” on your parental facebook scene

petey
petey
1 year ago

nonmembers were allowed to go to mercury on promoter nights, which was usually about 3 nights a week. on member nights, nonmembers could attend if they went in with a friend who was a member.

Mars Saxman
Mars Saxman
1 year ago

Back when the Mercury was founded, bars and nightclubs were not allowed to serve liquor – only beer and wine were permitted. (Remember how we couldn’t buy liquor at ordinary stores until a few years ago? Washington used to have some really strict laws about alcohol, left over from Prohibition.) The Mercury is a members-only club not because it’s trying to be snooty and elitist – it’s a volunteer-operated venue catering to a niche subculture full of weirdos and artists, for chrissakes – but because that was the only way you could legally open a dance club which served cocktails at the time it was founded.

Fiddlesticks McGee
Fiddlesticks McGee
1 year ago
Reply to  Mars Saxman

That’s entirely inaccurate – it went members only when the smoking ban started, so that they could allow smoking still – because private members-only clubs (with a members list and dress code to make it official) were still allowed to have smoking under the law change.

As for asking for help… Yeah, I’m disinclined. I used to visit the Merc all the time from 1998-2001, and I didn’t go for a couple of months, and all of a sudden wasn’t allowed in after that. I’ve since been twice with friends, and honestly? It’s not like I’m able to easily sign up as a member and keep going. So I suggest that the Merc deal with their own problem, because they’ve certainly not cared to be inclusive of others.

Mars Saxman
Mars Saxman
1 year ago

Hmmm, you could be right about the smoking thing; I never really cared about cigarettes one way or the other so I didn’t pay much attention at the time. I really thought the whole membership thing was a liquor board dodge, though; remember how the Vogue on 11th used to have a few bullshit food items nobody ever ordered on the menu, so they could pretend to be a restaurant? The Mercury was always members-only so far as I recall but it was easy to get in, you would just hang out at the Vogue after hours and then around 1-2 am when everyone migrated from the Vogue to the Mercury you’d just tag along and ask someone to guest you in. A few weekends later, boom, you’re a member. I have no idea how they manage their membership list though! I don’t know if I ever got an ID card and I’m certain I’ve never had to show it. Anyway, I don’t know what happened but it sounds like someone screwed up and I’m sorry you got rejected for no reason; that sucks.

OG Club Member
OG Club Member
1 year ago

I became a member in the late 90’s when it was downtown. I remember filling out the form 8 years before the smoking ban went into effect in 2005.

Clique Member
Clique Member
1 year ago

I just wanted to clarify that the Mercury does allow non-members.  

There are 2 types of nights: Promoter Nights and Member nights.  
On Promoter nights anyone is allowed in as a “guest” of the promoter for that evening.  On Member nights you must be a member, or be accompanied by a member of the club in order to enter. It’s also easy to become a member by going to a membership drive, or attending 3-5 times in a 6 month period. All you have to do is pay a small (one time fee) and fill out a form. 

As far exclusivity, It is a private club for a reason. It’s volunteer run establishment. This includes everyone from the bartenders, security, DJs, and other “staff”.  They volunteer their time to keep it running because they all love it. It’s a unique and safe place for all us weirdos, and we prefer to keep it that way.  

I can go into any bar on Capitol Hill and get chastised for being different. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been yelled at, sneered at, or called names by some bro-toddler out with their friends for a night out on “Cap Hill”. Sure, a venue might have a monthly theme night where you can hang out and listen dark/spooky music, but the Mercury has that 365 days a year. Personally, I would rather spend my money in a venue that will not allow other patrons to treat me like crap (on a nightly basis) for the way I dress, or look. The Mercury is only place where some of us feel safe and comfortable when going out. The Todd’s and Ashley’s out there have the rest of the city, and we have one venue. 

The Mercury is also a non-profit. They cannot partake in the government loans like other venues in town. If you want to “chill where the dream of the 90s is alive” it starts with keeping venues like the Mercury alive. 

I also wanted to point out that The Lovecraft Bar no longer exists. It was renamed Coffin Club (a while ago actually) and it’s in Portland, not Seattle.

Fiddlesticks McGee
Fiddlesticks McGee
1 year ago

It’s funny… I’ve noticed that too. There’s definitely a group in there who look down their nose at others and treat anyone they don’t know the way most people would look at a three day old egg salad sandwich left outdoors during a heatwave.

Shame really.

keep the negative bs to yourself, literally no one
keep the negative bs to yourself, literally no one
1 year ago

You could also try not being insecure and snobby and getting your facts straight. No one cares you don’t want to come, but tons of people who actually made an effort and don’t have incorrect and preconceived notions about the Mercury love it and want to keep it alive, which is what this post is about. You’re doing the same exact thing you’re claiming you were a victim of; acting betyer-than-thou about a place people care about and have community at. For a lot of people the Merc is one of the only places we feel safe going out and maybe if you didn’t have such a stuck up and entitled attitude someone would have guested you in one time.