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Three Capitol Hill clubs, three futures: Neighbours ‘under new ownership,’ former R Place shaped as restaurant project, Q marks 10 years of dancing on Broadway

The 10th anniversary party at Q (Image: Q Nightclub)

Meanwhile, new ownership at Neighbours (Image: CHS)

Three centers of Capitol Hill nightlife face very different futures as a new owner has closed a $2.7 million deal to purchase iconic Capitol Hill gay dance bar Neighbours. Meanwhile, the next life for the former R Place is taking shape while Broadway club Q is marking 10 years in the neighborhood with plans for changes behind the scenes.

“It’s been a long road, but we finally took over,” new Neighbours owner TJ Bruce tells CHS.

CHS broke the news on the Neighbours deal in April as Bruce, an investor and backer of gay clubs stretching from Fresno to San Jose to San Francisco to Portland, was shaping a deal for the Seattle club and the 1911-built, 14,000-square-foot Broadway building it has called home for 40 years. The property hit the market for $6.9 million in 2019 only to be relisted at $5.75 million in late 2020. Bruce arrived at a deal at a much lower price as the Elassiouti family that has owned the property, local managers, and promoters who have kept Neighbours open and busy prepared to hand over the reins.

The market for well-loved and a little rough around the edges Capitol Hill gay dance clubs apparently tops out around $3 million. King County property records show the former E Pine home of R Place also finally sold this year for $2.5 million.

R Place is gone (Image: CHS)

CHS talked with Tam Nguyen, the owner of Little Saigon’s Tamarind Tree, about his interest in the building in January when the property’s future was still up in the air. Nguyen said his family is planning a new restaurant venture that will stretch beyond food and drink for the first floors of the building. “We would like to empower small business owners, embrace the community that we serve, and create one of a kind experiences that the neighborhood is lacking,” Nguyen told CHS.

CHS reported in 2021 when R Place lost its lease and would not reopen in the multi-story space it called home for 37 years on Capitol Hill. The Comeback, a project from manager Floyd Lovelady, now carries on the R Place heart and soul in SoDo.

That year, CHS reported that Capitol Hill-based tech firm Add3 was eyeing a deal for a new headquarters, and space for a new venue in the former R Place building. The effort was to include “core and shell renovation” of the three-story, unreinforced masonry building, maintaining nightlife use on the ground floors and creating new office space above.

Now the Tamarind Tree family will be taking on the onetime Model T showroom and the much needed overhaul of its auto row structure.

(Image: Q Nightclub)

10 years at Q
On Broadway, meanwhile, the Q nightclub doesn’t appear ready to leave anytime soon.

The dance venue is marking 10 years on Capitol Hill after debuting in September 2012 as an electronic dance music-focused venue with queer NYC roots. Founders Scott Smith and Andy Rampl also had their fingers in the creation of XL, a venue that once billed itself as “New York’s largest gay dance club.”

At one point, Q  was planned for a subterranean space beneath 12th Ave at Pike but eventually took shape in a converted auto garage on Broadway just off Pike with a 12,000 square foot dance, bar and lounge space designed by architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson with 20-foot ceilings and walls lit with digital color washes.

But within its first year, Smith was on the outs and sold his stake in the club. Rampl carried on and doubled down on the EDM focus.

Now Q has survived a decade on Broadway. The club celebrated an anniversary weekend earlier this month but CHS was not invite — club ownership and management haven’t returned our calls. Construction plans show there are a few anniversary gifts in the works behind the scenes. Permit paperwork reveals the club was working on a plan for a new kitchen to upgrade its food game as it starts its next 10 years in Capitol Hill nightlife.

(Image: Neighbours)

Back at Neighbours
Up the street at Neighbours, the new ownership is keeping the club open and in motion as it plans changes. Bruce said he and management are getting to know staff and working on a plan for overhauling the club.

The Neighbours name, for now, is staying. And the venue is, for now, planned to stay open as upgrades and changes are made. The old building needs a lot of new love. And there are other changes afoot as Neighbours gets ready for a new era. While remaining Neighbours, the venue will also grow to have more in common with its new Bruce-backed cousins including the Splash family of California video dance clubs. Neighbours is hiring and a search for DJs — and VJs — is underway.


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7 days ago

“We want to create an experience that the neighborhood is lacking” *opens a Vietnamese restaurant*

7 days ago
Reply to  Brett

hahaha this made me laugh out loud. like, what in the holy hell does that even mean? have they actually ever been to capitol hill?

Jack sunh
Jack sunh
7 days ago

Remember when Q actually supported the gay community by having gay events? They completely gave up on the neighborhood they are located in. Haven’t had any pride events in years. Last weekend security punched somebody in the face. Why so much love for Q?