Nightlife » Bars

Q Nightclub poised to dominate gay Seattle nightlife

by Shaun Knittel
Thursday Aug 30, 2012

Q Nightclub, the 12,000-square-foot dance club set to open to the public Sept. 8 in a dramatic, converted auto rebuild space in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, is going to change what Seattle has come to expect, from services to sound equipment and lighting displays. Seattle is about to get some "New York City big-room style" dropped on it, and nightlife enthusiasts won’t know what hit them.

What "hit them" will no doubt be the sound system. The owners installed a custom system from Funktion One and lighting design by SJ Lighting. It is the best-looking and sounding dance floor on Capitol Hill, otherwise known as "The Hill," Seattle’s gayborhood.

Q’s owners were previously deeply involved in the New York City club scene. Back in Chelsea, C Scott Smith, managing partner of Q, was a part of the creation of XL, a gay club that enjoyed a longer than average life in NYC. (That XL has nothing to do with the present XL in the Out.)

"Q will give Seattle a space that gets back to the basics of what a club should be about," Smith says. "The best DJ’s on the planet, playing on the finest sound system while also having the club act as a laboratory for emerging local musical talent."

A club that has stunning interior design and lighting and provides impeccable service to its customers are also "musts," Smith added: "We want to avoid the elitist attitudes of upscale lounges with separate VIP areas, and instead provide our customers with a cohesive, immediate relationship to the DJ, music, people, and the club itself which, ultimately, is the real star here."

The Status "Q"

That is a smart move on Smith’s part because Seattle -- especially LGBT Seattle -- does not vibe with the whole VIP experience. In fact, most clubbers scoff at a $5 cover charge, so bottle service is certainly out of the question.

What Smith is trying to accomplish with Q is going to be tricky, however. How does one turn a profit in a large, expensive dance club by charging the same prices as the smaller, cheaper-to-run bars on the Hill?

Smith says Q will do fine because Q will become a part of the community and, citing the sound and lighting systems, is convinced that the club will simply offer what no one else on the Hill (or the whole city for that matter) does. When Q owners first announced their intentions they did not say whether or not the new nightclub would be gay or not; instead Q officials released the vague statement, "At Q, everyone is welcome."

With less than two weeks left before they open the doors and turn on the sights and sounds, some members of the local LGBT community still say a large, expensive nightclub catering to the mixed crowd (which often means more straight women than gay men) is an unwelcome addition to the gay ghetto of Pike, Pine and Broadway. Smith, however (who is himself gay), doesn’t see that as representative of the majority. "We are a Capitol Hill nightclub," he said, "And that means that everybody that is part of this neighborhood is welcome at Q."


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