After months of anticipation, rumor, innuendo and lot of good old-fashioned cunty snark from the hater-ati all over the internet (you know who you are…), Q CAPITOL HILL opened this last Saturday to much fanfare, hitting capacity at around 10pm, and carried a line 2 blocks long of would-be clubgoers well up toward midnight. Q smartly invited the public to come celebrate the Opening with no cover charge to check out the new space. From all accounts, rather a smashing success.
On Friday evening, though, Q owner Scott Smith kindly offered us (and other members of the media, and a bunch of other folks) an invite to come check the place out before the public opening. As part of that invite, he respectfully asked the media not to bring photographers (as he would understandably have his own) – and we were happy to oblige him… far more fun to simply enjoy the place, and be able to experience it first hand as a guest.
But, you needed to look no further than Facebook and Twitter to see snapshots taken on iPhones and shutterbugs who documented the evening from top to bottom, stem to stern. All weekend the social media was aflame with love, admiration and praise for the new club, but it wouldn’t be the internet with a smattering of cunty comments – most of which seemed to be less focused on the club, and more on the questionable behavior of the guests (learn to hold your liquor, y’all!).
My overall assessment was a positive one – there were endless comparisons to clubs in New York, London, Chicago and LA all throughout the evening among our group of people, but there are a few points that bear highlighting:
Awesome Thing #1 – The Interior Entry Queue
It was a clever design choice to put a waiting entry-space inside that could accommodate a line of guests. In the event that there was a need to have a line of folks waiting to get in, there’s space for folks to get in out of the rain (well, at least the first hundred or so…). Smart for a couple reasons: first, you don’t have to wait in the rain and get all smudgy and gross. Second, the environment of the waiting hall builds a lot of anticipation…
Awesome Thing #2 – Bar Service in The Round
I have to admit, it made me a little nervous about having an omnidirectional bar… Ill-defined “in” and “out” points make Seattleites nervous at bars – we aren’t particularly good at lining up anyway, how would this work? But, it’s pretty obvious where the bartenders are (hint: look for the rubber mat and a cash register). Unsolicited tip for drinkers: once you’ve paid the bartender, and tipped, get the hell out of the way. No one waiting behind you is interested in waiting for you and your friend to continue your conversation as you’re picking up your drinks. Move with haste and purpose. And the way the main bar is shaped, you can easily get away and not be in the way.
Awesome Thing #3 – Unisex Restroom
Personally, I’ve never really understood why restrooms are gender differentiated. I guess it’s theoretically a safety concern, but the design of main restroom at Q is pretty brilliant. There are WC’s in the main restroom, that offer all the privacy one might need while taking care of business. And the paperless hard dryers? Yes. Perfect. Wetpaper towel scraps on a restroom floor disgust me so much… and it’s a safety hazard. But, if the Unisex Restroom is too much, there’s a smaller, more private lav downstairs, and two private restrooms upstairs.
Awesome Thing #4 – The Red Room
It’s chic. It’s modern. It’s VERY red. In New York or Chicago, if you installed a mezzanine that overlooks a dance floor, then decorated it heavily in a color THAT red, you’d have to give it a REALLY bougie name like SALON ROUGE or the SANGUINE LOUNGE. But it’s really simply a nice place to settle, chat and seal that hookup deal you’ve been working on the dance floor. The music is still playing, but you can manage a decent conversation (at bar volumes, of course), or you can sit down for a moment – nothing wrong with that. And frankly that much red is sexy as hell.
Awesome Thing #5 – Strategic and Brilliant Lighting
Q is lit EVERYWHERE. It’s not exactly DMV fluorescent, but it (like every other aspect of the club) is strategic and purposeful. The lighting at the bar is diffuse and indirect – enough so you can see your bartender and your bill, and your bartender can see if you need to be cut off. The dance floor is illuminated by an extraordinary lighting rig (and seriously, that disco ball is gorgeous!) but you’re never blinded in any other part of the bar by squiggling lasers and strobes. You can find your way around the club at every turn, and never wonder if you’re going in the right direction.
One of the things that grosses me out faster than just about anything at a club or a bar, is if the walls and ceiling are painted matte black, and there’s no lighting to speak of. If a bar is that dark, it’s because they’re trying to hide their ugly – Q wants you to see EVERYTHING they have to offer.
Awesome Thing #6 – Lovely Staff Who Understand Customer Service
There is no shortage of bars and clubs in Seattle (not just on Capitol Hill) where the doorman greets you with nothing but a very brusque “ID”… a simple request to show your ID, but met with no eye contact, and an indifference that reads as near hostility that you are darkening the door of their bar. There’s a simple adage that lives at the core of all customer service everywhere, regardless of industry: “Don’t Be A Dick.” Q Capitol Hill employs Security Concierges, not bouncers. And here’s what’s so crazy – THEY’RE NICE PEOPLE! They smiled, they said Hello, they made eye contact. They weren’t dicks. They realize that they are the FIRST experience that people will have at their bar, and they want you to feel welcome. After all, if you’re happy, you’re going to have a good time, and you’ll feel dis-inclined to be an asshole. If I walk into a bar after being treated by the doorman as a nuisance, my inner asshole is more likely to emerge. Now, if you’re acting like a fool, and are being messy, they’ll need to deal with you accordingly. And you have no one to blame but yourself. Also, at some point in the night a spilled drink managed to mobilize a near-military operation to mitigate the potential safety hazard. That, my friends, is not only really smart business, it’s pure class. How many times have you walked through a sticky spot on a bar floor with ice cubes and shards of glass. More than once I’m guessing – but that doesn’t seem to be something that’ll be happening here.
Q is now open to the public. Visit their website, and our Calendar for upcoming events.
LOUNGE NIGHT: Mon-Thurs, 5pm-2am
DANCE FLOOR: Fri-Sat, 8pm-Close
TEA DANCE: Sun, 3pm-2am
Happy Hours Mon-Fri, 5-9pm