Black and Tan Hall, an upcoming music venue/restaurant project in Hillman City that aims to unite the diverse neighborhood, is nearly open. The owners are making a final push via GoFundMe to finance the building’s finishing touches as well as stock the kitchen and bar. The campaign is seeking to hit a $30,000 goal; as of this writing, it’s brought in a little over $11,000.
When it opens, the venue will involve a combination of elements like music hall, workshop space, and restaurant. It's currently being built out inside the former home of Maxim’s, the long-shuttered karaoke and comedy show venue at 5608 Rainier Avenue S. Black and Tan Hall will operate with a cooperative-style business model with funding by investors who also contribute sweat equity.
The GoFundMe site makes clear, though, that any donations received through the online crowdfunding campaign are just that — donations. Anyone wishing to become an owner-investor can apply as a partner via the project’s website. The investment operates on a sliding scale, which factors in annual unpaid labor hours plus a one-time financial contribution.
The new club is headed by Ben Hunter, Rodney Herold, and chef Tarik Abdullah, who will lead the restaurant portion. Abdullah has made a name for himself largely through pop-ups like his Morningstar Café and Midnight Mecca events, both focusing on Mediterranean and Caribbean food. He also competed on ABC’s "The Taste."
The project takes its name and concept from racially inclusive Black and Tan clubs that were popularized in the 1920s and 30s and yet seem as relevant and radical as ever in today's world. A South Seattle Emerald preview provides historical background: "Throughout America’s racist history of Jim Crow laws, red-lining, colorism and other discrimination, Black & Tan clubs allowed people to come together across racial lines to make music and build community. Seattle’s own Black & Tan Club operated from 1932 to 1966 on 12th and Jackson and boasted some of the biggest headliners in jazz and soul," including Duke Ellington.
Stay tuned for updates as the opening nears.