Black and Tan Hall, the upcoming music venue/restaurant project in Hillman City that aims to unite the diverse neighborhood, is very close to opening. Co-founders Tarik Abdulah, Ben Hunter, and Rodney Herold have shied away from promising an opening date, but say “it will still be shorts weather” when the opening arrives. Given the current weather forecast, that sounds pretty imminent.
When it opens, the venue will involve a combination of elements like music hall, workshop space, and restaurant. It occupies the former home of Maxim’s, the long-shuttered karaoke and comedy show venue at 5608 Rainier Avenue S. Abdullah, who will lead the restaurant portion, 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.
Black and Tan Hall will operate with a cooperative-style business model with funding by investors who also contribute sweat equity. The team also raised money via a GoFundMe campaign that is still active, having raised a little more than $24,000 of a $30,000 goal. 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.