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Friday, January 4, 2008

King Cobra Strikes Cap Hill

posted by on January 4 at 18:30 PM

UPDATED below.

This press release just arrived at the Stranger office:

The club formerly known as Sugar will become Seattle’s newest live music venue.

Che Sabado, who owned the Kincora Pub for five years, partnered with longtime friend Jamie Garza, a businessman who used to book all-ages concerts in Bremerton and Bellingham, to buy the nightclub Sugar and are planning on reopening the place as the King Cobra. The new venue will accommodate 475 people and will be home to a diverse mix of live acts as well as be a bar where locals can come and relax. The two bought the club because they wanted to contribute to the music community in Seattle.

As Sabado and Garza grew up in this area they would go to local concerts and see some great bands that later became world famous. Now they want to provide that opportunity for other music fans.

“There is already great live music almost every night of the week thanks to Neumo’s, the Comet Tavern, and Chop Suey. We want to complement what is already going on, and hopefully add something new,” Sabado said. “We want people to know whoever they are, if they come to 10th and Pike they’re going to have a good time.”

Sabado tapped Jason Rothman, the editor and publisher of the former underground music magazine Disheveled, to handle the day-to-day booking, but the club is using many different local bookers that already work with all the live-music venues in the city.

“We want to feature everything from hiphop to punk, metal, alt-county, comedy, and even DJs.” Sabado said. “We don’t want to be known as a club where you only go see certain music, because the music fans in Seattle like all kinds of music.”

The staff is planning to open the club in the middle of January with live music starting soon after that.

Pretty exciting news. Seattle’s burgeoning “entertainment disctrict” continues to grow.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with booker Jason Rothman. Here’s what he had to say:


There’s already so much sound equipment there, we’re just gonna reposition the speakers into stacks. We’re gonna hang the speakers, build a bigger stage, and paint the place. It’s almost done. It was an existing club before, so there wasn’t too much to do. We’re gonna take down that mirror because glass is the enemy of sound.

The club is in great shape and we’re only gonna make it better. We’re gonna get rid of the white. The walls are gonna go black. We have some artists who we’re looking at blowing up some big murals. Think of it as your rebellious teenage son who went into the room and redecorated it for himself. That, but nice. More than anything, the stage will be well positioned for music.


It’s all depending on when we get the official liquor license. Che had a liquor license for five years, so he has a relationship, but technically it’s a new license. The walkthrough with the liquor board is Wednesday and once we get the OK from him we can open up. And then it’s just a matter of getting it stocked with bottles and getting some acts. It’ll be tight in the beginning but we’re all gonna try to have a good time with it. We wanna build something that feeds off what’s already there.

The timing is good [with the Croc closing and 10th & Pike booming], which helps everyone. Used-car places help each other, gas stations are always open next to each other. It will only make the place better to have more live music than less.


I booked a few shows for Disheleveled. More than anything, I know almost every local band in this town. If I don’t know ‘em I know how to get ahold of them. We want a mixture of both local bands and national.

We’re looking for ways to keep costs low to keep ticket prices reasonable and pay the bands. We all play music, we’ve all been in bands, so we know what it’s like. We wanna give local bands a great stage to play that sounds great. I love the Comet, but sometimes it gets a little too crowded, or those speakers are a little too close to your ears.


We’re keeping that under wraps. We’re working on it. Bands wanna know what day, and it’s all up in the air right now. I’m sure everyone will be happy to be able to play at another place.


The staff—all the bartenders from Kincora, Che and his girlfriend Dawn—will be a huge presence, as well as Jamie, who is moving from Bellingham to Seattle, and I’ll be there almost every night. We have some great sound men working—Paul the Sound Viking is signed up, and Greedy Greg who worked sound at Neumo’s forever.

UPDATE 2: Just did a walkthrough of Sugar with the lights on and met Jamie, Che, Dawn, and Jason. They have a lot of work ahead of them in the next few weeks. The place is DEFINITELY a dance club; though the infrastructure might be solid, every architectural detail and design element of the space is tailored to a semi-chic dance club experience, which is miles from what a good rock venue provides. Whoever previously remade the place into Sugar put a lot of money into making it look the way it does, so it’ll require at least a lot of effort into un-making it look that way.

Jason reiterated that the show experience will be paramount—stage and sound layout are being taken care of first, and the details will be worked out from there. Che mentioned booking a diverse range of entertainment, from comedy to Seattle Semi-pro Wrestling. A contractor and a couple of sound guys were already working on the place when I arrived.

The whole crew were prepared to basically live at the club over the next few weeks, pouring every waking moment into renovation. We’ll keep you posted.

RSS icon Comments


I wonder how many Croc staff they will hire?

Posted by PGC | January 4, 2008 12:43 PM

Oh, and I told you so.

Posted by PGC | January 4, 2008 12:45 PM

I helped put some shows on back in the day with Jamie. Good dude, always willing to help. I am hoping for the best for this club.

Posted by tallchris | January 4, 2008 1:13 PM

is there contact info available for the booker?

Posted by some guy | January 4, 2008 1:33 PM

Complement, not compliment. Unless he really meant compliment, which would be a misunderstanding of the phrase.

Posted by genevieve | January 4, 2008 1:38 PM

Fucking awesome!

Posted by laterite | January 4, 2008 1:48 PM

sounds awesome... hope it works out...

Posted by boxofbirds | January 4, 2008 1:48 PM

sweet....I heard this rumor weeks ago but didn't know they were completely changing from Kincora to a whole new thing.

and Dawn ROCKS!

Posted by michael strangeways | January 4, 2008 1:48 PM

that is sweet. too bad that building will just be coming down in a few years, though... until then, long live king cobra!

Posted by infrequent | January 4, 2008 1:55 PM

I'm happy, but that's a dumb name.

Posted by king cobra? | January 4, 2008 1:58 PM

This is excellent news! I hope things go well for the place and the whole block.

Posted by notonthehill | January 4, 2008 2:00 PM

Cap Hill needs more Metal. Hopefully King Cobra will deliver us some.

Posted by Curtains | January 4, 2008 2:06 PM

Another Chop Suey/Neumos! What the fuck for? Very sad to hear this news. Wonder if the aggressive trash from Kincora will hang out there now. What happened to Pony or Manray going in there? That's great. Hip-Hop and heavy metal. Just what the hill didn't need...

Posted by Touring | January 4, 2008 2:28 PM

It'll be interesting to see if the music is varied, or the same ol same ol.

Posted by Router | January 4, 2008 2:31 PM

No one's mentioned the best part of this announcement, which is that it won't be Sugar anymore. Just about anything would be an improvement.

Posted by rk | January 4, 2008 2:47 PM

#13 sez: "too many live music venues on the hill! not enough gay bars!!!"

Posted by guh | January 4, 2008 3:19 PM

another pony would have been nice. but i'll take a kincora's just the same. but the old place rarely had shows -- i like the dive bar aesthetic. now, it does sound like a cleaner comet. which isn't bad either, of course. do we have to complain about everything? yes, that is our way.

Posted by infrequent | January 4, 2008 3:38 PM

@10 yeah... "Sugar" was a dumb name too. What we need is something smart-sounding like "Pony."

Posted by Katelyn | January 4, 2008 7:21 PM

It's kind of a cooler name when you realize that it's Kincora with a 'g' and a 'b' added, as well as some spacing...

Wonder if there'll ever be underage nights? I couldn't really tell from the write-up, but it sounds like it's going to be pretty much another Comet, so only 21 and up. Oh well, only 17 more months...

Posted by C. | January 4, 2008 10:03 PM

Uhm... Seattle Semi-Pro wrestling? Really? This is the first I've heard of it, and I'm currently their champion. I usually get told of shows months ahead of time, because I'm the only guy required to perform at all of them.

I almost spit my cranberry juice reading this.

Truthfully, Jason is a good guy. He profiled SSP wrestling in the 1st issue of Disheveled. We're possibly the only non-music group to have the honor of being written about in there.

Before we were headlining places like Neumo's, Jason profiled us when we were struggling with getting shows at the Funhouse. So, I guess I'm just saying the venue is in tremendous hands.

You're not going to have to worry about the place being "Only Hip-hop and Metal." If you've ever read Disheveled, you'll know he covers a range of different styles. Don't think of it as a cleaner Comet. It'll be more mixed-use than that, and the sound will be better.

Think of it as a cleaner Neumo's jr.

This is wonderful news. The Hill gets to stay diverse. I guess I should tell everyone in my crew to expect a phone call from them.... ;)

Posted by godsactionfigure | January 5, 2008 4:50 AM

Pony forever, condos never!!
Pony will rise again, don't forget us!
Congrats to Che, let's hope that space isn't fucked from bad Sugar karma. So glad there's going to be somewhere to go... I actually thought about checking out Havanna the other night. BARF!

Posted by CalamityPositive | January 5, 2008 5:30 AM

PS I concur; Dawn totally rocks. Yay for my favorite red head in Seattle!

Posted by CalamityPositive | January 5, 2008 5:33 AM

kinda bummed they are totally gonna undo all the work the dance community did to make it pretty - too bad things went south with all that.

Posted by julia | January 5, 2008 6:02 AM

The trickle down effect of great business owners is prevalent in all cities. The passive-aggressive Seattle, "Im too cool for my T-SHIRT" crowd is expected. Grow up! SMELL the coffeshop talk bullshit. If you can't buy a bar and don't work in one,just keep writing in the e-dream journal that takes you to never say "Right on" and say "i'll blog and drink......But will probably go there and be stoked" and still bitch about every thing because its so "SEATTLE"! So sorry for the unknowing....The new place is going to be. Not taken! Just enjoy, not try!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by just because you couldn't | January 5, 2008 6:22 AM

Wake Up & Smell The Mixed Use

Posted by lar | January 5, 2008 12:15 PM

You're not making a lick of sense.

Posted by pete maravich's socks | January 5, 2008 12:24 PM

Well, as far as aggressive trash from Kincora is concerned, I will be there. Trash? You obviously didn't know very many people there or even hung out there. The aggressive attitudes were to be found on the college drunks visiting the hill. The regulars were and are some of the nicest people I've met in Seattle.Most other venues on the hill are real clicky and hipster central.A place to hear music live with a good setup and sound will rule. Keep talkin yer trash and makin yerselves look like fools. Kincora lives on in the hearts and minds of its family, and thats what we considered ourselves. Its too bad folks never took the time to get to know it before it was gone.Hail to the King! Long live King Cobra!

Posted by willy san | January 5, 2008 3:00 PM

mixed use is a good thing for sure but I just hope they don't hit it too hard with the ugly stick thats all - i was a fan of and manray - that look - but thats just my personal opinion - not talking smack just making a comment. :)

Posted by julia | January 5, 2008 3:26 PM

shut up and drink.

Posted by regular | January 5, 2008 4:22 PM

I don't like how hip hop is mentioned first. I'm sick of hip hop (with exception of whatever Pearl is doing). Capitol Hill needs to focus on rock n roll and rock n roll only. That includes metal, punk, country, blues, etc. But fuck anything influenced by THE SMITHS...and fuck DANCE POP!

Posted by Nils | January 5, 2008 4:28 PM

muhahahah disco punk!!!!!!! dance pop forever! ;)

but metal is cool too.

Posted by julia | January 5, 2008 8:15 PM

@ 10

You are out of your squirrel assed mind. King Cobra is the greatest name ever.

Malt Liqour, clubs, bands. Everything needs to be named King Cobra. From now on I'm callin' you King Cobra.

Posted by Ya Boy King Cobra | January 5, 2008 11:44 PM

This is great news. I have loved the name King Cobra since me and my girlfriend used to buy two 40s of it for $.99 each at the Whatcom general store and drink them during the 10 a.m. episode of the A-Team before going to class at Fairhaven.

- Paully

Posted by | January 6, 2008 2:26 AM

Hi Stranger,
This isn't the place but I was wondering, are you guys thinking at all about doing an issue with a 'no fun zone' theme.
This is where you talk about all the bullshit happening around the city which is ruining the fun stuff for fun people.

You could also talk about how from the clubs closing, new rules being rushed in, and small business spots making way for condos Seattle is destroying its 'young culture' atmosphere and turning into a giant grey blob.

Which is boring and like, so predictable.

Posted by lady | January 6, 2008 11:17 PM

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