A disco ball pivots overhead, while a DJ spins vinyl amid an ebullient crowd. They're all eager to peek inside one of 17 rooms at the newly appointed hotel tucked above one of Seattle’s most iconic music venues, now in the 1954 Sailors Union of the Pacific building on First Avenue and Wall Street.
The hotel is just the crow’s nest perched atop a labyrinthian, 30,000-square-foot ship that is the Crocodile, afloat in new waters. Madame Lou’s, named for a famed Seattle brothel owner, hits the sultry, dimly lit note of a speakeasy, and offers a more intimate foil to the venue's main space. The latter is a 50 percent audience capacity increase from the OG Crocodile, complete with a 40-foot replica of the eponymous reptile suspended in the rafters.
A similar natural history museum vibe reverberates through the Society, a snug cafe, restaurant, and purveyor of spirit-forward, Milanese-inspired cocktails adjoining the main showroom. The Crocodile’s Back Bar, a longtime wellspring of booze and pizza for showgoers, has been resurrected as the Here-After, a 100-seater club that will host comedy shows, film screenings, and live podcast tapings. The Here-After’s late-night alley bar opens, with theatrical flare, on New Year’s Eve.
As if this mecca of nightlife debauchery could get any more extravagant, the venues throughout the building offer a late-night menu of street food bites crafted by Chef Nathan Gerard, formerly of Reckless Noodle House, Il Bistro, and the Fairmont Olympic.
These past two years have seen many beloved nightlife and dining institutions fracture under the stress of a prolonged public health emergency, and the reconstituted Crocodile marks both the return of a local treasure and the tender shoots of new growth in a burned-out landscape.