Giggles have replaced guns and music has replaced mayhem at the former Mr. Lucky club across the street from KeyArena. Opening for business for the first time last Friday, Feb. 2, the Mainstage Comedy and Music Club owners are betting on success in a business that is also a dream come true for two of the three owners.
Owner Becka Barry is a comic, while owner Julie Mains is a musician and singer, and for some time both women have wanted a place where they can both perform and call the shots, according to Mains.
"As a musician," she said, "I've wanted for a long time to have a space where my community can play regularly, when they wanted to [and] on their own terms."
Most musicians would like to have that kind of gig, but the idea of combining music with comedy came about almost by accident. Mains and Barry met last year while they were in a commercial for Lynnwood Honda, Mains remembers.
"I was like, this woman is cool and smart and funny, and we really hit it off," she said. Plus, Mains added, Barry complained that there just wasn't a club venue in Seattle for "A-List comics."
So the two women decided to combine efforts. They came up with a 19-page business plan for a new club, and they started the search for a place and for an investor, Mains said.
A former Chinese restaurant in Shoreline looked like a good possibility, but that deal fell through when the pair ran into new zoning restrictions, Mains said. "So we looked at a bunch of different clubs around town [in Seattle]."
The possibilities included venues in Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill. But the women finally heard that the former Mr. Lucky was up for sale and "just knew" it was the perfect location, Mains said.
"In the meantime, we had found our investor," she added. The investor, Patti Allen, was a fan of Barry, had seen all of her shows and had directed comedies for 10 years, Mains said. Allen plans to be a hands-on investor and stay involved with the new club, said Mains, adding that Allen is a great lady and businesswoman.
But it turned out that former Mr. Lucky owner Kyriakos Kyrkos wasn't the easiest of businessmen to deal with, according to Mains. She declined to provide details, simply saying: "It was very challenging."
The breakdown at the club is going to be 60-percent comedy and 40-percent music, Mains said. The music will include an open-mic night on Sundays and a house band on Wednesday nights, she said of two examples. And that's where the dream part comes in for Mains.
The house band will be made up of 15 to 20 rotating career musicians whom Mains will join on stage, she said. "I'm going to front and sit in, which will be so much fun," Mains grinned. "They're like family to me."
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights will be the big night for comics, with two shows a night and a cover charge of $20 to $30, she said. But the Mainstage will play host to the People's Republic of Comedy.
Barry did not show up for a scheduled interview the day after the club opened, and she did not respond to several requests for comment after that. But having the People's Republic of Komedy involved at the Mainstage is significant.
The group set up a recent Saturday night gig at a bar directly across the street Giggles, one of two existing comedy venues in town. The other venue is the Comedy Underground, but according to press accounts, the gig across the street from Giggles was a protest against what many comedians, including Barry, consider to be ill treatment at the long-established comedy club.
The Mainstage will be completely up and running in March, when it will become "a full-on artistic melting pot," according to Mains. That will include cabaret and film screenings, she said. And all the acts will be taped and offered for sale on the Internet, Mains said.
The Mainstage will be open seven days a week, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., said Mains, who is keenly aware of neighborhood feelings about the former Mr. Lucky and the violence that took place there. "We understand this neighborhood has to have a bit of an emotional makeover," is how she put it.
Mains promises the club will be a good neighbor, and she said the club has installed surveillance cameras outside to keep an eye on what happens in the surrounding parking lots, where most of the violence at Mr. Lucky took place.
A comedy and music club will undoubtedly be preferable for many, compared to what could have happened at the place. According to neighborhood sources, former club owner Kyrkos was considering opening up a strip club if he couldn't get his liquor license renewed. "He told us he'd already purchased the pole," Mains said.
Staff reporter Russ Zabel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 461-1309.