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Arts & Culture

The Crocodile is back open and bigger than ever

A neon sign with the words "The Crocodile" are displayed vertically in a gold color against a background with a geometric pattern resembling a reptile's skin in a green/blue hue.
Grace Madigan
/
KNKX
The Crocodile reopened on Dec. 1 after announcing it would move from its original location on Second and Blanchard.

After the historic Seattle venue announced it was moving just a couple of blocks down the street to the former location of El Gaucho at First Avenue and Wall Street, The Crocodile is reopen to the public. The new space includes two dedicated music stages, a comedy club, cafe and hotel.

After completing a move to a new location, the historic Crocodile theater reopened its doors on Wednesday at First Avenue and Wall Street in Seattle. The Crocodile is a Belltown fixture that’s been around since 1991, when it cemented itself in Seattle’s grunge history with icons like The Posies, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, and Nirvana gracing its stage.

But the venue is turning a page reopening at its new location. This isn’t the first time The Crocodile shook things up. Back in 2005, ownership changed hands and it got a makeover. This time, it’s the same core people but a brand-new, larger space.

Nikki Barron, the venue’s marketing manager gave a tour of the main showroom, which includes a 40-foot replica of a crocodile skeleton.

The natural history theme extends throughout the Crocodile’s new space into its new cafe, the Society, where there are historical photos of Seattleites and dioramas. One notable Seattleite they honored in the new space is Madame Lou, someone they felt has been overlooked in the city’s history.

"Madame Lou was a famous Seattle madam in the late 1800s. And so you know where the mission is down in Pioneer Square? That building was actually her brothel," Barron said. "She's really not been celebrated in the way that we felt that she should as an entrepreneur. Everybody went to Madame Lou's, but nobody talked about going to Madame Lou's. So she's been sort of faded into history [and] we wanted to have this space dedicated to her."

Besides seeing local artists and touring bands in town, The Crocodile is now home to a 17-room hotel, a cafe and stage for comedy acts and movie screenings. That’s all on top of its two music stages. It's a big step up from its “grungy” origins.

But return patrons like Jessica Johnson aren’t too worried that the venue will lose its touch as a champion of the local music scene.

"I think the community loves the Crocodile so much that even when they did the change of interior at the last place, everyone stayed behind them through that remodel and now through this remodel," Johnson said. "We’re just all excited about it. And now they can go even farther and support local comedians and local or other kind of musicians and artists."

That’s something they’re already doing. The hotel rooms feature works by local artists like Moses Sun, and one of the venue’s stages will showcase local musicians like Gifted Gab, who christened the stage during Tuesday night's sneak preview event.

You can expect to see more local artists taking stage at the Crocodile in the coming months. For a full calendar of events, visit its website, thecrocodile.com.

A giant skeleton of a crocodile hangs from the ceiling of a ballroom. There is a large tropical-themed bar on the wall, and several standing height tables space around the floor.
Grace Madigan
/
KNKX
A 40-foot replica of a crocodile skeleton looms over the main showroom at the Crocodile in Seattle.