Monday, January 24, 2011

Mambo Italiano Valentine's Dinner & Burlesque tickets are on sale now!

Squire your sweetheart down to Skylark on Monday, February 14th for a saucy, sultry evening of dinner and burlesque. Watch the glitter and glamour unfold while dining on a delicious 3-course Italian meal.

Featured performers include: Jacquelyne Hyde (performing the act she is taking to Milan!), Sailor St. Claire, Madisun Avenue, Ava Raqs, Scandal from Bohemia and Whisper de Corvo.

Doors 7:30. Show begins at 8:15 pm.

$35 per person for reserved VIP seating including $25 three course Italian dinner:

I. antipasto or caesar salad with a toast of prosecco
II. tricolore pesto lasagna or beef ragu on grilled polenta

III. affogato dessert
$10 per person for bar and limited view table seating.

Note: Regular menu not available after 7pm Valentine's Day only. Limited a la carte snacks while supplies last until 10, then late night happy hour menu and drink specials until midnight.
Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.  
Limited seating so reserve soon!

Ciao, ragazzi!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Burlesque & More Burlesque...

New Year's Eve was a blast. The performers were saucy, the crowd was jolly, and a good time was had by all. It was our first night of burlesque in well over a year and clearly the community had missed it.

Now, we are pleased to present a monthly burlesque event AND a special Valentine's Day dinner & a show event (tickets will be available soon, save the date!).

Every last Thursday of the month, starting next week on January 27, you can get your burlesque fix on the westside. Performers this month are:

Jacqueline Hyde (performing the act she is taking to Milan! Rumor has it there is a 4-foot headdress involved!)
Scandal From Bohemia
Betty Fish
Pinky Shines
Sailor St. Claire
Whisper De Corvo
and your charming host Mr. Bawdy.

Doors at 8pm. 21+/$7

The Valentine's Day event ("Mambo Italiano") will be announced in more detail as soon as we can get online ticketing up and running since seating is very limited for the VIP dinner and a show part. We are very excited to offer a three-course Italian meal with pre-paid table seating, it's going to be molto romantico!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Out with the old, in with the edition

Out with 2010...

- never a cover charge on any live music show

Live music at Skylark was always free. It was an experiment.

When we opened in 2006, a survey determined that these were the most important things to Seattle show-goers: good sightlines, seating, good sound, and low/no cover charges. So, when I bought Madison's, we raised the stage a foot, built a long bench, upgraded the P.A., and designed a model that paid the bands out of restaurant sales.

This model would prove very challenging. Here's why. Average full-service restaurant profit margins are 5%. Pay performers 10% off the top and you are in the hole 5%. Now pay the sound person. Now pay the door person that the Liquor Control Board "strongly suggests" that you add to your staff, just to card people. Add an economic collapse that caused the lowest restaurant traffic in 34 years.

So why were we free for so long, even after the Blue Moon started charging? Well, we liked our model a lot. No risk for audiences! Guaranteed pay for all bands! Incentive to see lesser-known acts! Not everyone got it, but some bands did. I thought we could single-handedly increase the Seattle show-going crowd and simultaneously create a westside live music scene with this unique gesture of no cover ever.

Last May, we hosted a KEXP Hood-to-Hood Challenge showcase. It was huge! It went great! Bands that night got the biggest payout ever...and had the worst reaction to it ever. Posts appeared online about how little they were paid, and some even called for a boycott. It was surreal. Such was the risk of our 10% model. It guaranteed a little something even for low-drawing bands, but disappointed some popular bands. We usually enjoyed leveling the playing field in that way, and very few bands are in it for the cash, but that situation was a turning point.

Since we opened, we've supported indie musicians with about $120,000. I'm proud of that even if it didn't turn out to be a viable long-term business model for us.

In with 2011...

- low cover live music Friday, Saturday, Sunday (default is just $5)
- still totally free live music Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays

So far, it's working out really well. The payouts to performers are trending higher overall than they would have been from our sales, and show-goers have been unfazed. (We now have an ATM, so not having cash on you isn't a problem.)

We're looking forward to bringing lots of live music to the westside in 2011 and beyond. I hope I can take this thing to the next level. I'm excited about the opportunity to approach bands that outgrew us and ask them back, and to have a sweeter offer for those "headliners" that everyone always wants to open for. I am also pleasantly rid of the feeling that we were bribing people to come "all the way to West Seattle." After 5 years, everyone has finally realized we're no further from Capitol Hill/downtown than Fremont.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

Love, Jessie

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new...café edition

Out with 2010 in the café:

- pre-formed 1/3 lb. burgers
- pre-formed sliders, only available at Happy Hour from 3pm to 7pm 
- the usual pre-frozen fries
- "fries, tots, soup or salad?"
- decent West Coast Philly cheesesteak approximation
- only vegan Gardenburger, mac 'n' cheese, Caesar salad, hummus plate for vegetarians
- Bailey's Butterscotch French Toast special, occasionally...sells out by 11am

In for 2011 in the café:

- super tasty hand-formed 1/2 lb. burgers (juicy!)
- super tasty juicy hand-formed sliders, available all the time not just happy hour
- hand-cut fries with skins on (Wendy's totally stole our idea!)
- "fries, tots, sweet potato fries, soup or salad?"
- Full-on East Coast Philly cheesesteak with Amoroso roll from Philly! Hallelujah!
- addition of delicious Grilled Veggie Sub (on aforementioned roll) served piping hot with grilled zucchini, roasted red peppers, provolone, marinara and crispy flash-fried red onions for texture.
- Bailey's Butterscotch French Toast on the brunch menu permanently! Give it a'll love it.

We'll be updating the website menu early next week but it's live now...all of it. Please give us your feedback on these new items, we always love to hear from you.

Jessie, owner
Tony, kitchen manager