Wrex and The Vogue

2018 1st Avenue

2018 1st Avenue, Seattle, May 27, 2020, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Mudhoney performing, The Vogue Tavern, Seattle, 1990, Photo by Charles Peterson
John Sex with special guests The Oklahomasexuals at The Vogue, 1987, Courtesy Washington State Historical Society (1995.143.47)
The Visible Targets at Wrex concert poster, ca. 1981, Courtesy MOHAI (2018.86.60)

2018 1st Avenue

The Belltown dance-club scene got kick-started in 1977 with the founding of a gay bar called Tugs Belltown at 2207 1st Avenue. It featured a big dance floor, lots of fresh punk and New Wave music, and the occasional live band. Down the street another gay venue, Johnny’s Handlebar, followed Tugs’ lead in 1979 when it reemerged as Wrex, a video dance club that spun alternative and punk records. In 1980 Wrex booked the first of what would be countless live bands — Delta 5, Joan Jett, X, Grace Jones, Hüsker Dü, and Romeo Void all played here. In 1982 Wrex was shuttered and The Vogue opened in its place. Many of the best local bands performed at The Vogue, including Mudhoney and Alice in Chains, and it was the venue for Nirvana’s first well-attended Seattle show, on April 24, 1988.

Continue north on 1st Avenue to Bell Street. Go left on Bell and down the hill to where Bell intersects with Western Avenue.

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