410 7th Ave. S.

Russell E. “Noodles” Smith’s last hurrah in the nightclub business, the Ubangi opened with the Los Angeles swing band led by Les Hite (with whom many Seattle musicians played over the years), complete with a floor show from Frank Sebastian’s Cotton Club, in Los Angeles. Smith’s intention was to make the Ubangi a regular stop for famous bands and for a while, it was. Gene Coy’s Black Aces performed there, as did Cab Calloway, but while the place reportedly had excellent food and drink, and exotic, potted-palm decor, Smith’s dream didn’t work out and it eventually featured Seattle musicians such as Zelma Winslow, Palmer Johnson and Wyatt Howard after its colorful opening. The club folded after two years. According to Bruce Rowell, who co-managed the Ubangi for Noodles, an underground tunnel led from the Ubangi to the basement where the Wah Mee and the Club Royale were housed, for the purpose of escaping raids. Descendants of the owner of the Louisa Hotel, the basement of which housed the Club Royale, confirmed the existence of these tunnels, which they played in as children.

Jackson Street After Hours (print only). No known online links.