For the most part, the changes look good, especially with regard to Neumos' mezzanine, where a large wall's been removed to create more real estate to better view the action onstage. The club also added five 4’x3’ screens to capture said stage action for those who'd prefer to sit at tables, whose number has been substantially increased to the mezzanine. Without the wall, there should be much less congestion among drinkers lining up at the bar.
On the main floor, the small bar near the stage's been moved to the rear corner near the stairs, where the merch table usually resided; the new merch table location is the rear corner near the sound booth. The stage and production areas have been slightly altered and the sound system's been given a boost, as have the newly installed heat and AC system. The hallways are now fully decorated with framed show posters from the past decade.
As for the bathrooms, the gender-neutral one upstairs has been fancied up while the other one has been eliminated. The men's room downstairs has fresh coats of black and blue-gray paint, improved sink fixtures (and a much deeper sink), and higher stalls that afford greater privacy. However, there are no hooks anywhere to hang your coat or bag.
Neumos' exterior features a mural designed and painted by local artist Jeff "Weirdo" Jacobson that pays tribute to musicians who have performed at the venue over the last 20 years.
The Runaway—named after Joan Jett's '70s band the Runaways—has a much-easier-to-navigate layout, with six booths equipped with wooden tables built into the wall and chairs, barstools, and banquettes in basil green upholstery. Photos from Coco Foto and Jennifer Ament's '80s guitar print extensively cover the walls. Behind the bar sits a turntable and records donated by the Sub Pop and Light in the Attic labels. Above the Hot Tracks neon sign on the back wall dwells the elevated DJ booth (praise be—no requests for you, drunken patron!). And it smells like management has thoroughly expunged the stench of former notorious regular Matt Hickey.
As a bonus, Paseo has replaced the long-dormant space where Pike Street Fish Fry did business between Neumos and the old Moe Bar.
Overall, these positive developments should help Neumos and the Runaway to remain near the top of Seattle's competitive nightlife scene for the foreseeable future. But, seriously, no hooks in the bathroom stalls?