WAID SAINVIL Says this place is his everything.
  • Kelly O
  • WAID SAINVIL Says this place is his everything.

City authorities are trying, again, to shutter the last black-owned nightspot in the increasingly white and gentrified Central District, where the percentage of the population that is black has plummeted from 51 to 21 percent over the past 20 years, according to census data.

On a recent Sunday, after midnight at Waid's Restaurant and Lounge on Jefferson Street and 12th Avenue, several dozen people, most of them black, danced on a crowded floor to upbeat reggae music. "We Are All One," declared a banner looming over the proceedings. "How is this dangerous?" asked club owner Waid Sainvil, in between pouring drinks for patrons at the bar. Sainvil, a stocky naturalized immigrant from Haiti with dreads and a wide smile, has owned and operated the business since 2006. "My customers love this place," he said. If it is shut down, "we'll march downtown," Sainvil promised, glancing up at me with a momentary, fierce look.

The irony is that in 2007, as The Stranger reported at the time, a group of residents who lived near the nightclub marched to City Hall and urged the city council to pass legislation to "protect" their neighborhood. One man who lived around the block told the council that a recent shooting was "the result... of an illegal nightclub in our neighborhood." But Seattle police said there was no connection between the club and the shooting, and the irate residents later apologized for the confusion.

The same story is playing out today, seven years later...

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