This week Seattle nightlife suffered another painful loss with the death of Eli Baroh, the beloved general manager of Havana Social Club.
Baroh had worked at the Capitol Hill club for many years as a security employee before ascending to manager at the popular dance spot. He had also worked security for the Showbox, Ram, Earl's on the Ave, the All American, and Viceroy. Baroh was known for his warmth, generosity, and effectiveness at defusing potentially violent situations.
In a 2007 feature in The Stranger, Angela Garbes described Baroh's philosophy for dealing with conflict in a club setting. "Baroh doesn't approach patrons looking for a confrontation; he looks to understand them and, if they decide to give him a hassle, to use that understanding to outsmart them and send them on their way. It's this innate curiosity and insight into human nature that makes him a kick-ass host."
Baroh told Garbes: "What I like about security is that even though you have to live at bars and clubs, you get to know people, and it gives you a home."
He made patrons feel welcome, and in the case of one Seattle DJ, Brian MacDonald, Baroh allowed him to spin a weird array of tunes every week for nine years. He was a master tension-diffuser and great friend to many in Seattle's nightlife scene.
RIP, Eli Baroh.
You can contribute to the Eli Baroh Memorial Fund here.