The concept for THE LOUNGE began in the early eighties when jazz aficionado Billy Curry
converted his basement bedroom into a makeshift jazz lounge known at the time as The Club.
In addition to a wall-mounted television, The Club featured an enormous, archived record
collection as well as a davenport-and-coffee-table seating area and a top-loading refrigerator.
Billy slept on the davenport, as the room no longer contained a bed.
Through the following years Billy envisioned adding a bar to the apartments he lived in. While
he designed a bar for the lounge of the restaurant at The Glover Mansion (where he lived as
the house caretaker), and teamed with life-long friend and builder Chris G. to work on design
plans for his own ideal bar, it would be years before his home-lounge concept would be realized.
In the spring of 1997 Billy finally got the chance to create what would
become THE LOUNGE when a room for rent opened up at the House at
518, the left-wing nexus occupied by Heidi, River, Senator Leonard, a
host of other temporary residents and couch surfers, and his partner Liz.
While Billy had worked to design the physical bar, the centerpiece of any lounge, in previous
years, no plan was evident for what shape or construct would be used for the bar in the
lounge at 518. That changed one day when Billy stepped onto the porch at 518 and saw a
square, wicker-topped coffee table upended on the porch next door. “I looked next door and
saw some furniture out on the porch,” explained Billy. “It was the rugby house for the
university and some of the students were moving out. I noticed the coffee table standing on
The name for THE LOUNGE came naturally but was somewhat by design as well. Billy
explains, “I was intrigued by the game Clue. There is the parlor, the study and the library
among others. I thought it would be cool to call it THE LOUNGE because that’s what it is, a
lounge in a house, but it is also THE LOUNGE, a separate entity, an actual functioning
establishment, so it’s got the double meaning thing happening. Over the years THE LOUNGE
has become more well known as a destination place than as a lounge located in a home. I’ve
thought about adding to the name or changing it a bit to reflect that, but I never wanted to add
anything that would define it as something else. If we were to call it the Mod LOUNGE or Orbit
LOUNGE or LOUNGE Blu or something else we would be limiting the theme and style of THE
LOUNGE, which has always featured multiple themes. When we move we sometimes add its
new location to the title but it is and will always remain THE LOUNGE.”
May 1997- July 1998
(Click Thumbnails to view photos)
THE LOUNGE opened in the spring of 1997 in the house at 518 E. Mission in Spokane, Wa. As
part of an opening night celebration attended by future LOUNGE regulars Liz, Christina, Steve
G. and Senator Leonard, THE LOUNGE was presented with a bottle of almond liquor and a set
of cordial glasses. Initially THE LOUNGE took the form of a 50’s era jazz lounge or Sinatra style
speak easy while also employing movie and toy themes from films such as Mars Attacks.
In a ddition to the bar, another focal point of THE LOUNGE
was a large square couch that could accommodate several
patrons at once and was suitable for reclining and/or sleeping.
THE LOUNGE CINEMATOGRAPH was also developed to give
LOUNGE patrons the loungiest of movie-going experiences.
THE LOUNGE also contained a windowed closet Billy used as a studio. It
was there that much of the work in his Bar and Grill painting was done.
Live entertainment was hosted in THE LOUNGE and often featured
acoustic sets by The Senator. Other performers included Ernie, Ross, Matt
Kelly and the supreme Jesus Christ Superstar, AKA Jesse Hansen. Jesse,
a LOUNGE legend and an inspiration for the later LOUNGE exhibition, The
Jesus Experience, spent many of the first hours of the relationship with his
future wife Jennifer in THE LOUNGE after meeting her at 518.
THE LOUNGE was also a favorite playroom for The Young Master River as he and Billy would
spend hours playing with Legos or, along with The Senator, watching Johnny Quest videos.
One of the highlight events to take place in THE LOUNGE was the Get Well Frank Sinatra
Party. The evening featured airings of Sinatra concerts on the LOUNGE monitor and drink
tributes such as Old Blue Eyes, a drink named after the legendary performer that contains Jack
Daniels, his on-stage drink of choice. The special night also included a rendition of Sinatra’s
version of the Petula Clark hit “Downtown,” performed by the T-REX.
Another popular event was Liz’s Superhero birthday party where
guests were invited to attend as their own original superhero
selves. As ‘97 rolled on THE LOUNGE gradually took on a more
groovy tone as Austin Powers became yet another theme of the
burgeoning venue. THE LOUNGE continued to operate at 518 until
July of ’98 when the housemembers disbanded and moved away.
August 1998 – November 1999
In August of ‘98 THE LOUNGE opened at its new location in an apartment in Spokane’s Browne’s
Addition, just east of downtown Spokane. The new, smaller and rarely seen LOUNGE retained
most of the elements of its predecessor, save a live staging area, while the actual bar area was
modified and enhanced. It was the first time the LOUNGE bar featured a ‘U’ type design
compared to the former corner ‘L’ shape and it also saw the introduction of a larger back bar
with shelved towers on each side along with the now familiar top shelf ‘island’ that spans them.
Though the Browne’s Addition location received little of the original LOUNGE’s attention, it had a
unique feel and is fondly remembered. “I really liked the bar set up,” recalled
Billy. “The ‘U’ shape with entrances to other rooms at each end was really
cool. I wish more people would have seen it.” It was a time of nesting,
however, as Billy, Liz and Samantha The Kitty lived alone for the first time
and consequently few people ever saw the 2nd incarnation. THE LOUNGE at its location in
Browne’s Addition remained active until November of 1999.
December 1999 – Sept 2003
THE LOUNGE was about to undergo radical changes in December of 1999 as THE LOUNGE:
LAS VEGAS EDITION premiered in Sin City. It was during its near- 4-year run in Vegas that THE
LOUNGE: LAS VEGAS EDITION saw its most dramatic expansion and additions and gained its
largest following to date. Sweeping design changes took place as THE LOUNGE: LAS VEGAS
EDITION diversified thematically more than ever before. While retaining its core feel THE
LOUNGE: LAS VEGAS EDITION took on a decidedly Vegas style, incorporating elements such
as a back bar waterfall, marble tiered sandgardens, Goldmember status cards for LOUNGE
GOLDMEMBERS, and the extremely popular Money Honey slot machine.
Other new additions included the long-anticipated vending machine, walk-up window service and
Race Bannon’s Desert Bus Tours. TL: LVE also ‘went native’ with an all-new animal-print theme that
dominated the luxurious relaxation area. In addition TL: LVE also expanded to include a patio area
and live remote feeds to LOUNGE suites for overnight guests. Most notable was Senator Leonard,
who made several trips in from his compound in Boston and regularly watched LOUNGE parties via
the remote LOUNGEVISION system. The bar itself underwent a major retooling as the now signature
lighted LOUNGE lattice was incorporated and the top shelf island became a much talked about
‘Island of Icons,’ highlighted by the Red Velvet Jesus and other mega symbols of popular culture.
THE LOUNGE also became a hot entertainment venue with the addition of a karaoke sound system.
Regular performers included Dio, Liz, Brandynn, Billy The Bartender and The Senator. At TL: LVE
crazed, all-night parties became the norm. “THE LOUNGE totally exploded in Vegas,” recalled
LOUNGE MOD Billy. “We had people coming in from both coasts to party and there were no holds
barred. People knew that when they came to THE LOUNGE: LAS VEGAS EDITION there were no
limits as to what they could do. Not even the big corporate casinos could offer that. In THE LOUNGE
it’s all about freedom.”
THE LOUNGE: LAS VEGAS EDITION sported the biggest LOUNGE events yet, including the famous
debate between The Senator and The Devil, the inaugural taping of The Horsechestnut Show, THE
LOUNGE Kitsch Panel Discussion including LOUNGE regulars Jon Z, Gobi and The Sen, numerous
political fundraisers, Spooktacular Halloween parties and the infamous Easter Extravaganza featuring
psychedelic egg-dyeing and cookie-making. Horrifyingly, at the climax of the event, the Red Velvet
Jesus plummeted from high atop Icon Island but miraculously rose again moments later. While in Las
Vegas, THE LOUNGE also sponsored the champion bowling team THE LOUNGELORDS, who also
became the official team of coolbowlingshirts.com, the country’s premier supplier of
customizable bowling shirts. The team included MADS, Emma G, Race and Big Four
conqueror Dio and always destroyed rival Purple Haze whenever the teams met head
to head. TL: LVE, perhaps more than any other version of THE LOUNGE, had a big
and lasting impact. “The Vegas LOUNGE was maybe the biggest of the LOUNGEs so far,” said Billy.
“It really gained a lot of notoriety and THE LOUNGE really came into its own. THE LOUNGE does
Vegas! It was a pretty wild ride.”
October 2003 – July 2004
In October of 2003 The Long Beach Tribute To THE LOUNGE opened on East 4th Street in Long
Beach, CA. In a temporary location, the newest LOUNGE was designed to be a low-key tribute to
THE LOUNGE, much pared down from its incarnation in Vegas, while a permanent Long Beach
location was located. Developed as a way to bridge the old and new, TLBTTTL retained elements
from its LOUNGE ancestors, an ongoing LOUNGE tradition, while giving a peek at what was yet to
come. Executive chef Liz Moore summed it up best, "It was the essential LOUNGE. If you took all the
previous versions of THE LOUNGE and boiled them down to their core ingredients that's what you
would have left: essence of LOUNGE." TLBTTTL also saw the expansion and transformation of the
famous LOUNGE exhibition, The Jesus Experience, go from a religious and cultural display to an
interactive happening that left patrons shocked and aghast or enraptured in revelry. TLBTTTL also
was the first and possibly only LOUNGE to have an urban street setting as a backdrop, and it
created quite a stir from passing onlookers in the wee small hours of the morning. Billy, for one, felt
TLBTTTL was special. "It was cool, I liked it. The bar especially had a different look to it. I don't know
that we'll be able to recreate it again. In the pantheon of LOUNGEs it probably won't be up there with
the Vegas LOUNGE or the one at 518, and even though it was primarily set up as a transitional
LOUNGE and was pared down significantly, it was still cool and unique. The stage being against the
window, right above the street, and all the music of the traffic in the city, was something I'll never
Possibly the highlight event at TLBTTTL was the world premier of the LOBSTEROCKS show, which
played in TLBTTTL for one night only. “That show was a trip,” remarked the TLBTTTL MOD.
“Whatever you thought it was going to be about, well, it wasn’t about that. Even while you were
experiencing it you didn’t know what it was about, and THAT is how I like it!” New appointments in
TLBTTTL included a 9’ orange davenport to replace the longtime favorite square couch, ditched in
Vegas, and a round, marble coffee table from the sixties. The only problem was the davenport was
so long it wouldn’t fit through the door. It had to be stored in the stairwell until THE LOUNGE moved
again. The cushions, however, were taken into TLBTTTL and arranged into a comfortable couch
area. Although TLBTTTL was in existence at its location on 4th Street for only a short time it did
attract a small and loyal following (Jesse Hernandez, Charlene, Brian, Joe, Christina R, Micaylah)
who were sorry to see it move away.
July 2004 - March 2009
Just 8 blocks from TLBTTL, THE LOUNGE in Long Beach opened at its permanent LB location in July
of ’04 as the bridge between past and present had been crossed. As always, the new look LOUNGE
retained elements from past incarnations while adding a new and central theme. LOUNGE MOD Billy
explains, “Everyone kept asking what the new theme would be and I think lots of people expected a
beach theme. We did incorporate the beach but the beach theme was not prevalent like the Vegas
style was in Vegas. With THE LOUNGE in Long Beach I felt like we brought THE LOUNGE closer to
itself or what it will eventually be. It is always changing but there is a core LOUNGE feel and I think we
got closer to that in Long Beach.” In addition to subtle beach and ocean currents, THE LOUNGE in
Long Beach went more to the mod than ever before. “I am really inspired by the 60’s,” explains Billy,
“There were so many different styles and changes from the beginning of the decade to the end. It is
really amazing. I feel like from the 70’s until the present there has been as much change in style and
décor as there was in just the 60’s. But not just that, to me the 60’s were really THE END. That was
as freaked as it was going to get, in terms of style, plus I really like the architecture, art and
music all through the 60’s. And when I say 60’s it’s not just groovy mod stuff we’re
talking about. There’s 60’s Greek and Roman motifs that tied in too." And even
though the most previous LOUNGE, The Long Beach Tribute To THE LOUNGE,
was designed as a transitional gateway, THE LOUNGE in Long Beach retained
something from it as well. “I liked the pared-down thing at TLBTTTL. Reducing things to their core
elements made them stand out more; the old ‘less is more’ adage is true.”
Vomitorium, where guests were able to have a relaxing massage and cleansing purge all at the same
time. In June '05 THE LOUNGE in Long Beach hosted the LOUNGE At The Beach party where guests
were invited to meet and play on the beach until day’s end then utilize THE LOUNGE shuttle service to
ride back to THE LOUNGE, where the party continued. “I think the folks liked it, as evidenced by the
photos," commented THE LOUNGE MOD.
THE LOUNGE in Long Beach was home to a magical experience one evening after a local group of
karaoke stars were brought back to THE LOUNGE from another nearby venue. The group included
Ventor, his female singing partner and another male singer. After a round of regular karaoke the group
launched into an impromptu performance of "One More Time With Feeling," the full length musical album
from the cult television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With amazing accuracy, the group performed the
entire album from memory, delighting LOUNGE staff and leaving THE LOUNGE MOD with mouth agape.
"It was a stunning performance," declared the MOD. In March '06 the popular LOUNGE coffee and tea
bar annex was eliminated to make room for an all-new LOUNGE CINEMATOGRAPH featuring a
state-of-the-art projector, surround-sound system and a retractable 92" diagonal movie screen. "This has
been a long time coming," commented THE LOUNGE MOD, "but it isn't done yet. It's only going to get
On April 16th THE LOUNGE hosted an unusual LOUNGE event as guests celebrated the impending
arrival of the LOUNGE BABY with a shower for the pregnant Liz. Activities included present opening
hosted by THE LOUNGE MOD and guest onesie decorating. Among the precious gifts received was a
pristine crocheted blanket, hand crafted by Ruth Dawicki, mother of MADS.
On May 2, 2006, THE LOUNGE BABY, Jack William Curry, was born in Harbor City, CA. His first
visit to THE LOUNGE occurred the next day.
In the post-birth era, friends continued to flock in to enjoy LOUNGE hospitality and
observe THE LOUNGE BABY in action.
October 2008 saw the return of past regulars as preparations began for
THE LOUNGE Tenth Anniversary Special.
Original 518 Loungers River, Mark, Heidi and new friend John
came early and celebrated for the entire anniversary weekend.
On Saturday, Oct 6 2008 THE LOUNGE celebrated its 10th anniversary with
THE LOUNGE Tenth Anniversary Special. The historic event included original
guests from all 5 LOUNGE incarnations.
A rare LOUNGE visit occurred in September of '08 as Spokane LOUNGE veterans Terri, Jim, James
and new buddy Brad journeyed to their first out-of-state LOUNGE.
LOUNGE history was made on September 21/22 when James P. Adolfson won back-to-back Money
Honey Jackpots in a 24 hour period becoming only the second multiple jackpot winner.
"The thing that makes THE LOUNGE cool," according to THE LOUNGE MOD, "is that it doesn’t have
to conform to the ordinary rules that other real-world lounges do. It functions like a working lounge,
because it is, but it has a different set of laws that define what it is and what it allows for people to do.
That’s THE LOUNGE experience."
“I am really hoping for THE LOUNGE to achieve sovereign-state status soon,” joked Billy. “No, I’m
serious. We also want to continue to expand the CINEMATOGRAPH , further developing the
staging/performance area. I also look forward to having private suites for overnight guests again."
end and I just saw it as a bar. I had been working to get the lounge
set up and was trying to figure out what to do for the bar and it was
just right there in front of me. I paid a guy $10 for it and a really
large bookcase that we put into the lounge as well. Then it was a
simple matter of buying some lumber and building a top and guts
for the bar and painting it. It all came together like magic.”
In addition to the mod inclusions, THE LOUNGE added a Geochron world timepiece
that has given the room a more international feel. “It is especially helpful to have the
Geochron here since most of our guests are from other parts of the world,” said THE
LOUNGE MOD. “But then again, does anyone ever really care what time it is?” THE
LOUNGE also upgraded its spa service with a new LOUNGE Beach Bath and
(Click Thumbnails to view photos)
On Dec 3, 2008 Jack Curry, AKA THE LOUNGE CHILD, became the youngest Money Honey jackpot
winner ever at age 2 years and 215 days.
A LOUNGE farewell to Long Beach took place on Feb 28, 2009. LOUNGE gaming history was made
when first-time patron Kevin won successive Money Honey jackpots on the same night. His 1-2 hour
span of time between jackpots obliterated the previous record of 24 hours set in October 2008.
It was a night of firsts as perennial LOUNGE favorite Jon Z performed in the singing category for the first
time. THE LOUNGE at Long Beach also saw its first visit from old friend Albert and his singing partner An.
|In March 2009, THE LOUNGE in Long Beach was dismantled as preparations to yet again re-locate the
storied venue began. In place for nearly 5 years, THE LOUNGE in Long Beach set a new LOUNGE
record for time of duration at a single location.
June 2009 - Present
After leaving Long Beach, Ca, THE LOUNGE traveled full circle as it returned back to the land of its roots.
In June 2009, LOUNGE on the Prairie opened in a little house on Wild Rose Prairie, north of Spokane WA.
LOUNGE on the Prairie was initially planned as a scaled-back, lodge-style, pseudo-LOUNGE that would
incorporate many of the pre-existing prairie furnishings already in the residence. However, as work
progressed it became apparent the newest LOUNGE incarnation would indeed be the real deal and most
of the original prairie fittings were jettisoned in favor of traditional LOUNGE décor. Prairie holdovers
included an antique wooden wall clock, rich "lodge style" paneling , horrific 70's-era brown carpeting, and
the mounted head of a deer slain by the home's former occupant and great-grandfather of THE LOUNGE
Child, Merwyn Eickmeyer. According to legend, Merwyn killed the deer in his youth
while on his first hunting trip but on subsequent outings was never able to bag
another. Though the concept for the new LOUNGE began to solidify it was not
without headaches, as LOUNGE on the Prairie became the most difficult LOUNGE
to design yet. "There were numerous false starts and stops," explained THE LOUNGE MOD. "The layout
of the room in no way lent itself to an easy or natural design. Quite the contrary, we were stymied at every
turn. Every solution brought on a fresh set of problems." Radical reshaping of the space was needed,
including the fabrication of an entire "wall." It took weeks to decide where to put the bar and even longer
to figure out the optimal placement of the CINEMATOGRAPH.Though the going was tough, the finished
result is a LOUNGE with an all-new and exciting layout. For the first time ever the bar is
accessible directly from behind, via a hidden curtain. This allows a bartender or other
staff member to access the kitchen directly from the bar and without disturbing the
landscape of the bar top that typically occurs when lifting the side flap to get in and
out. Another first for LOUNGE on the Prairie is its unique T-shaped design which
forms a perfect alcove for THE LOUNGE's newest and thus far undisclosed feature.
Out of necessity came the separation of The CINEMATOGRAPH movie screen and the performance
stage. "The planning of the CINEMATOGRAPH was difficult because it is naturally incorporated into the
stage, but that didn't work here," claimed the MOD. "Once we realized we could and would need to build
them independent of each other it started to fall in place a little bit easier."
In keeping with its "back to roots" theme, LOUNGE on the Prairie has reintroduced a toy theme, similar to
the one employed by THE LOUNGE @ 518. "It was cool to find the toys had a home in THE LOUNGE
again. It does feel a bit like coming home," explained THE LOUNGE MOD.
Still problems remained, such as where to locate the immensely popular Jesus Experience, now a
LOUNGE staple. Installation of the exhibit is still on hold, though new plans have emerged which will
hopefully resurrect The Jesus Experience in time for the traditional LOUNGE Easter "Sunrise" Service in
IIn Sept, 2009, original 518 Lounger River Leonard made LOUNGE history when he became the
first guest to visit 5 different LOUNGE incarnations. River and mother Heidi (4 incarnation visits)
celebrated the unofficial soft opening of LOUNGE on the Prairie.
On Dec. 29th regional favorites Sue, Shaun, Patti and Dick all made their first visit to LOUNGE on
the Prairie for a final evening of LOUNGING and Libations in the Double "0" Decade.
Hank and Sam were guests for a New Year's Eve double bill in THE LOUNGE CINEMATOGRAPH.
THE LOUNGE at 518
Browne's Addition LOUNGE
THE LOUNGE: Las Vegas Edition
The Long Beach Tribute To THE LOUNGE
THE LOUNGE in Long Beach
LOUNGE on the Prairie
On January 18/19 '10 Jim and James Adolfson marked their 4th LOUNGE incarnation visit.
The epic 24 hour stay was highlighted by James' MEGA Money Honey jackpot win. The first
ever in the 9 year history of LOUNGE Money Honey slot gaming.
On May 2, 2010, THE LOUNGE celebrated the 4th birthday of Jack aka THE LOUNGE CHILD.
In attendance were both sets of Grandfolks as well as the return of original 518'ers Jesse
and Jen Hansen and their children, Elijah and Clara. Also appearing were school mates Ian,
Everett, Justin and several other children, parents and hangers-on.
In August 2010 THE LOUNGE became the site for the world premier of The Jesus Christ
Superstar AKA Jesse Hansen 3rd Coming Show, as The Lord performed on stage for the first
time in the new millennium.
LOUNGE officers Tina (Vegan Dietary Consultant, Asskicker) and Rick (Mission Specialist,
Master of Games) make a long awaited visit. The evening was highlighted by Rick's
stirring presentation of Alpha Quadrant geography as it exists in the Star Trek universe.
Adding to the monumental occasion was the return of original Lounger Christina, who along with
first timers husband Chris and daughter Olivia, visited her 3rd LOUNGE incarnation.