Symbolically, "X" can mean many things. Something crossed off a list. Where treasure is buried. A place off limits. An unknown variable.
The Yellow X, a new venue with a modern, urban vibe in the historic Garland District, plays with these varied interpretations because its purpose is just as multifaceted.
Opened in November by Spokane couple Heidi and Ryan Miller, the Yellow X can be rented for private events, but the Millers are also organizing gatherings like themed dinners and pop-up pub nights.
On Friday, Dec. 16, for example, is a holiday-centric tacos and tequila night ($29/person). A Nordic dinner party the following week (now sold out) celebrates the winter solstice with Scandinavian-inspired eats and drinks. On the venue's calendar for January is a series of book club-esque events ($19-$22 each), before which attendees are tasked with completing a book, podcast episode or movie to then discuss with others over drinks and appetizers.
"It was always meant to be a space with some mystery, with some unknown, some treasure — kind of playing on X — and just where events happen that are a little more intentional, inspiring, or have some purpose in them beyond just eating good food or having a great cocktail," says Ryan.
"And to build that community aspect," Heidi adds. "It's a social club, because it's just people getting together with different creative ideas, too."
The Yellow X is located in a newly renovated, single-story building constructed in 1961 where the couple also run their print and design business, Mango Ink. BANG Design Studios, owned by the couple's friends, Katherine Tibbetts and Jonathan Vanderholm, is also in the building. The duo collaborated with the Millers to design the Yellow X's interior.
While its brick facade along Garland is unassuming, the Yellow X's interior immerses visitors in an eclectic, colorful and stylish space. An installation of faux palm fronds and leaves painted a fiery red-orange line one wall above bench seating running the length of the room. On the opposite wall, painted black, a bubble-like assemblage of silver disco balls shimmers. Hanging from the ceiling, a twisting tangle of neon-like lights can be set to any color, from an icy teal blue to rich magenta to lemon-lime.
"The space is important, the architecture is important, the way you feel in it is important — we're big believers in all of that, so we did put a fair amount of money in here to make it really cool, and I'm really proud of it," Ryan says.
Initially, the Millers envisioned the Yellow X as a membership-based club. Their plan was that members, vetted through an application process, would pay a monthly or yearly fee to gain access to exclusive events as well as opportunities to use the space on a drop-in basis or for private functions.
The membership model quickly proved to be a hard sell, however, so the couple opened the space to the general public both for private rentals and ticketed events. The Yellow X has capacity for about 24 guests seated at tables and up to about 50 for standing room-only.
"I think memberships may come back, but from our perspective it was hard to get traction," Ryan says. "We did have some members, but we got so many questions on 'What's a social club? What do you mean by memberships? What do I get?' and it felt like it closed it off too quickly."
For private events, the Yellow X is available to rent for a minimum of two hours starting at $160, and up to 12 hours for $970. Guests can bring in their own food and beverages or hire a caterer. The venue has a full bar, but no on-site commercial kitchen.
With the flexibility to host whatever piques their interest, the Millers are excited about the possibilities in the Yellow X's future: live comedy, music and other entertainment, classes, more dinners and social events intended to build community connections. Guests, likewise, can use the space for parties, book clubs, photo shoots, workshops, intimate receptions, meetings and more.
"I mean, the sky is the limit," Ryan says. "We're definitely new, and we're learning a lot, but it's something we really want in our lives, and we really want it in Spokane. Not that it's not here, but in our way, it's not. We wanted a really cool space that we could do it in." ♦
The Yellow X • 1011 W. Garland Ave. • Event calendar and more info at theyellowx.com