The original Kings opened at 424 South McDowell Street in July 1999 by Raleigh musicians Paul Siler, Ben Barwick and Steve Popson. Although there were a few decent local venues at the time, Kings catered to music fans and musicians in a way that was entirely different. The space became a focal point for creativity in the area. Besides the many local and national musical acts that began to see Kings as a regular stop, there were Game Show nights (such as The Gong Show) put on by the owners and their friends, circus performances, comedy nights, theater performances, a regular professional wrestling show, basically anything that sounded like it would be interesting, dramatic, or hilarious. As time went on, the sound system was improved, and bigger national acts like Bonnie Prince Billy, Calexico, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Shins, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Mastodon began to see Kings and Raleigh as a legitimate tour stop.