Pazzo's is an Eastlake remains a go-to Seattle location for calzones, despite its founder being sent up river for 14 years for smuggling huge amounts of marijuana after multiple previous drug convictions.
The Pazzo's location has hosted bars for some 80 years or so. A bar owned by Charles Haines was there shortly after prohibition ended, by at least 1935. A Cecil R. Fish owned the bar there by the late 30s, and by the mid 40s and into the 60s it was Quinn's Tavern. From the late 60s to the early 80s it was Skipper's Tavern, then briefly became J.C. Fox and Sons in the mid 80s.
Is anything the Matador guys do not instantly popular? This place has 246 yelp reviews. So there's lots of tequila here and fairly average Tex-Mex, but what drew me was that it is in the location of the old Bill Brown's Saloon. William Brown was mayor of Redmond from 1919 to 1948, and when he had this building constructed in 1913 its towering two stories made it the tallest building in Redmond. "When first built, the first floor held a
saloon, barbershop, ice cream parlor, a drug store, and an undertaker.
The second floor served as a community gathering place with a dance hall
and a brothel." (redmond.gov)
Washington implemented state-wide prohibition beginning Jan 1, 1916 and
the building subsequently held city hall, a dance studio, a hardware
store and other various businesses, before the Matador moved in in 2007.
I will need to come back sometime in daylight hours to get some better
photos. 7824 Leary Way Northeast Redmond, WA 98052 - (425) 883-2855
Est. 2007 - Building constructed: 1913
Previous bars in this location: Bill Brown's Saloon
Web site: matadorseattle.com
"Do you have a cocktail menu?" I asked the bartender in this new place, in the space of the old Living Room, which used to serve some nice ones. The bartender/owner answered that he was working on one, explored my preferences, and served a nice variation on an Old Pal / Negroni sort of thing (the particulars I forget). From his answer I could tell he'd heard that question several times now, despite setting out to found a sort of instant dive, focused on a simple menu of blue collar beers and shots. I was the only one in the place at the time, and J.D. the owner was still working out some of details of the place. A bit later a friend joined me, and asked him if he had a cocktail menu.
J.D. (Justin Martinsen) grew up in the Seattle area (Roosevelt HS), then moved to Brooklyn and opened a bar called "duckduck" in Williamsburg in 1996. "Speckled" and "drake" are references to the female and male Mallard, and J.D. told The Stranger that the duck them came from his old haircut, which "flipped up in the back and looked like a duck's ass." The menu he does have is a list of boilermakers, various shots paired with blue collar beers, such as the "Fisherman's Friend" (Olympia and well whiskey) and the "Horny Woodsman" (Rainier and
The woodwork, vintage bar, the various reclaimed signage and other items, and free Cheetohs reinforce the divey, garage-y feel of the place, and perhaps it will eventually carve out a Capitol Hill crowd that prefers the Oly and PBR. But until the word gets out, a new bar on Olive Way is going to come with certain expectations. As we sat there on a lazy Sunday evening, a few local gals popped in to check out the new place, taking in the new decor and the chalkboard of boilermaker combinations, and asked, "Do you have a cocktail menu?"
1355 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122
Est. Dec 2012 - Building constructed: 1925
Previous bars in this location: The Living Room
This place has a great, comfortable feel, and I have had many nice
experiences at some of the owners' other place (Hooverville in SoDo), so I am
not going to judge it long term by my first experience and I expect to
upgrade this rating after another visit. But tonight's experience was
Maybe they gave their regular staff the day off to watch the Seahawks playoff game. But in any case, I would not have left a new bar trying to make an impression in the hands of the single, burned-out, red-faced fellow behind the bar tonight. He acknowledged me almost right after I sat down, then socialized and ate peanuts for over 10 minutes before seeing what I wanted to drink. God only knows how long he could have taken it I didn't have a meeting set with friends and walked down to the other end of the bar to get his attention.
ordered a Manhattan. His mixology expertise did not extend to this rare
concoction and I heard him asking another fellow at the bar how to make
it. At that point I quickly shifted to a gin and tonic -- my go-to drink
for inept bartenders. A G&T with Hendricks turned out to be $9,
another negative for a place that is not exactly positioned as Canlis.
I gave him a twenty and watched as he struggled for several minutes to
calculate my change. Eventually he brought me $12 change for my $9
From a certain perspective I admire the people who own a
business and provide some income to a person who is so comically unable
to care for himself or others -- and barely able to perch himself on a
stool -- even at the risk of the reputation of their new business
venture. Indeed, if I see service like this again I will assume that it
is not a bar at all but some sort of absurdist performance art piece.
A personable little cafe and bar almost hidden on Capitol Hill, Cafe Pettirosso actually shut down in 2011, but re-opened in 2012, now owned by former employee Yuki Sodos and her sister Miki. The Sodos also run Bang Bang Cafe in Belltown, and they expanded the Pettirosso space and added a full bar, and some funky ceiling lights from an old Seattle gym. It's still more of a cafe in spirit than a bar, catering to expresso lovers and featuring many vegan lunch options, but they also serve some fairly nice drinks. I had a pleasant chat with Nick the cook and Briand the bartender.
Sam's Tavern is immediately comfortable in a woody, lodge-y, taxidermy, Linda Derschang-y sort of way, offering very average cocktails and some pretty good burgers. The name is an homage to the original tavern on the edge of Lake Union, which became Sam's Red Robin and eventually the Red Robin chain. The burgers made Eater's 25 Hottest Hamburgers in American Right Now -- which presumably was instantly out of date.
The Metropole American Kitchen and Bar replaces the shortlived Soban, the last of three pan-Asian restaurants with hit and miss food and some comically bad cocktails from the bar, to have tried to make a go in this space since it was built in 2003. It seems like a difficult location, benefiting from the sporadic crowds walking to the Paramount, but cut over the highway from Capitol Hill and off the beaten track from the heart of downtown. Perhaps the updated American comfort foods from chef Michael Bruno (Tango, Il Terrazo) will have a broader appear to the random gatherings marching home from Soundgarden and "The Book of Mormon."
I had a quite pleasant baked ziti with lamb bolognese and a nice corn
and crab bisque. The bar also seems somewhat upgraded. My "Fremont Old
Fashioned" was watery from too much soda, but the "Metropole Manhattan"
was considerably better balanced. Both bar and restaurant feature a lot
of local products (e.g. Mischief Rye in my Old Fashioned), with several
organic and vegetarian options. The name was chosen at least partially
for the old Metropole Tavern, which was run by the owner's grandfather. (thestranger)
I had a quite pleasant baked ziti with lamb bolognese and a nice corn and crab bisque. The bar also seems somewhat upgraded. My "Fremont Old Fashioned" was watery from too much soda, but the "Metropole Manhattan" was considerably better balanced. Both bar and restaurant feature a lot of local products (e.g. Mischief Rye in my Old Fashioned), with several organic and vegetarian options. The name was chosen at least partially for the old Metropole Tavern, which was run by the owner's grandfather. (thestranger)
After spending my last "Project K-Bar" visit at Agrodolce, my visit to The Whale Wins featured quite a few parallel experiences: Dinners at restaurants opened in late 2012 by highly regarded chefs (Renee Erickson/Maria Hines), whose homey first efforts (Boat Street Cafe/Tilth) and more splashy second restaurants (Walrus and Carpenter/Golden Beetle) I like a great deal, but after quite enjoying the cocktails in the new places, the food left me disappointed.
Now it seems like everybody loves the food at the Whale Wins, so you should not take me experience to heart, and I certainly plan on returning (if I can avoid being tempted into Joule next door, whose food was a much more thorough hit for me). But I started with the roasted radicchio with hazelnets, buttermilk poppyseed vinaigrette and buttery crumbs, which was far to drenched in the dressing and far too rich for me (that is not a complaint you often hear from me). Then the roasted Emerald Acre clams with thyme, lemon peel, chili flakes, and cream were surprisingly bland.
Whether I should really count this as a bar was a difficult call for me. The physical bar itself seemed more of a counter, and it seemed doubtful that there are any regulars who drop in just for a cocktail. But perhaps I was persuaded by how much I enjoyed the drinks, starting with a Normandy Old Fashioned (Calvados, black tea syrup, bitters). While it lacks any hint of the darkness I prefer in a bar, the staff and overall vibe were both very friendly. And I repeat that everyone else in the city seems delighted with their meals here ("To eat The Whale Wins' roasted chicken is to ask: Is this the best restaurant in Seattle?"), and I myself really enjoy Walrus; so either my particular visit or perhaps my particular tastebuds would appear to be the outlier here.
Agrodolce is an organic Sicilian restaurant from James Beard winning Seattle chef Maria Hines, in the space that locals remember as the old Still Life in Fremont. This latest incarnation preserves the small bar area created by previous residents "35th St. Bistro." I enjoyed my cocktails through the evening, starting with "The Thief" (Apple jack, Benedictine, peach bitters, lemon cava). The food, however, left me a little disappointed.
The Arancini and spaghetti were both fine, but when I'm paying for microscopic tapas plates at an upscale restaurant, I'm hoping for something delicious and remarkable. This was my only dinner here, so I have fairly little to judge upon at this point (although I noticed that the Seattle Times and Stranger critics had a similar reaction). With Sicilian cuisine and Maria Hines combined, my guess is that future meals here will be a bit more enjoyable.
Augustus is a new bar and restaurant from Robb Sheldon (Liberty, Whisky Bar) and Sarah Sheldon (Zoe), with support from Brian Brooks and Jaime Mullins-Brooks of Hunger, next door. Augustus serves well-made cocktails with an emphasis on the recipes and styles of the late 19th and early 20th century. The name "Augustus" is a nod to David Augustus Embury, author of The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. I started with a nice Dragon Toe, which Robb described as a sort of "gateway drug for women to brown liquors." Moving drinkers to more spirit-focused cocktails and brown liquors in particular is another focus of the bar. We also discussed my superstition about never having a bad cocktail with cucumber, and Robb observed that he may have started the cucumber trend back at the Bada Lounge 11 years ago. In addition to the very pleasant cocktail offerings, August serves food with an emphasis on house-made sausages.
Seattle Met's Allecia Vermillion describes how the bar came about:
"Robb and Sarah Sheldon were on their honeymoon when they got a call from
two old friends. Sarah met Jaime Mullins-Brooks when the two worked at
Restaurant Zoe; now Jaime and husband Brian Brooks run Fremont
And they had intel they promised was worth interrupting the couple’s
newly wedded bliss: The former Rogue and Peasant space next to Hunger
was suddenly available. The Sheldons had been looking for a place to
open a bar, and here was an available space adjacent to their friends’
restaurant. From the beaches of Hawaii, the Sheldons green-lighted the plan." (SeattleMet)
My one complaint about Augustus is that it is not open Sundays. I can certainly understand that from a small, family run, specialist restaurant, but Sunday is my favorite bar day, so I hope there is enough demand and staffing that I don't continue dropping buy mostly when it is closed.
The popular blue collar cousin to the tony wineries up the road, "the Shoe" is popular with the locals and the parking lot is usually full of pickups and SUVs. Basic bar food, basic cockails, basic beer selection, mix of ages, leaning toward older.
12461 NE Woodinville Dr, Woodinville, WA 98072 - (425) 488-2888
This is a new Thai restaurant from first time restauranteurs Jo and Arnon Kaseter in a new-ish condo building a bit off the beaten track in Belltown. A big catch here is chef Vimonsri Wongjarean, who is Arnon's cousin and has a high reputation among Seattle's Thai food fans for her work at Bai Tong (which Thai Airlines employees would seek out while in town). There's really no reason to go to the bar here if you are not going for dinner. But the food is good and the bar offers a small selection of wines for before or after.
In what is becoming a fairly common site in Seattle, and particularly in Ballard, Reuben's Brews hosts a small tasting room, serving some fine beer choices in a space carved out of their new microbrew facility in an industrial area. This kickstarter-aided effort comes from award-winning home brewer Adam Robbings and his wife Grace (Reuben's is named for their son), and features 6 rotating taps. As usual with smaller tap rooms, hours are limited, so be sure and check before you go (currently Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday noon to 8pm.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.)
This is a second bar and game room from the owners of Add-A-Ball in Fremont. Like Add-A-Ball, John John's serves beer (bottles and cans) for adults playing old classic games. Unlike Add-A-Ball, this space (former home of cafe and jazz club Faire Gallery) is largely a wrap-around second level, with narrow passages holding pinball machines and games here and there. As opposed to feeling like you're in the exposed concrete basement of someone's irresponsible uncle, this feels a bit like you're taking a break at some hip architecture firm, amidst nice woodwork, unusual angles, and exposed brick. And like Add-A-Ball, the owners and other staff are always very cool and make you feel at home -- strange uncle or not.
The Bait Shop is a new Linda Derschang bar in the Capitol Hill area so it is, of course, instantly popular. It shares the woody, vintage elements of several other Derschang projects, but adds a new, maritime theme. The smell of fried fish hits you as you walk in the door, wafting over the bar from the kitchen and around the dark, knotty pine interior. Derschang recruited Forrest Brunton (Golden Beetle, Tilth) to put together a one-page menu of casual food (fish and chips, giant pork rinds, fried chicken sandwich) and Adam Fream (The Sexton) to create a tropical-themed cocktail menu that includes a couple selections on tap (a Dark and Stormy, and a Murray Stenson creation), as well as a couple frozen options. And unlike the vast preponderance of bars that serve tropical drinks, the Bait Shop actually serves a quite drinkable mai tai.