Update: Babalu closed on Feb 23, 2013.
Babalu's current physical incarnation was created for the WonderBar, which advertised itself as "a Euro-bar with East Coast savvy" which "feels like home to Seattle fashionistas." I translate that roughly as "Stay away" (with a subliminal message to Wallingford residents that "You may be in danger of becoming Belltown").
But despite its lack of concern for unique neighborhood character, as an isolated little island of swankiness, there's no disputing that the curved bars are very cool, the drinks are okay and it was one of the livelier options on the weeknight I dropped in. It also features some fine jazz and salsa bands.
But the place has had its issues. In 2009, Babalu ran into problems with the state liquor board for, among other things, fulfilling the (silly) requirement that they serve food by offering various frozen dinners for $99.95. The lost their license and were temporarily closed in 2010 for operating without one. In 2007 the entire staff of the bar quit en masse after a bartender was threatened by a friend of owner Michael Prineas.
Est. 2007 - Closed Feb 23, 2013 - Building constructed: 1926
Previous bars at this location: Wonder Bar
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