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Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, June 27, 2010

#1156 - Lot No. 3, Bellevue - 6/25/2010

Update: The Heavy Restaurant Group announced the permanent closure of Lot #3 on August 27, 2020, due to ongoing challenge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: Since I wrote the notes below on my first visit, I've taken a job in downtown Bellevue, and I've been to Lot #3 probably 60 or 70 times. This has not been merely a matter of convenience or a sort of least of evils. Bellevue is still Bellevue, its downtown still feels like one big mall, and if distance were no matter, no one who cares about a bar environment would choose to drink anywhere in Bellevue over the sort of environments one can find across Lake Washington in places like Bathtub Gin, The Hideout, Tavern Law, Knee High Stocking Co., Canon, etc. etc. etc.

That said, it's not Lot #3's fault that Bellevue is Bellevue, and while they missed various opportunities to carve out a warm, intimate space, you do have to hand it to a place that just keeps delivering excellent food and cocktails, from friendly people day after day. Some day someone is going to establish an intimate space somewhere in some Bellevue basement or old warehouse space, that truly does have a hidden, speakeasy sort of vibe, a character that doesn't look like it was designed by the people who market Louis Vuitton purses, and pulls in a crowd that is more interesting than a random slice of Microsofties. Until that day, one who finds oneself on the east side could do much, much worse than the consistently fine vittles and spirits at Lot #3.

Original review:

From the people behind Barrio(s) and Purple(s), Lot No. 3 has a menu which they describe as simple food and cocktails based on brown liquors.  The cocktail menu also emphasizes pre-prohibition-era drinks, which may be why multiple reviewers refer to it as having a "speakeasy vibe."  Bellevue reviewers also described the place as "intimate," which tells you little of the actual loud, modernist space, but a lot about Bellevue.

Of course the food is not simple, despite starting with a base of some familiar casual standard, and the place has nothing even approaching a "speakeasy vibe."  A speakeasy feel would require not only a bit more genuine intimacy, but at least a nod to some kind of hidden, secret location; Lot 3 has huge windows with the name in 5' high characters and Bellevue shoppers bustling past.  There's also the cold, modernist decor -- about the furthest thing one might imagine from a warm, 1930s, speakeasy vibe.  And finally, there's the irony of the word itself -- far from speaking easily, our party had to shout and shift chairs to hear each other speak from around a coffee table in the giant, metal alloy environs preferred by the Heavy Restaurant Group.

Nevertheless, there are the old cocktails, which are well-chosen and well-made.  I had a Corpse Reviver and the Boulevardier with rye, and very much enjoyed them.  If I could get them in a setting that actually had a speakeasy vibe, I might come back often.

460 106th Ave, Bellevue, WA 98004460 106th Ave NE, Bellevue WA - (425) 440-0025
Est. May 21, 2010 - Closed Aug 27, 2020 - Building constructed 2008 - press release - - - seattle pi - seattle times - yelp

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