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Sunday, October 02, 2011

#1483 #S899 - A Terrible Beauty, Seattle - 6/28/2011

Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Named for the Yeats poem about Ireland's Easter Rebellion, A Terrible Beauty is the second Irish themed bar on a theme and menu established in Renton by Irish-born Jenna Shannon Garvey-O'Brien and her husband Paddy O'Brien.  The space, once Seattle's swankiest mid-century modern decor as Ama Ama Oyster House, is now covered with lovely dark wood.

There's a good selection of beers (30 on tap), pretty much the standards when it comes to cocktails, and a large menu with many traditional Irish items.  I'm not a big fan of drinking Guinness and I am weary of how much their paraphernalia tends to define cookie-cutter Irish bars across our country and others. Bangers and mash, Reuben sandwiches, and corned beef and cabbage are never going to seem like a huge treat for me.  And the cocktails at Irish bars tend to be pretty dull.

So the Irish bars I tend to really like -- e.g. The Owl and Thistle downtown or the Galway Arms in the U District -- are defined by the general vibe and the crowd that attends them.  I'm not sure, from one visit, how the latter will define itself at Terrible Beauty.  The decor is quite warm and welcoming, and I like the cheekiness (so to speak) of the servers wearing that greatest of gifts to the world from the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic school girl outfit (no doubt triggering sublimated childhood memories of lusting after Laura Schaeffer at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Boise, Idaho).   Some people will no doubt complain, but I think those folks would probably be happier avoiding spirited bars altogether and sticking to Applebees.  In any case, whether the place will be home to a crowd I feel like singing along with as the rain drizzles outside, ala the O&T and Galway, will be determined in future visits.

Postscript:  Though this may seem like the most unremarkable nit, the drawing of beer taps on the web site includes a tap for "Harp's."  The reason this caught my eye is that several years ago, in a different Irish bar, I had this conversation with a very large bartender:

Me:  I'll take a Harps
Bartender:  We doon't 'ave any Harps.
Me (eyeing the tap):  A Harps.
Bartender:  We doon't 'ave any Harps.
Me (finally getting it):  Oh, I'll have a Harp.
Bartender:  Ay, that we 'ave.


4752 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 453-4066
Est. June 28, 2011 - Building constructed: 1910
Previous bars at this location:  Guppy's West, Ovio Bistro, Ama Ama Oyster Bar, Table 35
aterriblebeauty.com - facebook - westseattleblog - westseattleblog - heedthehedonistyelp

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