I don't think you'll get your very favorite cocktails at Essex, but what you will get are very good cocktails and very different cocktails -- lots of home-made ingredients and tastes that you have never quite had before. I most enjoyed the Moab (Reposado, red pepper, pickled chile brine, lemon, salt, pepper) and the H.M.S. Theodore Roosevelt (Voyager gin, Extra Special Orange (house version of Grand Marnier), Campari, sparkling wine). We also tried the Red Medicine (house aged rye, Delancey fernet, Rachel's Ginger Beer, rhubarb) and the George Brown (Gin, wood-roasted peach, citrus, Meyer's float), which were also interesting but not quite as good as the aforementioned.
Jordan our bartender was very friendly and happy to discuss the place and their cocktails. It is owned by Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg of the adjacent, excellent pizza joint Delancey, assisted by bar manager Gary Abts (Licorous, La Bete). It has a nice, homey feel with damask wall paper featuring sperm whale silhouettes, and a small, pleasant patio out front. Along the top shelf you can see bottle after bottle of bitters and infusions, promising any number of interesting concoctions in the future. It has some very nice cheeses and small plates (though if I were there really hungry I would definitely just save the room for a Delancey pizza and Jersey Salad).
All around, it is the sort of place you want to come back to often.
Est. Aug 15, 2012 - Building constructed: 1926
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: essexbarseattle.com - facebook
Best Reviews: link - seriouseats - meandmrpants - thestranger - seattlemag - seattlemet - thrillist - yelp