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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (3,291 bars; 1,500 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, May 24, 2015

#2377 #S1200 - La Romanza, Seattle - 12/22/2013

La Romanza, West Seattle
West Seattle's California Avenue is happy jumble of styles and eras. It's ability to preserve old mom and pop places and easy mix of downscale with upscale makes me think of the stretch as Seattle's bit of Portland. So it seemed perfectly sensible to me that here, a block from the divey Poggie Tavern and Corner Pocket, across the street from a junky "antique" store, near the casual hipster West 5, a yoga studio, and a cupcake store, someone would create a delicate "Tuscan Tea Room" that looked like a break room in the Palace of Versaille.

La Romanza, West Seattle
Aimee Pellegrini, whose parents run the Italian Bistro "La Rustica," started a flower shop here catering to weddings. This she gradually expanded to an ornate, white clothed tea room and bistro on certain evenings of the week, adding a cocktail bar in April 2012 and eventually growing into a full-time Italian restaurant with live acoustic music. It closed in August 2014, and with it we lost a bit of the variety of this avenue, still one of the better bar walks in the city.

La Romanza web site 2014 (Wayback Machine)
4521 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 906-9914
Est. April 26, 2012 (Nov 9, 2010 as Tuscan Tea Room) - Closed Aug 2014 - Building constructed: 1946
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: laromanza.com (wayback machine)
Reviews: seattletimeswestseattleblog - thestranger - yelp

#2376 #S1199 - The Bridge, Seattle - 12/22/2013

This is the new version of The Bridge, now in the old Chuck and Sally's location after being forced out of their original location in the former Redline space. You won't find me coming here for the sugary, fruity cocktails, but if you want to watch a game with a spirited crowd and better than average bar food menu (with a french fry bar!), this is one of your better choices in town.

6301 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136 - (206) 402.4606
Est. Dec 2013, current location; 2011 on 35th - Building constructed: 1918
Previous bars in this location: Chuck & Sally's Tavern
Web site: thebridgeseattle.com
Reviews: seattleweekly - seattlemag - westseattleherald - yelp - urbanspoon - thestranger

#2375 #S1198 - Vif, Seattle - 12/21/2013

Vif, Seattle
I must confess that I did not expect Vif to last very long in this space. Like Brigham Young claiming "This is the place" at the brink of the Utah dessert, the idea that this bleak and boxy old Herfy's building was the right place for a "food-focused coffee and wine bar" just seems a little mystifying to me. Even the name -- a French word for "alive" or "lively" -- seems more in sync with their neighbors like Paseo or Brad's Swingside than this quiet, bright space that is never open later than 7pm. Perhaps "Calme" would have been more apropos?

But here they are still, and congrats to them. There is plainly a lot of care going into the environment and techniques used to produce their wines and ingredients. Their descriptions are filled with mentions of "terroir," "natural viticulture," and "non-interventionist winemaking" -- i.e. things that some must see as touchstones for ethical foods, and others as fodder for a "Portlandia" sketch. The menu is full of breakfast cafe options that seem like they would be entirely enjoyable if one could linger over them in a garden patio, but less so in the spare dining area, devoid of intimacy, and redolent of a corporate lunchroom. I'm not certain that I should really count this as a bar, and so far I have managed to stop in only for a couple glasses of wine, so it would be silly to venture a general opinion on their offerings. I just wish they had chosen a location that made me a little more eager to sample them.


4401 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 557-7357
Est. 2013 - Building constructed: 1965
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: vifseattle.com - facebook
Reviews: sprudge - yelp

Sunday, May 17, 2015

#2374 #S1197 - The Barrel Thief, Seattle - 12/21/2013

I always enter a bar within the ground-floor retail section of new condos with an anticipatory sense of discouragement, but the Barrel Thief owners have done a fairly nice job of instilling some character and romance into this space. More to the point, their unique, botany-based cocktails and prodigious selection of wines by the glass make it a fine bar stop regardless of setting.

Established earlier as Wine Tea Chocolate, in mid-2013 it was refashioned as a wine and whiskey bar, with an inventive cocktail program by Nicholas Utke. I enjoyed the "Surrender at Appomattox" (rye, sweet grass, and herbs) which as promised had a "grassy and smokey" taste. The bar also features approximately 200 whiskeys and offers almost that many choices of wine by glass, with the aid of a Coravin device, which extracts wine via a needle and without uncorking the bottle, filling the space with argon gas to prevent oxidation.

Bitters, tinctures, and other ingredients used in the unusual
cocktail program of Fremont's "Barrel Thief."
I haven't yet had dinner there, but the menu features some tasty sounding, locally sourced snacks and small plates. In addition to regular wine tastings, special events at BT include things like a "fancy single malt tasting," an "obscure scotch distillery tasting," and tango dancing. (If these seem like they might catch your fancy, you may want to add yourself to their mailing list, as I've finally remembered to do.)


3417 Evanston Ave N #102, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 402-5492
Est. July 20, 2013 - Building constructed: 2012
Previous bars in this location: Wine Tea Chocolate
Web site: bthief.com - facebook
Reviews: seattlemag - seattlemet - tripadvisor - thestranger - beeradvocate - untappd - urbanspoon

#2373 #S1196 - Shawn O'Donnell's, Seattle - 12/15/2013

Smith Tower, one of Seattle's most legendary buildings, was completed in 1914, approximately a year before the O'Donnell family says their ancestors Patrick and Bridget O'Donnell immigrated to the city from Tipperary. Inheriting his father L.C. Smith's fortune from sales of shotguns and typewriters (later "Smith Corona"), Burns Lyman Smith expanded on the plans of this father, stretching the white terracotta and steel structure to 462 feet and 33 to 38 stories, depending upon how you count them. As few people who have friends of family in the Seattle area have not been informed, this resulted in one of the 15 or so tallest buildings in the world at the time, and the tallest on the west coast for over 50 years. (For a peek into the remarkable apartment now in the pyramid at the top of the building see this King5 video.)




Off and on the basement and ground floor of the building have hosted bars and restaurants. During the 1960s the basement level contained Alberto Romano's the "Submarine Room" and the "Golden Goose," clubs that catered to the Seattle gay crowd then centered in the Pioneer Square area, while the ground level space that currently holds Shawn O'Donnell's was the "Gosling Room." In November of 2013, Shawn O'Donnell opened here a second location of his family's Irish-themed pub which has operated in Everett for the last 20+ years. The pub is a fairly typical American Irish pub, with the obligatory dark wood, Guinness decorations, map of the old country, and clock counting down to the next St. Patty's Day. The is menu dominated by modern pub food staples (sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc.) and various spins on traditional Irish dishes (boxty cakes, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, bangers and mash). The cocktail offerings are not remarkable but it's a pleasant enough place to stop by for a whiskey or pint.




508 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 602-6380
Est. Nov 4, 2013 - Building constructed: July 3, 1914
Previous bars in this location: The Gosling Room
Web site: shawnodonnells.com - facebook
Reviews: thestranger - yelp