No one has ever thrown me a pity party when I whine about needing to “hit two more bars tonight for work.” Part of the barhopping goes to picking the Happy Hour of the Week. On these tipsy excursions, I also pick up tips and gossip from bartenders and hipsters with ironic mustaches. I’ll share these tidbits along with other random thoughts here periodically.
Big news: Much loved barman Murray Stenson will sling drinks at a new downtown spot, The Elysian Bar, 1516 2nd Ave., opening May 1. He will be reunited with one of the guys who started Zig Zag Café, Kacy Fitch, the new Elysian bar manager.
It will be the biggest bar opening in Seattle this year. Investors behind Elysian Brewing Co. may be late to the craft-cocktails scene, but they’re sparing no expense in catching up, making some splashy hires and building a 25-foot bar with a sweeping staircase. The estimable Westland Distillery in SoDo was hired to make a gin for The Elysian Bar. Its gin will have the same floral notes as Elysian’s popular Jasmine Avatar IPA.
Seating capacity will be up to 265 patrons. The bar has hired Volterra chef Andrew Gribas to do a menu focusing on cured meats, crudo and ingredients sourced from Pike Place Market and other local vendors, Elysian investors said.
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Zig Zag Café, 1501 Western Ave., to do a drastic makeover on its food menu by the end of May, moving away from bar snacks to entrees. The cocktail bar has hired chef Tyler Moritz, formerly of La Bête restaurant, to revamp the dinner menu that will be French and Northwest inspired cuisine.
Biggest bar opening this week:
Corretto, 416 Broadway East, was to open this Thursday. Owner Travis Rosenthal, whose last bar focused on rum, called Rumba, turns his attention to Italian liqueurs in his new bar restaurant, formerly the spot of Panavino.
Forget beer nuts. How about some bugs to crunch on? Going all Oaxaca, Barrio, 1420 12th Ave., plans to serve grasshoppers, complimentary with an order of tequila or mescal. The bug bites, dried, smoked and then covered in salty spices, will be offered on Mondays, starting in late April or early May.
No kitchen, no problem: I popped into the new Rhino Room, 1535 11th Ave., bar last Friday and was surprised to find fried chicken, Kalua pig and Spam Musubi from Ma’ono on the menu. Even West Seattle Ma’ono chef Mark Fuller was working behind the makeshift kitchen to the side of the horseshoe-shaped bar. Turns out Fuller is a good friend of the owners and stepped in to do a truncated version of his Ma’ono menu since the Rhino didn’t serve food.
Best new happy-hour drink menu: Twisted Pasty, 2525 4th Ave., in Belltown serves classic cocktails for $4 to $7 from 4-6:30 p.m. daily. The drinks are well executed and cheap from a Vesper ($6) to a Sazerac ($7).
Most expensive cocktail: The $1,100 drink from Canon, 928 12th Ave. The “vintage Brandy Crusta” made with J G Monnet cognac 1875, Cointreau 1930, Maraschino 1960, fresh lemon and Peychaud’s Bitters. (The cognac bottle used in this drink costs $6,000.) I know this will shock everyone, but no one has ordered it yet.
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or email@example.com. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle