Pinball machines, a Pac Man arcade, artists painting on canvas on Saturday nights. Jupiter is not here to sell you $19 cocktails. It’s here to bring back old Belltown vibes.
For a new bar, Jupiter feels more akin to Shorty’s and the other older Belltown haunts than to the new drinking dens nearby.
Instead of $19 craft cocktails or a faux speak-easy vibe, this arty bar devotes half of its valuable real estate to ’70s pinball machines and a Pac Man arcade, ensconcing itself to another era when artists could still afford Belltown.
Jupiter is what happens when you put a mural artist, Joe Nix, and the owner of John John’s Game Room on Capitol Hill, Jeff Rogers, in a room together to scheme up a bar.
Dozens of murals and paintings of people from Prince to Jimi Hendrix adorn their walls, all from local artists such as Cheyenne Randall and Sean Barton.
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If Street Fighter 2 or The Six Million Dollar Man pinball machine is not your game, you can always nurse a Bud Light while watching artists paint on canvas near the front window on Saturday nights. That counts for live entertainment here.
A stalwart of old Belltown, “I’ve lived here for 17 years,” Nix didn’t want another fancy-schmancy spot in this gentrified neighborhood. He wanted a dim parlor that resembles the Belltown of yesteryear.
There’s not much of a top-shelf selection, but Jupiter is more of a beer-and-shot dive anyway. The menu seems tailored with the starving artist in mind. Two bucks for Oly cans during happy hour, and most sandwiches (from turkey to a Cuban) cost $9. They’re substantial, though more for the early birds or the late-night drunks.
Nix targeted the old Belltown denizens, artists and lifers who hang on Second Avenue, folks who seem to have a lot of free time on their hands.
Jupiter opens at noon and runs until 2 a.m. Every day.
Inside, on the front wall, a giant bald eagle peers over the crowd, appearing to pass judgment on the drunken masses — to which there were many on a recent Tuesday night. A couple hoisted shots of Evan Williams bourbon, shouting “to Ramsey” before chasing those shots with PBRs. A professional type slurred his drink order over the shoulders of patrons sitting at the bar.
Pouring frantically was a barman whose ankle-length dreads would make Crystal Gayle proud. One jealous woman said that mane can’t be real. Another settled the score and asked when he last got a haircut.
“Sixteen years,” he said, while lining up shot glasses. “It’s been a while.”
Jupiter, 2126 Second Ave., Suite A, Seattle, offers happy hour weekdays 3-6 p.m. with $2 Rolling Rock and Olympia cans, $4 well drinks and wine, and $6 for any half-sandwich-and-chips combo (206-448-2043, facebook.com/jupiterbarseattle).