With just 21 seats, the new Western Avenue drinking den is welcomingly intimate.
A drinking den of shoebox dimensions, Jarrbar is as narrow as an NBA center with his arms flung wide. One evening, a curious passer-by said “excuse me” as she squeezed behind the seated customers to see if there was more to the bar around the corner. There wasn’t.
Jarrbar, all 470 square feet and 21 seats (nine at the bar), is the latest from Bryan Jarr, one of the owners of the late Madison Park Conservatory.
When that beloved restaurant closed after Valentine’s Day 2014, Jarr barhopped around Portugal and Spain and was inspired by all the tiny places serving mostly “anchovies and Jamón Ibérico.”
I can do this, he thought.
And he did. Opened two weeks ago, Jarrbar sits on the back side of Pike Place Market, a short walk down Western Avenue with a cute girl, or boy, by your side.
Well-lit but cozy enough for a second date, it feels more intimate than claustrophobic. There’s no kitchen, and a commercial espresso machine was even 86’ed so that the staff would have room to plate the charcuteries and cured seafood.
The menu is mostly snacks from “tins and jars,” such as sardines and briny olives, with a modest but well-curated Spanish wine list and small cocktail menu. There’s a 90-inch projector that comes down for Sounders, Seahawks and big European soccer matches.
An LP sleeve of Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain” and a dozen hanging antique mirrors make up the décor.
In the corner, a woman plated chorizo beneath the falling notes of jazz on the hi-fi. Next to her was a bearded bar man from L.A. who was making a gin and tonic, and apparently easy on the eyes to the ladies. He sported a wrinkled shirt untucked, but in a sprezzatura kind of way.
Coincidently, Jarrbar sits on the same block as The Spanish Table. But it’s not a coincidence if Jarrbar evokes memories of your last trip to Spain. The owner wants to channel that one time your friend in Madrid took you to one of those tiny watering holes on a corner or down a winding, cobblestone alley that felt as comfortable as a robe and slippers.
Jarrbar, 1432 Western Ave., offers happy hour Tuesday-Sunday 4-6 p.m. and again 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. with $2-$6 snacks, $4 beer, $5 wine and $6 well drinks. Closed Monday (206-209-2239 or jarrbar.com).