This Greenwood spot finds the right woodsy vibe.

Share story

In their brainstorming, the four investors in the Cozy Nut Tavern started with the premise “Where would a gnome hang out?” and went from there, said owner Jacob Weyer.

The result is a dive bar inhabited by stuffed squirrels drinking airplane-size Courvoisiers and wall-painted animals frolicking in the woods. This quirky, Sherwood Forest-esque bar will be even funnier if you’re drunk or high. Or both.

All across Seattle, especially on Capitol Hill, entrepreneurs and artists have come up with all sorts of shticks or combed through all sorts of yard sales and antiques to contrive a vibe.

But you can’t fake the milieu of a 50-something-year-old lady with a smoker’s rasp sitting next to a millennial nursing a can of Modelo. Located in Greenwood, Cozy Nut Tavern draws locals and lifers, the salarymen and artists.

It strikes the right note — neither too twee nor over-the-top — and the ironic touches blend in with its lacquered-wood motif.

Craft cocktails go for $6 to $8 during happy hour, a price point that Cozy Nut Tavern can pull off only by being two blocks off the main drag in North Seattle. There’s an $8 Boulevardier (a Negroni with bourbon instead of gin) that’s as good as you would get anywhere on Capitol Hill and plenty of fresh-juice cocktails.

But this is more an IPA kind of haunt. The old-timers would rather pick a brew from the 12 taps than be caught dead asking for the cocktail menu.

There’s no kitchen in this tight space, so snacks are a mix-and-match assortment of smoked meats, cheeses, nuts and crackers.

The watering hole has the dimension of a shoebox with some tenuous-looking knob-and-tube-wiring overhead. It sits so close to the street that when the Metro bus rumbles by, it blocks out the natural light and the bar goes dark.

“Uh, did you pay the power bill?” I quipped.

We laughed in the darkness. The light returned after the bus wheezed by, and patrons turned back to their pints and corn nuts.

Cozy Nut Tavern, 123 N. 85th St., offers happy hour Tuesday and Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from 2-7 p.m. with $1 off beer and cocktails, $4 wine, $5 wells, $1 off on snacks and $4 sandwich. Closed on Monday. 206-784-2240.