A giant rooftop bar, a new patio, tacos, Negroni Week, a new Melvin Brewing ... what more do you need?
A new taco shack in Pioneer Square: Manu Alfau, owner of the popular Pioneer Square sandwich shop Manu’s Bodega, is opening a taco stand. He’s doing braised meats and also queso and chips, the latter an homage to his upbringing in Austin, Texas. The walk-up window will be above the new Flatstick Pub, a craft-beer bar with a 9-hole mini-golf course that opens June 2. But you have awhile to wait for Manu’s food. His taco stand won’t open until the end of the summer.
New French spot: One of the most talented newcomers I’ve seen in the Seattle cocktail scene the last two years is Zac Overman, who works at Rob Roy’s Monday tiki night and also at Matt Dillon’s Sitka & Spruce. He’s destined for a bigger stage, and now he’s got it. Overman is opening a bar restaurant with chef J.J. Proville, who cooked at the famed Gramercy Tavern in New York and once at Il Corvo. L’Oursin will be French focused, with a bar program heavy on aperitifs and European-inspired cocktails made with brandy, armangac, sherry and vermouth and biodynamic wines. It’s slated to open in September or October at the corner of 14th Avenue and East Jefferson Street, next to Seven Beef.
Hot new brewery expands to Washington: Bellingham, your stellar beer scene just got even better. Melvin Brewing in Jackson, Wyo., maker of one of the most talked-about IPAs in our region, is building a brewery and restaurant near downtown Bellingham. During Seattle Beer Week, Melvin founder Jeremy Tofte said his new brewery will make Belgians, Imperial stouts, sours and barrel-aged beers. It’s scheduled to open before Thanksgiving.
One of the area’s biggest rooftop bars debuts: Nest, the swanky, 4,500-square-foot bar atop the Thompson Hotel, will open June 13. It has views of Pike Place Market, the Sound and the Olympics and features four bar stations and a fifth “satellite bar” for when it gets busy. And it will get busy. Investors expect it to be at full capacity — 250 people — nightly after sunset. Downstairs, the hotel restaurant Scout opens on June 1. Scout will feature 12- to 15-course pairings with cocktails, spirits and coffee, not just beer and wine.
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You can thank the Amazon work force for this new patio: Pan Pacific Hotel in South Lake Union will open its 65-seat outdoor area in the courtyard above Whole Foods Market this Friday. It’s largely to take advantage of the hundreds of tech workers who flood all the happy hours in the neighborhood, hotel administrators said. The patio is lined with a row of basil, mint and other herbs, the bounty for its new craft-cocktail program. Food will be appetizers and shared plates. Also, part of the old Seastar space inside will be remodeled into a private bar, catering to tech companies throwing office parties. That’s scheduled to open around July.
Small cocktails are big: Little drinks or flights of little drinks are everywhere. It’s the biggest cocktail trend, these 1.5- to 2-ounce drinks. Heartwood Provisions downtown pairs mini cocktails with entrees, since a full-size drink would be too potent. In Denny Triangle, Noroeste serves a mini complimentary “Amuse” cocktail when you sit down. And at the acclaimed Bateau, if the $10 craft cocktails seem cheap for such a swanky Cap Hill joint, read the menu closely; they’re “petite cocktails.”
Small cocktails are also popular as flights, served as a set of three drinks, usually variations of a classic. Sun Liquor does “Daiquiri 3 ways,” tweaking each flight with different rums and citrus. Canon rotates a variety of flights from the Manhattan to the Sazerac. Naka does a flight of Old Fashioneds with different bitters. And next week, Liberty and all the Skillet restaurants will feature flights of negronis.
And speaking of Negronis: Negroni Week (June 6-12) is coming, one of the most popular cocktail events in this city. About 50 Seattle-area bars participate, either by featuring the classic (gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) or their own spin. Barrio on Capitol Hill will do a variation with pisco, while Mulleady’s Irish Pub in Magnolia (a great under-the-radar bar) tweaks the classic with Irish whiskey and Campari infused with Theo chocolate. Check negroniweek.com for a list of participating bars.
Bartender dating advice: “Waiting for your date? Drink Sherry,” said Liberty bartender Andrew Dalan. That advice is even posted on the cocktail menu. He advises guys to drink the low-alcohol sherry because “it’s not uncommon for guys to get here early for their Tinder dates and do two to three shots because they’re nervous. Let’s just say that their conversation suffers when their date arrives.”
Best new local whiskey released so far this year: Westland’s Garryana, with honeycomb on the nose, likely from being aged in garyoak. On the palate there’s sweeping notes of toffee, coffee grounds and blackberries. Let it open up for 10 minutes and you get hints of banana peel and cloves. It’s scheduled to be released on June 22 (suggested retail price $125). It should sell out since there’s so much buzz around Westland, which was anointed Craft Producer of the Year by Whisky Magazine in the spring. The good news is you won’t have to chase the product on the secondary market. About 1,000 of the 2,500 Garryana bottles will be released in the state, and the rest going around the world. On a side note, Japan starts importing Westland whiskey on June 1.