Life on Mars
This 90-seat bar on the corner of East Pike Street and Harvard Avenue is one of the most anticipated openings on Capitol Hill this year, given the pedigrees of the crew behind it: KEXP morning DJ John Richards, Neumos co-owner Steven Severin and two veterans with 20 years of music-production experience, Amy Richards and Leigh Sims.
The four boast quite the Rolodex, evident by the musicians who have already made cameo appearances. Tacocat has already brought some 45s to play. Expect other big and up-and-coming bands to take a turn behind the turntable soon. No live music though.
The hi-fi-style bar is walled with 5,800 vinyl records (and counting), with an aesthetic that looks cribbed from those trendy listening bars in Tokyo. But Life on Mars is a convivial bar that lends itself more to conversation than to zen-ning out and listening to Naked Giants or Thunderpussy.
Two longtime bartenders, Melissa Cross, formerly of Sun Liquor, and Kraig Rovensky, formerly of Tavern Law, are behind the craft-cocktail program here.
Bar food is all plant-based — a lineup ranging from veggie burgers to waffle sandwiches stuffed with the likes of Southern-styled fried artichoke or pulled jackfruit.
This 2,600-square-foot bar puts a new spin on happy hour, turning that time into a request line of sorts: Customers can pick any record from its vast collection to be played from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 4 p.m.-2 a.m. on Sunday.
722 E. Pike St., (Capitol Hill) Seattle; 206-323-9166, lifeonmarsseattle.com
Owners Ben Smith and Austin Polley, two old hands from Westward restaurant, have turned a former speakeasy-esque den on Capitol Hill into a faux-dive-meets-Polynesian-tiki-kitsch getaway. The name Rose Temple is partly an homage to Wallingford’s beloved (now closed) Chinese bar restaurant Moon Temple.
The soundtrack is hip-hop. That tropical breeze is AC, which should make this a popular hangout every time the weather hits anywhere near 90 degrees.
Located at the elbow of East Olive Way and Harvard Avenue East, the spacious Rose Temple goes from a brightly lit, plant-filled room to a dimly lit bar area with booths. A sliding bookcase reveals an even darker backroom, a remnant from the previous tenant, By the Pound.
Rose Temple seemed more in tune with its neighborhood demographic than that previous stuffy speakeasy, which crashed and burned. Drinks are cheaper; the atmosphere seems more chill. For the party-hardy set, there are Jell-O shots and shooters with “gummy sharks and edible glitter” along with the usual whiskey and Rainier tallboys. Cocktails fall on the tropical, sweet-and-sour side and at $11, they’re a couple of bucks cheaper than at other Capitol Hill cocktail dens.
The modest food menu comes from Seth Richardson, the former sous chef at Rock Creek and owner of Odin Star food truck. (Technically, Rose Temple is two businesses under one roof. Richardson rented kitchen space to do the bar food.)
Sandwiches are Asian-themed, from mapo tofu served on challah bread to a roast beef on a baguette with a side of “smoked soy jus” to dip.
The bar plans to stay open daily until 2 a.m. for the late-night industry crowd and has plans to open as early as 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
1801 E. Olive Way, (Capitol Hill) Seattle; rosetemplebar.com