Pushing creative cocktails and elevated bar food.
It was midweek in Pioneer Square, the weather blustery and sports fans scarce.
Still, the after-work crowd found its way off the main drag to Good Bar. Suits hoisted a few rounds, and girlfriends shared hugs while servers frantically juggled stacked plates as food orders were being shouted from every direction. The Raveonettes blaring from the speakers added to the din.
It was loud and boisterous but not in a Cowgirls-Inc. way. For one, there is milk-braised pork and deconstructed potato salad on the menu.
Good Bar is part of the new wave of drinking dens that, for better or worse, are reinventing this historic ’hood.
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When folks call Pioneer Square the next “It” place or the next Capitol Hill, they’re usually talking about First Avenue South or Occidental Plaza. The folks behind Good Bar took a bigger leap of faith and planted their flag farther east, where the only consistent foot traffic at night comes from the Union Gospel Mission men’s shelter.
Come at 6 and Good Bar looks like a party. Come at 9 and you pretty much have the place to yourself.
Financially backed by the folks behind Marination Mobile, Good Bar is closer in DNA to Damn the Weather. It pushes elevated bar food like that potato salad, re-imagined as finger food — roasted fingerlings to dip in a mashed-boiled-egg-aioli. It’s the best of the happy-hour offerings.
But most order the $12 Sloppy Joe. It’s meatier and chunkier than your Average Joe — more like a chopped-up burger, really — and best washed down with a cheap Rainier.
Behind this horseshoe bar are 10 beers on tap. But even better is the bottle list of craft and Belgian ales. For the penny-pinchers, there are bottles of red wine as cheap as $20 to $22 buried at the bottom of the menu.
As for the mixed-drink program, the bartenders push big-boy cocktails: from a rye drink with Laphroaig to a Daiquiri amped up with mescal. Both were excellent. But it’s a myopic menu, designed for cocktail geeks with little consideration for the mainstream imbiber who favors less boozy concoctions and more vodka.
Good Bar may be blocks away from the barhopping section of Pioneer Square, but what a handsome corner building these guys snagged. The bones of this century-old structure remain: the high ceiling, the two-story columns and the bank-vault doors — all refurbished in a black-and-white motif and accented by the yellow glow from the lamp posts outside.
On a gray night, with smoke rising from the manholes, the environ looked film-noir-esque from the window view. Step outside though, and reality smacks you in the face.
Panhandlers worked the corners, and other than the wheeze and rumble of the E Line, the streets looked eerily quiet. Good Bar felt like a mere mirage in this ghostly part of town.
Good Bar, 240 Second Ave. S., Seattle, offers happy hour weekdays 4-6 p.m. with $3-$6 snacks and $4-$5 beer, wine and cocktail specials (206-624-2337 or goodbarseattle.com).