It’s been a full harvest of bar news and notes, with lots of bubbly things happening in the Seattle bar world, including special events, openings and more. While the below is not an exhaustive list (which would just get, well, exhausting) these highlights will help you set your fall drinking agenda.
Von Trapp’s Oktoberfest: If you haven’t yet been to Capitol Hill’s bierhall and bocce hangout, now’s the time to go, as its Oktoberfest celebration is in full swing. Running until Sunday, October 6 (which mirrors the dates of the original Munich beer celebration), Von Trapp’s fest boasts a tented outdoor set up that stays jumping until 10 p.m. every night. Bar manager Doug Wargo has brought in 14 Oktoberfest beers for your drinking pleasure. And if you try all of them, and get punches in the special beer punch cards, you’ll end up with a big stoneware mug. There are also giant pretzels, tastings, trivia, classes and music from acts such as the Bavarian Village Band (they’re oom-pah-ing at Von Trapp's on September 29, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and October 3, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.).
Monsoon East Local Distillery Cocktail Dinner: This delicious evening on Monday, October 21, at 6:30 p.m., features two of our local distillery stars (and two distilleries that have put out some of my favorite local products): Bluewater Distilling and Pacific Distillery. Sibling chefs Sophie and Eric Banh have put together an inspired menu to go along with cocktails that use products from those distilleries from bar manager Jon Christiansen. One example is the Faire le Bec cocktail with Bluewaters’ Halcyon Gin, absinthe, lychee syrup, lime, shiso leaf and cardamom bitters served alongside grilled Asian eggplant with soy-pressed tofu, salted radish and Szechuan peppercorn oil. It’s a fantastic way to try some new spirits and listen to the distillers talk about their goods, too, as John Lundin from Bluewater and Marc Bernhard from Pacific will be there.
3 Seattle Bars Named Best for Bourbon: I’m a little late on this one, but it’s still worth mentioning, and not just because the three bars in question are three of my top cocktailing picks in town. At the end of August The Bourbon Review sent out its list of America’s Best Bourbon bars as part of its fifth anniversary celebration, and Seattle appeared three times: The Rob Roy, The Zig Zag Café and the Liberty Bar. To win, each bar had to align with some strict tipsy criteria from the editors, including by showcasing “Bourbon in a very proud manner, by educating their patrons about Bourbon and either providing them with a superior selection or a combination of a great selection along with having a reputation for showcasing Bourbon in their cocktails.” I think you should honor each bar, and bourbon, by stopping by for a bourbon drink soon.
Chef Ethan Stowell’s mkt.: Sure, Chef Stowell has a delicious new restaurant every quarter it seems, but mkt. (or “market”), which is setting up shop in Tangletown, has an interesting cocktail wrinkle. Opening any moment, the cozy (28 seats) spot will have food that falls into “thoughtful American fare,” which sounds swell to me. But the cocktail menu will be only made up of a small number of barrel-aged cocktails aged in-house--pretty neat! Oh, there’ll be some beer and wine, too.
Brunswick & Hunt Opening in Ballard: This gets the coveted final spot in the news post because it’s not far at all from my house, so I’m super excited about it. With an address at 1480 NW 70th Street, this new restaurant and bar is going to be right up the street from a number of swell places: pizza heaven Delancey and sibling bar Essex, as well as the fantastic Fat Hen and Honoré Bakery, which may make these the best two blocks in town for eating and drinking. Owned by brothers Barry Rogel (Deluxe Bar & Grill) and Scott Rogel (the Athenian), Brunswick & Hunt from what I’ve heard will have a giant bar flowing with cocktails, a mural recovered from the town of Winlock in south-west Washington, and locally-focused food ranging from small plates to full course affairs.