Nordstrom’s Habitant Lets you Shop and Bar Hop

A new bar in Nordstrom’s downtown flagship store delivers a welcome stop for shoppers.

By Seattle Mag August 12, 2015


This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Seattle magazine.

Let’s face it, there aren’t enough bars in stores—shopping can wear you down, and cocktails pick you up, so it’s a perfect match. Nordstrom appears to agree, as evidenced by its Habitant bars within stores, the newest of which is on the third floor of the fashion retailer’s downtown Seattle location (500 Pine St.; 206.628.1635; The third in the Habitant chain, with others in Bellevue and Puerto Rico, the bar is not just a boon to shoppers, but also to those waiting for their shopping companions to finish.

Near the ever-changing pop-up shop, the bar is open on most of one side (the one facing the racks), so you don’t lose touch with the environment. However, the mid-century industrial furnishings (think wooden ceilings, artful concrete floors and some exposed fixtures) and the array of low tables with deep comfy chairs, as well as the long bar with its nicely stocked collection of bottles, provide enough remove from the shopping bustle to make for relaxed sipping. Also, the tall windows alongside the bar are being exposed after years of being shuttered (as part of the store redesign), giving a view of Fifth Avenue below.

There’s a good selection of sips to be had, with a cocktail menu (similar to the other two Habitants, as the drinks have been selected on a company-wide level) of nearly a dozen choices, along with an assortment of beer and wine. The cocktails range from new takes on the classics, such as the GM 75 (with Grand Marnier in place of gin, together with lemon juice and bubbly), to house recipes. In the latter category, my favorite was the Smoke & Heat ($10), a marriage of mezcal, jalapeño simple syrup, Grand Marnier and orange juice, with a touch of alderwood-smoked sea salt around the rim. Its layers of smoke were intriguing without being overbearing, balanced by the tang and brightness of the citrus. Also check out the Rent Check ($10), featuring Espolòn silver tequila, St. Germain cordial, jalapeño syrup, lime and muddled watermelon.

An abbreviated food menu—offering a handful of plates just a little larger than snack size—includes polenta fries ($5.95), perfectly crispy on the outside and toasty on the inside, and served savory with rosemary, sage, Parmesan and a side of oven-dried-tomato aioli. I can only hope that more stores follow Nordstrom’s lead and open bars with these types of tasty menus—it beats sitting in the husband/boyfriend chair.

A.J. Rathbun ( has written 10 home entertaining books. Find his dispatches from the local bar scene at


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