It’s been a long wait for fans of what was arguably Seattle’s first luxe craft cocktail bar, which closed in December of 2010. There was the search for the perfect new location, the renovations that took longer than anticipated, and then the speculation of just when exactly the doors would unlock. But the wait is over and Vessel has reopened in its new location on 7th and Olive, taking over the old Red Balloon space. Returning fans will recognize the large glass bar shelves, loaded with premium spirits and a beautiful selection of glassware. The space, although completely different, reminds us of the former, including a small semiprivate upstairs area. The owners are just as enthusiastic and creative as ever. They have realized their vision of a new type of bar program, in which a rotation of the area’s best stirrers and shakers take turns creating menus and libations. This means more exposure to different liquors, styles and techniques for us enthusiasts. Not just for an evening out, Vessel has a creative lunch menu with items like a muffuletta, sunchoke hummus, and an “Old Fashioned” sundae with Angostura gelato.
In the quickly expanding Melrose corridor, the highly anticipated cocktail bar Rumba has opened. Although small in size, it is a giant with a list of over 200 rums amassed from around the world. The owners, who also own next door’s Tango, have opened Seattle’s very first rum bar complete with sea-blue leather chairs, sunny walls and dark wood accents. All the island hopping and on-location research has gone towards executing a truly delicious assortment of rums for the sipping. They’ve also recruited an experienced bar staff who have created a unique menu and they are excited to show it off. Get your Hemingway on by tasting through all four Daiquiri variations. Island drinks like Ti’ punch, Corn n’ Oil or a Queen’s Park Swizzle are also guaranteed to bring on a little relaxation. An inspired menu of bar snacks like rum-glazed nuts, sautéed hibiscus flowers or coconut breaded prawns will help soak up all that rummy goodness.
The Tin Lizzie Lounge
Lower Queen Anne just got one more drinking option, finally. Inside the MarQueen Hotel, The Tin Lizzie Lounge greets you with antique sofas and chairs, private nooks and crannies, and duplicates of European Master’s paintings. It’s not a speakeasy but has that kitschy feel that is comfortable, fun and relaxing. The cocktail menu is short, leaning towards the classics. Sip your well-, if not perfectly made, Whiskey Old Fashioned or Sidecar while listening to a bit of old-timey music playing in the background. A small menu of Mediterranean bar bites seems strangely out of place, but are still a welcome sight while indulging. It’s too early to say what the typical clientele of the Tin Lizzie will be, we’re hoping it attracts the locals and not just those who are passing through.
Written by Wendy Miller