What’s a barstaurant, you ask? We define it as a bar you’d have no trouble going to just for drinks—but which offers such an ambitious menu, it’s a bona-fide restaurant too.
(What’s Miyabi 45th? Only the hottest new Japanese gastropub in town, from the chef of the late Chez Shea.)
We checked out the old favorites (hey Quinn’s!) and the new ones you’ve been meaning to get to (we’re lookin’ at you, Von Trapp’s, Bait Shop, Bar Cotto)—and for every joint that made the cut, we give up the intel on what to drink, what to eat, and who to expect beside you on the barstool.
We think it adds up to a pretty good example of that thing we do here at Seattle Met: Identifying the prevailing winds in this city, then supplying you with the definitive guide to where they’re blowing strongest. The barstaurant trend has been with us since speakeasies like Tavern Law’s Needle and Thread started popping up in secret locations all over town in around 2009…or make that a few years earlier, when Black Bottle kicked off the small-plates-with-good-booze trend….or, no, since 2003, when Sambar started applying the rules of French sauces to the construction of craft cocktails.
Scratch all that: Seattle’s barstaurants became a thing the day Seattle barman-savant Murray Stenson walked down the steps from Il Bistro, and hung his apron at Zig Zag Cafe.
Yep—our story gives you all that and more. What it doesn’t tell you is what to call these joints. Sure, there’s gastropub, but we think that’s got too beery an echo for places that are primarily about booze. There’s restobar. Barstaurant. Boozestro? Liquafe? Distillaurant?
No, no, no.
Surely you can come up with something better.