Row House Cafe South Lake Union
Row House Cafe gets bigger and boozier. Photo via rowhousecafe.com.

In the glass neighborhood of South Lake Union, Row House Cafe—a cozy wood abode dating from 1904—is a welcome sight. Coffee drinkers especially have taken to the charming Row House—Illy is the bean of choice—and soon may drinkers of another sort.

The cafe on the corner of Republican Street and Fairview Avenue North is actually made up of several cottages, the third one of which Row House recently acquired. This allows for some much-needed upgrades, notably a bigger kitchen—four times bigger—and a new bar.

Managing partner Erin Maher describes it as a "belly-up bar" that will be small in size (to be clear: it's going in the former kitchen) but still allow Row House to expand on its scratch offerings and wine selection. Several tap beers will flow alongside craft-distilled and local spirits. Maher plans to play up the original appointments to create a historical maritime vibe.

As for the expanded kitchen, that should go a long way in getting food out faster and accommodating large groups. More elaborate happy hour and dinner menus are likely, says Maher.

Construction is under way and should wrap by the end of February. Maher and crew have been documenting the overhaul on the Row House website. History buffs may want to check it out.