Tango owner Travis Rosenthal is opening what he believes is Seattle’s first bar dedicated to rum (as opposed to the city’s first cider bar, going in just up the hill). Rumba, first reported by CHS blog back in May, sent word this week that it will open in early September.
The release promises classic and modern rum cocktails, as well as a menu of empanadas and assorted Caribbean-tinged plates. Tango chef Daniel Perez is designing the food program with Joanna Chau, the restaurant’s pastry chef. Tallulah Anderson, the project's rep, says the interior is inspired by 1950s cuba, with dark wood, artful ceiling fans, and sea-colored booths and bar stools. Even the bar games, dominoes and dice, suggest Panama hats and a slower pace.
Rumba won't be a destination for tiki drinks, says Anderson, but it will have a large selection of sipping rums from around the world. Overseeing all this rum is Connor O'Brien, who will come over from Vito's to be Rumba's bar manager.
The bar is located right next to Tango at Pike and Boren, part of what CHS calls Capitol Hill's "Melrose archipelago."
Like some other sweet-leaning beverages, rum has been rather maligned in recent years, thanks to nefarious figures like Captain Morgan and college kids on spring break. But the recent resurgence of tiki drinks, plus bartenders who aren’t afraid to take the distilled sugarcane in nonroof-raising directions are starting to change its perception, at least among cocktail geeks. San Francisco and Portland already boast bars dedicated to rum. Rumba will narrowly miss national rum day on August 16, but this primer at Esquire should get you prepared; I hear at least one local celebration is in store.