Images of Barnacle have been showing up on Renee Erickson's various social media feeds, offering glimpses of the hand-painted blue and white Moroccan tile, the 13-foot copper bar top, and shelves stocked with wine, olive oil, and Boat Street jarred goods.
And the wait is finally over, the tiny wine bar at 4743 Ballard Avenue NW is opening tonight, and you’ll finally be able to get a good look for yourself. That is if you’re lucky enough to squeeze into the 769-square-foot space and snag one of the 13 bar seats, or one of six at a banquette. A standing bar offers room for about 10 more, as well. In other words, you might what to keep your party size to a minimum.
Barnacle is adjacent to the Walrus and the Carpenter, and its initial intention was to hold the overflow from its nationally loved and adored oyster bar neighbor. But co-owner David Little says that as the bar program and menu came together with such success, the newest crustaceanly named spot will be worth its own special visit too.
The menu consists of eight dishes, ordered via chalkboard, and all served room temp or chilled. There isn’t a kitchen space per say—most of the dishes will be pickled, canned, or smoked—so no hot plates. A Spanish serrano ham is shaved and paired with fruit and sherry vinegar, the duck is moussed, and the octopus-terrined. Erickson has likened the food choices to the way she enjoys eating, which is light, simple, and from the sea.
As for the bar, it’s as unfussy as it gets. There is no fresh-squeezing juice, but instead a whole lot of sippers, like amari, wines, digestifs, and aperitifs. Little, who’s no stranger to the Walrus and Erickson’s methodology, is running the bar program and says the goal for the drink menu is to offer unusual and new spirits and liqueurs for guests to try. Starting with the many, many kinds of amaro, an herbal liqueur (the name means bitter in Italian that's having a moment these days. Barnacle has 20 Italian varietals as well as others from around the world. Eventually flights will be available, with three or four to taste side by side, to really show the diversity of each type. Also expect to see many Negroni variations, and 12 Italian wines by the glass, as well as a Prosecco and a lambrusco.
Barring a natural disaster of some sort, Barnacle is open to the public tonight, September 23, at 3pm. Normal hours will be from 4pm to 10pm every day. For updates and such hit Barnacle’s Facebook page, here.