We may be all aflutter about the transformation of Pioneer Square, but plenty of things are happening in SoDo. Like the Maison Tavern and Aston Manor, conjoined projects at 2946 First Ave S. 

Maison Tavern is a 55-seat cocktail and snack spot that will shift in later hours to the VIP area for Aston Manor, a Prohibition-themed nightclub styled after a wealthy gentleman's 1920s-era manse, complete with salon, ballroom, parlor, and a grand fireplace. The menu at Maison comes courtesy of chef Bryan Ogden, whose resume includes names like Charlie Trotter and Michael Mina. He was running the kitchen at his father’s Bradley Ogden Restaurant at Caesars Palace in 2004 when it won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. 

These days the younger Ogden and his father are working on opening three restaurants in Houston. He and one of the Maison/Aston partners are longtime close friends from their Vegas days, he says, so he agreed to make a few trips to Seattle and consult on the menu. He describes it as seasonal with “A lot of fun, really approachable food executed with great ingredients and all the right little touches.” 

Maison’s location a mile south of the stadiums and a Frappuccino’s throw from Starbucks headquarters makes it a likely destination for happy hours and pre- and post-game crowds (especially when the hotels and housing planned for the area become reality). Ogden’s menu is heavy on upscale flatbreads and sliders, as well as snacky plates like grilled cheese bites with pine nut pesto dipping sauce, or kettle chips slathered in barbecue sauce, bacon, cheese sauce, sour cream, crumbled blue cheese, and short rib. You know, just a light little something. The big hit on the dessert menu is bound to be the tabletop s’mores that you assemble yourself.  

You might be wondering who is behind this project. Me, too. Though contacts surrounding Maison and Aston are quick to provide details about the fictional proprietor (a mustachioed gadabout named Roy Aston) they're really hyping the whole "Shhhh! It's a speakeasy" aspect when it comes to actual owners. But from what I can intuit (and back up with various public records searches, because I am a nerd) investors hail from both Vegas and Seattle, and the project, at least as of a few months ago, has some ownership in common with Munchbar, though the ownership group for Maison and Aston is called 1929 Management. 

Maison's hours will be 4 to 10 Monday through Friday, while Aston Manor will obviously be more of a nighttime spot. Both establishments are in the final preopening stages, so stay tuned for more opening details. However the shroud of secrecy won't last much longer: Our hardworking event peeps told me they have put together a special sneak peek event for readers on March 14. Email event manager Libby Kindle at lkindle@seattlemet.com for more details.