Tom Douglas's cooking school in the Hotel Ändra opens its doors Monday, along with a full-fledged Scandinavian-themed bar called Ändra Loft, with Nordic bites, Swedish cocktails, and space for close to 70 people.
T-Doug sure did sneak this one past us, describing it merely as “a bar area for additional drinks” when we spoke to him about Hot Stove Society, his cooking school. But no hard feelings. We’re suckers for surprises. Here’s a quick look at what you can expect from Ändra Loft.
The Snapshot: It may have come into being as a companion bar for Hot Stove Society—most classes include at least one drink—but Ändra Loft has its own Norse theme, fitting given Hotel Ändra’s Scandinavian leanings; the decor is appropriately minimalist, too. Ändra Loft will be open every day, starting 4pm on weekdays and 9am on weekends, but the party will wrap up fairly early—by 9pm—every day (“It gets sleepy around here,” says Adam Chumas, TDR’s Beverage Director ). Still, it’s a great open space for some post-work socializing, or pre-knifework drinks.
Eat: "Badass Swedish food." At least that's how Herschel Taghap, Douglas’s social media guru puts it. Translation: Scandinavian small bites like meatballs, cured fish, gravlax, even venison. Bridget Charter, Hot Stove Society’s culinary director, swears by the pork-beef meatballs served with coriander cream, tarragon salt and pistachios (they’re also served with the traditional gravy and lingonberry). If you’re not tickled, though, at the sound of meatballs (who are you?!!) the cured sockeye salmon with Dahlia Bakery’s anise bread and rye crackers also come highly recommended. Plates run between $4 and $6.
Drink: The Phyllis Diller. There’s lots of Scandinavian spirits, Ballard beer on tap, Norwegian Nøgne ø bottled beer, and even a cocktail called Swedish Tiki (ginger aquavit, orgeat, Swedish punsch), but the drink to try, according to Chumas, is the Phyllis Diller. “It’s kind of our marquee drink,” he says. What goes into it? Old Ballard Riktig Aquavit, a classic Norwegian-style Scandinavian liquor, mixed with Cocchi Americano, dill, lemon and a hint of Chartreuse.
Sit: Above Hotel Ändra’s lobby, if you find yourself on one of the stylish club chairs next to the glass railing of this mezzanine loft, which sits right above the hotel's reception area. But if you’re sitting on one of the high tables with bar stools further in, you’re in charge of your own entertainment. The setup is somewhat reminiscent of a high-end cafeteria,—particularly apt seeing as it’s tied to a cooking school—with the bar set up as a counter and a queue rail in front. There’s even a bench at the back. The loft, meant to be an extension of Hotel Ändra’s common spaces, is open to guests whether or not the bar is.
Bonus Intel: The space was originally christened Lök Bar, after the Swedish word for onions (which explains all the onion and bottle motifs on their tables and menus) but it got renamed to go better with the hotel.