Another week, another Belltown bar opening, it seems—and the neighborhood's all the better for it. With the arrival of Commonwealth, the cocktail-blessed community will soon have a Kentucky bourbon–focused bar with some Southern-inspired snacks to match. It officially opens August 31 at 4pm.
Amanda and Cory Chigbrow have been very busy people as of late. The partners, both in life and in business, own and operate many a Belltown bar: the Upstairs, a speakeasy-esque cocktail den where the couple once lived years ago, and below there's Bar Abajo, a Spanish-inspired bar that brims with gin and tonics and tinned snacks. Bar Abajo just opened in July, filling the void after they moved Pintxo to a larger space on Fourth Avenue. Indeed, that new space houses both Pintxo 2.0—which opened this June in what formerly held Spitfire at 2219 Fourth Avenue—and now Commonwealth.
Enter through the back alley off Bell Street, where you'll find Commonwealth's patio-slash-getaway nook. Around the corner a doorway leads to the drinking hall, a sweeping lounge full of leather chairs and plush couches, a couple of booths, and plenty of seats along the library bar. Here, drinks will be of the easy-to-construct nature–like someone fashioning a Negroni from a bar cart. About three or so cocktails will be on tap, using a variety of Kentucky, Japanese, and Northwest bourbons and whiskeys. Then there's a fully stocked bar in the corner: walk up and order a boilermaker, or one of the six beers on draft, or a myriad of other craft cocktails.
As for the food, an offering of Southern bites will come in the form of bourbon-glazed chicken wings, Panko-battered hot chicken, Kentucky-style pimento cheese with chicken skin chips, and Amanda's mom's secret (not anymore) potato salad.
Anywhere you hunker down in the roomy bar, preferably with some comforting fare or a bourbon libation, will feel cozy, thanks to Amanda's vintage finds. But don't get too used to this configuration; the Chigbrows already have a full-on renovation planned for the next year during which they'll relocate the bar, build a solid wall between Commonwealth and Pintxo, among other updates.
Bonus Intel: You might recognize the stained glass light fixture anchored onto the ceiling. It used to hang in the original Charlie's on Broadway. The Chigbrows purchased it at auction and, with the help of employees, dissembled and hauled it pane by pane to the restaurant, where it was put together again. Not a single casualty.