Paul Shanrock is a bartender's bartender: gregarious, loves the classics but isn't afraid of getting innovative, sports a dapper beard—that's a bonus, not a prerequisite.
The barman hails from Reno, Nevada but has tended bar in a few recognizable Seattle cocktail dens in the last five years. You might have seen him behind the bar at the Sexton and Rocco's, as the bar manager at Joli in Ballard, or most recently at Rider downtown.
But soon Shanrock will be breaking out on his own: Stampede Cocktail Club, he promises, will be place for "cocktails and good times." Simple and straightforward, but undeniably good, kind of like Shanrock's gin old-fashioned. Stampede will be modern to be sure, skewing cutting-edge wherever appropriate, but, says Shanrock, "you want to walk in there and feel like it's been there for 100 years—a bar unstuck in time." To that end, the bar's vibe will pull from a myriad of influences: western styles inspired by his Nevada roots, a main saloon with chandeliers, a parlor room with an adventure-slash-tiki aesthetic, and patio inundated with flowers and ivy to evoke a sense of old ruins.
What about the location at 119 North 36th Street in Fremont? Stampede's taking over the space formerly occupied by The Helm. The now-shuttered cocktail bar puttered out at the end of 2017, and as Shanrock was on a hunt for a space for the bar he's dreamed of years, he saw an opportunity and reached out to owners Phil Megenhardt and Andrea Drachler. The ink's not yet dried on the lease yet, but Shanrock says the Helm owners have been awesome in the process, and he's duly stoked to get into the Fremont community and serve up solid libations.
Drinks will evolve along the way, dabbling in some cutting-edge cocktails, says Shanrock, but to start, expect the barkeep's greatest hits, like A Lovely Day for Bloodsport, a grappa-based tipple with Luxardo Bitter Bianco, and vermouth that you might have sipped at Joli once upon a time.
Shanrock's "unrealistic opening date" is April 19, but admits May is the more likely debut.
Stay tuned to Nosh Pit for updates as we have them.