Anu Elford, one half of the duo behind barstitutions Rob Roy, Navy Strength, and No Anchor which she owns with her husband Chris Elford, has long dreamt of opening a bar shop for pros and novices alike. The seedling of an idea was planted around seven years ago, back in 2011, when she ran a website that covered the ins and outs of drink making, cocktail construction, and the like. But projects like that tend to take a back seat when you travel as much as Elford does while running some of Seattle's best bars.
But oh happy day, she's finally done it. The Bar Bazaar slowly came into being early this year at 1516 Western Avenue.
A cabinet of bitters greets you upon entering. Vintage booze ads are tacked on one wall. Tables are topped with stainless steel shaker tins of various sizes, meanwhile another table has some stirring spoons displayed, ditto tiki-themed tumblers that didn't make into Navy Strength's tropical vessels. Still, it's not quite as jam-packed as Elford wants it. Soon it'll be brimming with bar tools and gadgets, she says—new stuff of course but also used gear in good condition so that it's affordable; dabbling in the craft of cocktails can be pricey. For now, there are little notes around the space, like coming soon! more spoons and wall of cocktail strainers where a few strainers hang on nails. Elford's getting new stock in soon, including vintage barware and glassware.
In the corner of the Bar Bazaar find a community zone, an area where bartenders, or anyone, can grab a cocktail recipe book or maybe a jigger as well as donate something. Proceeds from the products sold from the community corner will be given to a rotating charity.
Elford says that she plans to spirit tastings and classes down the road, maybe cocktail workshops, too. It's a bar shop, to be sure, but also a place for learning and testing. Truly. You can test out some bar tools before you to commit to buying anything. When can you do such in-store demos? Hours are noon to 6pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.