Blame it on the ocean, or that our dreary winter warrants constant reminders of sun. Either way, in Seattle tropical bars abound. Roquette, a new cocktail den on Belltown’s First Ave, extends the trend, but only just. A large palm tree mural commands the back wall, and wicker daubs wood shelving. But Roquette, owned by Zig Zag alum Erik Hakkinen and named after a Paris neighborhood, sees its equatorial flourishes through a thick French colonial lens. Where else does a vintage shot of a naked beach babe hang feet away from a dark velvet curtain?
These geographies converge in drinks, too. The Lucky Pierre translates a sidecar further into French: cognac, orange curacao (okay, a Dutch colony), a blast of lemon and bitter lemon oil, and Abricot du Roussillon, which adds some stone fruit meatiness. The $22 Corn ’n Oil layers bitters and lime to flaunt its pricey, delightfully savory—think raisins, tobacco—Jamaican rum. The small space offers small bites—tinned fish, cured meats. “We don’t have a kitchen, we have a microwave,” said one of the genial bartenders. They cook some unlikely snacks in it; she was effusive about the chicharrones.