Hanging out at the Woodmark is disorienting, but nicely so. For one thing, it’s in Kirkland, which can feel a lot further from Seattle then it is—everything is so clean and there are all these SUVs and unobstructed views of water. Secondly, the Woodmark is an odd setup. The building itself is a maze. Its main bar—the Library Bar—is just down the hall from the restaurant Bin Vivant. The Library seems to compete for attention (and lose) with the much-better-lit bar inside Bin Vivant. In truth it is a bit forlorn, but in an interesting way: The bartender asks lots of questions, European men wander in and out, talking into their blackberries, a couple tempts evesdropping with their whispering and emphatic hand gestures.
By the end of the night, I feel like I’ve gone on a mini journey. And I’ve also had a really, really good drink: the Shinjuku Blossom, made from Shushuhana sake, plum vodka, and ginger liqueur, with an edible candied hibiscus flower floating on top. It’s sweetness is super subtle and the ginger adds amazing texture to the flavor of the sake. Props to Kathy Casey, who consulted on the cocktail menu.
Here is the Library’s happy hour menu. I can’t vouch for the food, because chef Lisa Nakamura left (along with the Bin Vivant GM and sommelier Dawn Smith, whom we recently interviewed) since I’ve been there. Weirdness. But go for the cocktail anyway.