Booze News

Derschang Sells Rob Roy

And Seattle gets a new serious cocktail bar

July 17, 2009

Rumors have circulated on Twitter for weeks, but last night I finally got a confirmation from Anu Apte that she and fellow Vessel bartender Zane Harris have purchased Rob Roy, Linda Derschang’s Second Ave bar whose name, up until this spring, had been Viceroy.

The name change was confusing and made the bar feel orphaned, somehow, with Mother Derschang concentrating on getting the food up to par at Smith and dealing with shakeups at Oddfellows. But the Rob Roy has always seemed to me like the real oddfellow in Derschang’s cast of bars, not only in terms of location, but also crowd and attitude.

But as it is at all of Derschang’s drinkeries, Rob Roy’s interior is fantastic—that cool mid-century stone work behind the bar, that black cushioned wall that makes you feel like you’re in the world’s sexiest padded room, the long line of leather highbacked bar chairs—a reference, I should think, to the stylings of legendary West 5 out on California Ave.

In an email, Apte told me that she and Harris hope to take over on August 1st, though they’ll have to secure a new liquor license—which any bar owner around here will tell you can lead to delays.

“We’ll be bringing fresh ingredients, new liquors, and new techniques to the bar immediately.” Wrote Apte. “In a few months we hope to do a small remodel that will include a kitchen, Kold-Draft ice, and new fun bar toys.”

Apte and Harris are replaced at Vessel by Keith Waldbauer, formerly of Barrio.

Oh and since you bring up Kold-Draft, Anu: I just wrote an article on the machines—which are these incredible icemakers that lock out air and impurities to create totally transparent, slow-melting ice—and about cocktail ice in general, which will be out next week. The following Seattle bars currently have Kold-Drafts: Barrio, Vessel, Naga Cocktail Lounge, Tavern Law, and soon Rob Roy.

I think it’s safe to say that if you’re in a Seattle bar where there is a Kold-Draft machine, you’re going to get a good drink.

Photo Courtesy Rob Roy

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