1948: Washington allows the sale of hard liquor by the drink in establishments that serve full meals—the primordial ooze from whence our expectation of food and cocktails crawled. 

1996: Martinis are all the rage, and Tini Bigs brings its ginormous versions and a sense of crafty cocktail adventure to a city otherwise enthralled with microbrews. 

2002: Ben Dougherty and Kacy Fitch take over Zig Zag Cafe, building a brilliant cocktail program alongside upscale food and luring superstar Murray Stenson from Il Bistro. Matt Janke consults on the menu, but a Seattle Times restaurant review allows that the duo “can’t decide if they’re running a restaurant or a lounge.” And “no one is interested much in dinner.”

2003: The seminal Sambar opens, giving Seattle its first taste of a craft cocktail bar where the food is also top notch. 

2003: Lark kicks off Seattle’s love of small plate dining, a style that translates easily to bars. 

2005: One year after the Spotted Pig opens in New York, Black Bottle brings the gastropub concept of great booze and high-end eats to Seattle. (See also: Quinn’s, Spur.)

2007: Txori opens in Belltown, uniting the Basque tapas that made Harvest Vine’s name with happy hour and cocktails. The ensuing small plate revival includes bars like Pintxo and Ocho.

2009: Tavern Law, Bathtub Gin, and Knee High Stocking Company open, ushering in the faux-speakeasy era. (It’s still going strong.) 

2010: Renee Erickson opens the Walrus and the Carpenter, a bar-meets-restaurant that food writers across the nation cannot stop raving about—including us.


Published: April 2013

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