Romdall mans the block and tackle ice setup in Vessel's back room.

I awoke this morning to a text message that jolted me out of sleep mode, even at 6am. It seems that last night was the final one for Vessel. One of the originators of Seattle's current cocktail riches, Vessel vacated its original Fifth Avenue location in 2010, with plans to move to new digs at Seventh and Olive. That move, plus finishing the new space's highly customized buildout, took 20 months. Vessel 2.0 opened in August 2012.

This morning co-owner Jim Romdall confirmed that Friday was the end, but declined to go into details. And I don't blame him one bit. Over at the Seattle Times, Tan Vinh unearthed some bankruptcy-related court records.

I've heard some say the new space is stark and cold. I've heard the lunch crowds didn't flock as expected. But Vessel has always been a place to see some really talented bartenders in action, from Jay Kuehner's mezcal miracles to Kevin Langmack's root-Byrrh float. Romdall's idea of having each bartender do a personalized cocktail list, available only during his or her shift, made coming in for a drink feel like a window into someone's spirits psyche.

Vessel, you will be missed.



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