Coming Soon

Downtown's New Elysian Bar Sounds Pretty Damn Great

The hiring of Murray Stenson was the first clue that the brewery's latest project isn't a pub.

By Allecia Vermillion April 14, 2014

Look for him Monday through Thursday.

Elysian Brewing has spent the better part of the past year working on its next establishment. And, apparently, assembling an extraordinarily promising place to eat and drink, right under our noses.

It's called Elysian Bar, to distinguish it from the company's brewpubs in Capitol Hill and Tangletown and outside Safeco Field. And it should open within the next two weeks at 1516 Second Avenue, between Pike and Pine. 

First, Tan Vinh at the Seattle Times reported that Elysian has hired a gentleman by the name of Murray Stenson (perhaps you’ve heard of him?) to work some weeknight shifts. The much-loved barman landed here by way of Kacy Fitch, a founder and former partner at Zig Zag Cafe and the guy tasked with creating a serious cocktail program here. 

Soon after, Connor O’Brien sent word that he’s joining the Elysian team. He’s been working a few places around town since leaving Rumba earlier this year and his giddiness at working alongside these two is matched only by my relief that I know where I can reliably find him tending bar (Bonus: It’s only a few blocks from the office). Adam Fream, an alum of Bathtub Gin and the Sexton and Bait Shop will also be here, and other familiar names, I'm sure. Where Stenson and Fitch go, good bartenders follow.

So yes, the bar program sounds smashing. But Elysian founder and CEO Joe Bisacca says he approached the food, beer, and cocktails the same way he orders a negroni, with the components in “exact equal thirds.” 

The food, let’s be clear, isn’t pub fare. “God, not at all,” says Bisacca. “I hate the word pub.” Andrew Gribas, the former chef de cuisine at Volterra in Kirkland, will run the menu of steaks, chops, and pastas. No surprise, proximity to Pike Place Market will be reflected on the often-changing menu. Bisacca promises a crudo list, too. 

No actual brewing happens here (and no beer to go), but the bar will have 18 taps and two casks, mostly pouring the Elysian's own creations, plus a few guest beers when warranted. 

Bisacca says the space that formerly housed the throbby club Noc Noc now boasts 20-foot exposed brick walls, and a stately curving staircase leading up to the mezzanine. "Basically I'm tired of great beer bars being dives, while my brewers take so much care creating the stuff."

Elysian Bar will be open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Bisacca hopes doors will open, quietly, within the next fortnight.


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