JarrBar, a slip of a space beneath Pike Place Market on Western Ave, opens for reals on Tuesday. Owner Bryan Jarr, a guy who's been quietly involved with Seattle's food scene for years, took a long-overlooked storage closet and turned it into a charming bar, which manages to retain the out-of-the-way character of its former life.
Blue and white mirrors overlook tables imprinted with gaily swimming boquerones and giant purple octopuses; row after row of shelves hang above the butcher block bar, bearing bottles, glasses, food tins, Jarr's personal record collection, and years of his family’s World Book almanacs.
Moody lighting translates the space's many quirks into charm, like the maze of pipes climbing the concrete walls and the very prominent electrical panel that controls the juice for both the bar and its neighbors. JarrBar might be small, out of the way, and purposefully low key, but the simple menu shows evidence of a guy who knows what he's doing.
Jarr co-owned the now-shuttered Madison Park Conservatory with chef Cormac Mahoney, whose charisma made him the most recognizable face in the dining room. He also co-authored the cookbook In the Kitchen With the Pike Place Fish Guys, a volume that obviously put the focus on Jarr’s salmon-slinging cohorts. Now that he's got a place all his own, he's paying tribute to Spain's bar culture, and its attendant menu of snacks and preserved seafood.
There's a lineup of Spanish-influenced jars (har, get it?) and tins, filled with snacks like stuffed olives, or preserved mussels or octopus. Full-on plates include salt-cured anchovies served on bread with radishes and butter, little bites designed with the help of Jarr's friend (former Madison Park Conservatory chef and soon-to-be-former Westward chef) Zoi Antonitsas. And let's not forget the giant leg of jamon Iberico that holds court at the end of the bar.
The cocktail list includes some classics, plus a take on Spain's gin and tonic, made here with juniper berries, lime, and St. Germaine. Drafts of IPA or Estrella Damm are $6, and there's a trio of ciders plus Spanish wine aplenty.
JarrBar will be open from 4pm to 2am, with a daily happy hour from 4 to 6, and a late-night happy hour that kicks in at 11. And hey, look—there's a newly minted Facebook page.