Critic's Notebook

Seattle Restaurants Go Nautical

Haven’t seen a naming trend like this in these parts since…maybe ever?

By Kathryn Robinson November 10, 2016

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Did Westward's crazy backbar start this whole trend?

Image: Westward

Did it start with Josh Henderson’s Westward, the lakeside restaurant whose name wasn’t particularly nautical but whose decor—based on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou—intensely (humorously) was? Or did it begin earlier, when Renee Erickson followed up her Boat Street Cafe with the Walrus and the Carpenter, then the Whale Wins, then Barnacle, and now Bateau and Bar Melusine (the French word for water fairy)?  

Perhaps those two madly successful restaurateurs simply launched a template that others hoped would herald similar success for them. Just look at the spate of nautically named businesses to open recently: Ethan Stowell’s Marine Hardware. Maree Bistro in West Seattle. The new Fremont cocktail bar, the Helm. The new lobster roll emporium, Bar Harbor. Sea Wolf Bakers, newly relocated to Stone Way.

Do Mollusk, 100-Lb. Clam, and White Swan Public House count as nautical? Not so much? Because the new Rob Roy sib beer bar No Anchor, the cold brew cafe Anchorhead Coffee, and Vendemmia’s adjoining seafood market, East Anchor Seafood certainly do.

What up?

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