In Belltown the bar culture is big, but Pintxo’s current digs are not. With some dining space and just a handful of seats at the bar, owners Amanda and Cory Chigbrow knew their bustling tapas bistro had outgrown its small haunt on Second Ave. But for the Chigbrows, who’ve spent decades living around Belltown including above their very first restaurant, relocating within the neighborhood was a given.
Come early May, just in time for Pintxo’s seventh anniversary, it will reopen in a larger restaurant space at 2219 Fourth Ave. The Spanish-style tapas menu will remain much the same while adding a charcuterie station with cured meats—a good excuse to hand-shave slices of jamón for ogling diners. And with a bigger kitchen comes baked goods in the form of cocas, or Spanish flatbread, and churros.
More room brings seating for 40 at the bar alone, plus a private dining section for events. Yeah, there’s plenty of latitude here, which is ideal for those expanding with every bacon-wrapped date and bite of housemade wild boar chorizo, but also the reason the Chigbrows will open another bar in the same building.
Commonwealth will also call 2219 Fourth Ave home, though the entrance will be through the back alley off Bell Street, and will call upon Amanda’s Kentucky roots. "We are huge fans of bourbon whiskeys," says the Kentuckian to no one's surprise. What this means: a lot of said bourbon, plus craft cocktails with a southern twist, and a humble menu of southern small plates. “We love the idea of taking small plates, of what we do at Pintxo, and doing southern-style food that way,” she adds.
The menu still has a ways to go, but Amanda hints at perhaps a take on her mother’s fried chicken, “It is the best fried chicken I have ever had; she makes it the best.” As moms do. But alas, she won’t give up the recipe. As moms do.
At Commonwealth things will aim to skew more refined but every bit as comforting. It’s slated to open sometime this fall.
Meanwhile in Pintxo’s soon-to-be-former space, the Chigbrows will open Bar Abajo. It roughly translates to “bar below,” a nod at their bar The Upstairs that’s located exactly where you think it is. Inspired by their travels in Barcelona and around Spain, Bar Abajo will assume Pintxo’s Spanish atmosphere and will a focus on gin cocktails, cheese and charcuterie plates, marinated olives and almonds, and tinned seafood. Dig into a salty, smoky fish cured in olive oil with a crisp gin and tonic or bright, red sangria or something from the rotating slushy cocktail menu.
After a coat of paint, a changing of the tables, and some artwork hanging, Bar Abajo will open this spring or summer.