Opening Dispatch

Tiki Glam Cocktail Bar Navy Strength Arrives in Belltown

Anu and Chris Elford's new bar is tiki without the kitsch.

By Allecia Vermillion March 30, 2017

Navy strength puw1up

Nary a thatched roof in sight. Photo via Navy Strength's Facebook page.

The term “beer bar” doesn’t exactly capture the intellectual hospitality of Belltown newcomer No Anchor. So it's no surprise “tiki bar” is a woefully incomplete descriptor of Navy Strength, Anu and Chris Elford’s other project at Second and Wall. However you want to classify this gently nautical house of cocktails, crudos, and dips, it opens officially this evening.

Navy Strength shares DNA with Anu Elford’s cocktail bar, Rob Roy, and divides its drink list into tiki classics, generally tropical libations, and a “travel” list that will embrace a new set of international flavors every six months; India’s first up in homage to co-owner Anu (Apte) Elford’s heritage. Drink descriptions are simultaneously escapist and legitimately informative. Take the masala coffee grog entry: “You’ve arrived in India a bit groggy—enjoy a fiery blend of rums, coffee grog batter, and spices." The aesthetics, too, are more midcentury hip than thatchy kitsch.

 Jeffrey Vance, mastermind of No Anchor’s James Beard attention-getting menu also oversees food here. The edible artwork that passes for bar food next door isn't possible in a place as large as this, so he ran with the midcentury vibe with a lineup of dips like French onion or smoked clam with lardons (Using Mad Men as shorthand for this particular era vaulted the shark long ago, but Pete Campbell's chip and dip definitely came up during our conversation) and the space's lack of a hood inspired the raw menu, including a beef heart tartare Vance says was the star of this week's soft open. Whatever country's in biannual focus on the cocktail menu inspires the menu too; right now it's Indian-toned dishes like a curry rice bowl with pork belly or a fish sauce caesar with paneer.

The Elfords even built a juice and coffee counter in a nook next to to bar; once it's ready, you can hit up Navy Strength Coffee and Juice by day, and Navy Strength by night. Keep tabs on all things Navy Strength on its Facebook page; Eater Seattle has some nice photos, too.

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