Ever since word got out that David Clawson is opening the city’s first self-serve wine and beer bar, Seattle's beverage enthusiasts have been watching a new kind of drinking establishment take shape on Capitol Hill. Rapport opened its doors in early August, in the former home of Roy Street Coffee at 700 Broadway E. When Rapport unleashes its full program, low-touch (and regularly sanitized) drink dispensers will let customers serve themselves picks that range from Washington IPAs to a Riesling sourced from Oregon.
Right now all orders must be to-go, but are nearly limitless in options: 100 regional wines and beers on tap, espresso from QED Coffee Roasters, and a takeout menu guided by Mike Law. The chef, known for crispy, gravy-drenched fried chicken back at the Wandering Goose, devised a food menu as varied as the wine selection (think: flatbreads heaped with charred Lacinato kale and gruyere to plates of burrata and duck confit).
Clawson has also dreamt up bottled cocktails: shaken and poured into 6-ounce champagne bottles, Rapport's cocktails range from a PNW twist on old classics to creations bearing the likes of black-tea infused vodka or gin mixed with sage-steeped honey.
The self-serve setup might imply a faceless and, consequently, rather bland bar visit. Yet Clawson argues that it's surprisingly people centric. "You know, with wines, people can be intimidated," he says. Since trying a pinot doesn't involve a commitment to popping the cork, Rapport encourages visitors to sample varieties they might not otherwise, all while chatting to the "tap-tender" about what variety to try next. "Take Covid away, even what we were trying to do with the self-dispensing taps, it gives people more freedom," Clawson says.
Rapport's outdoor patio commands the north end of Broadway—a highly tempting place to linger outside in the final summer weeks. Inside is an open space dotted with community tables and the infamous drink taps. The beer taps are open and ready for regular use, with the nearly installed wine dispensers soon to follow. "We don't want any of this to be too contrived," Clawson explains, suggesting that Rapport will be a feel-good option for even the most skeptical of visitors.