The Beverage Lobby

The Fairmont Olympic's Remodel Gives Downtown Seattle a New Cocktail Bar

It's like drinking beneath the working innards of a pocket watch.

By Allecia Vermillion September 6, 2021 Published in the Fall 2021 issue of Seattle Met

Jesse Cyr pours carefully crafted drinks in the Fairmont’s new bar. 

Image: Amber Fouts

Never again will I snark about hyper-earnest barkeeps in button-up vests. Because after a year of fixing my own drinks, the nattily attired tender at the Fairmont Olympic’s new bar presides with the calm competence of a mescal-pouring Mary Poppins.

The historic hotel built this watering hole as part of a large-scale remodel. Glowing lights reflect infinitely off mirrored walls as you ascend the escalator from entrance to lobby. Here, the renovation inserted a bit of midcentury Manhattan swagger into the lobby’s preexisting aesthetic of lumber baron flex. It’s everything a good hotel bar should be—dark, curvy, adept with drinks. Beverage director Jesse Cyr oversees a menu of original concoctions that narrowly avoids being fussy, and an art installation moves slowly overhead, giving the impression that you’re drinking beneath the working innards of a pocket watch.

Another upside of hotel drinking: steak frites, oysters, and elegant snacks, served from late morning into the night. The bar’s only the first step in a remodel that includes the Georgian restaurant and another small bar, hidden around the corner. But already it’s given Seattle an all-too-rare destination for good drinks downtown. 

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