Expansion Mode

L'Oursin's Owners Will Open Bar Bayonne Next Door in the Central District

Cured meat and oysters. Small plates. Lots of wine. Kalimotxos on draft.

By Allecia Vermillion March 27, 2023

L'Oursin's bar offers proof: Its owners already know how to fashion a drinking space with appeal.

One of Seattle’s reliably great bistros is joining the ranks of restaurants that open a bar next door.

Zac Overman and J.J. Proville are the guys behind L’Oursin in the Central District. By this summer, they’ll also be the guys behind a new spot called Bar Bayonne. The business partners are taking over the space adjacent to their restaurant at 1315 E Jefferson St., formerly the Capercaille pub and before that, an official taproom for Machine House Brewery.

Bar Bayonne will be an all day spot, offering coffee and takeaway baguette sandwiches by day and a wine bar–esque menu at night. Like L’Oursin, it will take plenty of cues from France, but it will also borrow from northern Spain. (Bayonne is both an ancient French city near the Spanish border and a regional style of ham.)

Overman says the bar menu will involve charcuterie, oysters, conservas, and small plates—a more casual version of what’s next door. Organic, biodynamic wine, by glass or bottle, will hew French, Spanish, and a little bit Northwest. Plans also call for sherry, Basque cider, and a tap that dispenses kalimotxos, a Basque drink of equal parts red wine and Coke. Be still my heart (then rev it up with some red wine and cola).

Customers will order at the bar, which Overman says will have "a casual, rustic, sort of small-town French bar vibe.” The cocktail list will be simple, though if the one at L’Oursin is any indicator, that doesn’t mean boring.

In the earliest days of the pandemic, L’Oursin made a fairly successful shift into a market. Bar Bayonne will revive this aspect of the business, stocking some of the greatest hits from the grab-and-go era—pate, duck confit,  plus rotisserie chickens. The wine shop currently wedged into L’Oursin’s dining room will relocate here, too.

Restaurant-adjacent bars often serve as a liquor-dispensing antechamber for people waiting for a table next door. But the best ones become destinations in their own right (see: Essex and Delancey, Hannyatou and Kamonegi, Bar Sur Mer and FlintCreek Cattle Co.). Bar Bayonne should open early this summer. The space is already way more colorful than before, says Overman. “Lots of red, different shades of green. There’s gonna be some neon.”

Filed under
Show Comments