Vessel: Class Without Pretension

The reopening of beloved bar Vessel downtown makes this writer so happy he could sing.
A.J. Rathbun  |   October 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Downtown Seattle's new Vessel

O happy day (sing it with me, Seattle cocktail lovers), O happy day, when Vessel came back.…It’s rare that the opening of a bar inspires spontaneous singing, but the reopened Vessel, now on the corner of Seventh and Olive, is causing the cocktail choir to come out.

Elegantly Welcoming
Like the original, which closed in December 2010, the new Vessel carries its class without pretension. With tall ceilings, a darker color palette and a much larger bar, the whole space is devoted to making the drinking experience better, although the food by chef Cameo McRoberts (last of Kathy Casey) is a delight, too.

A Different Set of Menus Daily
The space has been designed to perfection by owner Clark Niemeyer, and the bar is in the hands of cocktailing star Jim Romdall, who has taken an intriguing tack, hiring 30 bartenders—a small core staff and a rotating list of top bartenders from other bars. Each night, there is one drink menu created by the rotating bartender and one by the staff slinger.

Even more amazing is “The Lab,” behind the bar, which offers equipment and space for making and storing custom bitters, foams, tinctures, syrups and more, and—along with the vast array of spirits and liqueurs—allows the bartenders to really experiment. This is sure to become one of the top cocktail dens in town.

Downtown, 624 Olive Way; vesselseattle.com

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