3 First Impressions of Bar Noroeste Taqueria

The bar brims with Mexican-inspired cocktails, tacos with all the fixings and corn husks lit on fire

By Seattle Mag April 14, 2016


One of the latest outposts from the Huxley Wallace Collective, Bar Noroeste sits in Amazon’s downtown Doppler building next to burger haven sibling Great State and across the street from Amazon’s amazing in-progress biospheres. Here are three impressions of the bar.

The Drinks: The house cocktail list isn’t extensive, just six (plus one non-alcoholic drink) but is a well put together selection of slight spins or well-made versions of Mexican-inspired classics. The Michelada, with local Seapine Peach Gose (Gose being a wheat beer for those not in the know) and a spicy whey is a tart, salty refresher. But the real hit is its version of the Corn and Oil, which the bar calls a Masa y Aceite. It mixes four types of rum with a lush house falernum, the lime and spice liqueur. That combo is good already, but it goes to another level thanks to its corn husk garnish, which is lit on fire at the table, extinguished, flipped over, used as a stir stick, and then the other side is lit on fire and extinguished. The end result is a lovely charred aroma, with a slight smoke-and-char flavor mingling with the taste. There is also a selection of beer and wine – but go for the fire.

The Food: Much like the cocktail menu, the food selection isn’t extensive – but it’s also well curated and made with care. You can get tacos (choice of two proteins, or a veggie option, which when I was there was a delicious mole oyster mushroom), tacos plus appetizers plus flan, or the same with a candy-filled chocolate piñata instead of the flan – the piñata is a feat, but the flan was probably the best I’ve had. Don’t be fooled by the slim choices, the tacos are make your own and come with a host of fixings: four salsas, fresh cheese, crispy onions, charred greens, and more. They’re designed for sharing (you can order single if you go in solo), and having the table filled with loads of little dishes and tortillas is an awfully good time. A tip: ask to get the house habanero sauce. It’s just spicy enough.

The Space and Staff: Noroeste isn’t large, and is definitely a bar (no one under 21 is admitted). There are about five smaller booths, a couple slightly larger, and 15 stools at the bar. It has a swell rustic-meets-downtown feel, with concrete floors, cool blocks of railroad tie-like wood supporting the bar, an open kitchen (smell the corn cooking), low lighting, and music that brings the beats. It’s ideal for an after-work drink or dinner, but also worth visiting on the weekend. The staff is decked out in all black, but don’t have black moods – they were some of the nicest bar folks bar I’ve had bring me drinks in awhile, from the friendly and accommodating server (who lit the corn husk garnish with a propane torch), to the manager who traveled the room with a special long-spouted Cava decanter, happily pouring sparkling Spanish wine straight from the spout into patron’s mouths. Now that’s fun!


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