Belly Up to this Bellevue Bar for a Classic Cocktail
Cozied into a spot on the bottom floor of the Ten20 apartment building, Bar Code (Bellevue, 1020 108th Ave. NE, Suite 100; 425.455.4278; barcodebellevue.com) is just a few blocks from downtown Bellevue, Bellevue Square and Interstate 405. Its swell selection of top-notch drinks make it an ideal place to catch a happy-hour cocktail after work, take a refresher from a shopping session or have an aperitif before a show.
Although he’s only 28, Bar Code bar manager Evan Martin has shaken and stirred at some of the area’s finest spots, including Needle & Thread, Tavern Law and Naga Cocktail Lounge. The cocktail menu (which changes monthly) shows he’s learned his lessons well, starting with the nine signature cocktails covering classics (some with spins) as well as drinks he’s created just for the bar. The Bar Code Tonic, which mingles cinchona-bark-infused dry gin, kaffir lime, lemongrass, citrus and spices ($7) seems determined to push the staid G & T into a tasty future. Delicious lesser-known canonical drinks, such as the Greenpoint, are also very worthy. Its layered herbal combination—Rittenhouse rye, yellow Chartreuse, Cocchi Torino vermouth, angostura bitters and Scrappy’s orange bitters ($14)—will have you singing the bartender’s praises. You’ll also find cocktails featuring local distilleries, a nice beer and wine selection, and, following the path of some other new spots (a great path, I think), a list of inspired nonalcoholic drinks, such as the blackberry lavender shrub, with its refreshing berry-vinegar mélange ($5). And for summertime,
Martin is featuring a zero-proof pairing of passion fruit and raspberry, and a ménage of guava, vanilla and ginger.
The bar has dark brown and white tables, chairs and benches in the main room, and low, white couches in a swank side room, all of which give the place a somewhat chilly, loungy chicness, although that is, thankfully, offset by the friendly staff and the neighborhood vibe. There’s a small food menu that shades toward the Mediterranean, with bites, soups and salads, a few flatbread pizzas (the goat cheese and caramelized onion for $11 is a great sharing size for two looking to snack), and four entrées. But don’t fill up on food and forget to leave room for a second drink, because the cocktails are the reason to visit.