Bar owner Laura Olson and designer Chris Pardo (both of Po Dogs and Auto Battery) opened Grim’s (1512 11th Ave.; 206.324.7467; grimseattle.com) in December in the former Grey Gallery space on Capitol Hill. A self-proclaimed cross between steampunk and a horror video game, the tavern is actually quite convivial.
THE VIBE: Prepare for oxymoronic descriptions such as medieval luxury, industrial chic and mineshaft suave. Lighting is minimal but warm. Combined with rich wood floors and rust-kissed Cor-Ten steel walls, it creates a relaxed shelter for the young, casual clientele gathered at communal tables. Upstairs is the Butterfly Lounge, filled with more than 30 brilliant preserved specimens, along with a reflective ceiling and pillows for lounging.
THE FOOD: Hearty fare scores high with comfort food connoisseurs. Choose from three varieties of gooey grilled cheese ($6.95) to pair with a bowl of house-made tomato soup ($6) or keep it light with an order of artichoke- and goat-cheese-topped crostini ($7.95). If you’re lucky, the rotating dessert menu will include the raspberry cheesecake flan ($6.95).
THE DRINKS: Grim’s speakeasy-style “signature intoxicants” include the Dark & Stormy ($8), composed of Gosling’s black seal rum and ginger beer, and the French 75 ($8.50), a concoction of gin, champagne, lemon juice and rock candy syrup. Too fancy? This “beer hall” also purveys pints that arrive in Mason jars.
THE BATHROOMS: Two large equal-opportunity restrooms convey steam-era chic with dark colors and aged kegs.