Andrew Friedman is a local bar-and-cocktail legend – the kind of legend you want to talk to, not just enjoy from afar.
As if being owner of one the finest cocktail and neighborhood bars in Seattle, Liberty (opened since 2006), a recognized spirits expert (he recently was a judge in the American Distilling Institute Craft Spirits competition), and known worldwide for his cocktail shaking and stirring wasn’t enough, Andrew’s also a genuinely nice guy.
And now he’s opening a new bar, Good Citizen, at 1720 E Olive Way (which should be opening any day – check its Facebook page for the latest). We were lucky enough to ask him a few questions recently, to get the scoop on his new addition, how it’ll differ from Liberty, and more.
Seattle Magazine (SM): How would you describe Good Citizen?
Andrew Friedman (AF): Good Citizen is all about good neighbors – great people, great drinks, great times.
SM: The name to me harkens back to when bars were more centers of public discourse – I know you’re a guy who likes to have conversations, so is this what you were thinking when naming it? And if not, where’s that name (which is awesome) come from?
AF: The name Good Citizen just means what we all want it to mean, and to me it means good people getting together. Like Liberty, it’s a name that will have a different feeling for each person, and I’ve always enjoyed that.
SM: Liberty is renowned for its cocktails – is the Good Citizen cocktail program going to be as robust?
AF: No, the cocktail program at Good Citizen will all be prebatch. While we love having over 60 drinks on the Liberty menu – the Good Citizen menu will be limited to maybe 15 drinks, all changing with regularity. Bottled, on-tap & even slushi-fied, all meant to be served very quickly so that we can focus on the hospitality.
SM: Also, you’re definitely one of the region’s whiskey experts. Do you expect that Good Citizen will have that same spirit reach as Liberty?
AF: No, not even close. Liberty has more than 600 bottles of fine spirits, and exists for people who like to relax, but with the ability to have an experience that is unlike one that one can find anywhere else. At Good Citizen, we’ll be changing up the list all the time. You know, to keep things interesting.
SM: I think there’s more of a coffee focus here. Is that right? And if so, what’s the scoop on it?
AF: We’ve always enjoyed having Liberty open from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m., 365 days a year, but coffee was never our focus. At Good Citizen, we think that the coffee program will be a far more integral part of our day. The daytime will have lots of interesting coffee/drink concoctions, kind of how Liberty does that now, but in a way in that neighborhood that’s never before seen.
SM: This is one of the (I'd probably say the) most anticipated bar openings in Seattle this year. How excited are you for Good Citizen to be open?
AF: We’re pretty excited. We’ll first open for coffee service, then food & drinks. Just you wait, it’s going to be a really great addition to the neighborhood.