Cozy, not cluttered
In the former Bella Umbrella space, Essex feels like a high-end London pub, with 12 stools at the L-shaped bar, a standing bar near the door and an array of white marble café-style tables.
Pettit brings his hands-on approach to cocktails here, offering everything from craftily aged spirits and wild foraged watercress bitters to two artichoke liqueurs. The highlight is the charred-radicchio liqueur, although the organic pixie tangerine liqueur is a close second. Try the Red Medicine ($10), a mix of rye, house-made Fernet, Rachel’s ginger beer and rhubarb syrup, or one of the cocktails on tap. Bar manager Gary Abts (last of Licorous) and Pettit have come up with a sweet cocktail menu, based on small-batch beauties, which changes regularly, as does the bar’s food menu, which focuses on quality over quantity, offering seasonal salads, hard pretzels with homemade mustard, smoked pork and more (but no pizza; you’ll have to go next door for that!). What doesn’t change is Pettit’s high standards for great craft drinks and a neighborhood atmosphere.
Ballard, 1421 NW 70th St.; 206.724.0471; essexbarseattle.com