A couple of blocks off First Avenue in Pioneer Square, across the street from the wonderfully hidden Waterfall Park, Good Bar (240 Second Ave. S; 206.624.2337; goodbarseattle.com) delivers well-crafted cocktails and a hopping happy hour for neighborhood working folks.
Because this bar was opened by Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison, the owners of the tasty Marination array (including Big Blue food truck, Marination Station and Marination Ma Kai), and head Marination chef Josh Kelly and his wife, Nancy, you might expect Good Bar to mirror the Hawaiian-Korean flavor those spots are famous for. But this place is completely
different, from food to vibe to drinks.
The lovely space, which is 114 years old and once held the Japanese Commercial Bank, has a marble-topped, U-shaped bar, sparkling hardwood floors, bright white ceiling, and tall, tall windows. The feel is one of a 1920s high-end cocktail hot spot, and while using a wide range of modern ingredients, the drinks aim to achieve the balance that era’s classics are known for. When I was there, I had the Arenberg Forest ($15), with a Rittenhouse rye base accented by Italian amaro Nonino, black walnut liqueur nocino and allspice dram. It’s a serious cocktail, but if you’re OK with a little herbal bitterness, it’s a treat. The cocktail menu, rotating every couple of months, if not more often, was designed by bar manager Adam Kachman (formerly bar manager at Portland’s Trifecta Tavern). You’ll also find happy hour specials (Monday–Friday, 4–6 p.m.) such as the Botanical Sour ($5, with bourbon, lemon, house-made botanical syrup and egg white), which was a floral, frothy, gem.
The bar’s size and the building’s age mean a smallish kitchen, but the food menu still reflects a tempting creativity, and the bar snacks are quite good. I had the Old Bay boiled peanuts ($3 during happy hour), a spicy shout-out to the South (though be warned: You’ll need the provided wet naps—these goobers are messy!); and the gin-marinated olives ($4), which had a swell juniper and citrus tang. There are larger dishes, too, including a snazzy Sloppy Joe ($12), with Painted Hills beef and roasted onion aioli. It’s the bee’s knees.