Since opening in early July, Dead Line has started developing a reputation for tasty classically-minded cocktails amid Pioneer Square’s now-bustling bar and restaurant scene. I recently stopped by and here are my first impressions.
The list of 11 cocktails made by tie-and-vested bartenders utilizes a nice range of intriguing ingredients, including spirit-of-the-moment Plantation Stiggin’s Fancy pineapple rum, while keeping a shaker in the world of cocktail hits. Take the Columbian Nobility. With that pineapple rum, lime, demerara syrup, coconut, Campari and an absinthe rinse, it’s a tropical slice of island life descending from the Jungle Bird.
The Occidental Dissipation was another flavorful refresher. The spicily updated beer cocktail features tequila, lime, trendy (and delicious) Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, orgeat, Peychaud’s bitters, and Reuben's Brews’ Crikey IPA. Beyond the cocktails, you’ll find a list of 15 wines and a rotating beer selection, as well as a fairly large selection of spirits and liqueurs arranged behind the bar. The bartenders are happy to select choices to match your palate.
The food menu isn’t massive, but it is impressive that they craft every edible from the small-ish open kitchen. The “Boards” section of the menu ranges from Alaskan Halibut ceviche served with green mango, citrus tang, and patacon (fried plantain), to squash al pastor with grilled pineapple, peppers and avocado mouse. They’re both good examples of how Dead Line weaves a Latin inspiration throughout, while using local ingredients.
If you’re just coming in for a drink or two (not a bad idea after a Mariners, Sounders or Seahawks game) and want a nibble, the plantain chips are crispy and come with creamy tomatillo aioli and aji. An Andean sibling of pico de gallo with vinegar instead of lime, it was delicious, fresh and tangy. The Latin-spiced nuts also go well alongside a cold cocktail, but be sure to squeeze the accompanying lime wedge over them to bring out and accent the spices.
Like many Pioneer Square spots, Dead Line is long and lean, with beautiful brick walls. They’re adorned with tall velvet curtains and sparkly mirrors of all sizes, while two dim brass chandeliers provide the mood lighting.
In the main space, you’ll find aqua-colored booths with marble-topped tables, eight tall bar chairs and a handful of chairs at a “kitchen” bar. An upstairs mezzanine opens when the downstairs room gets busy (staff hinted it may in the future take on a bar-within-a-bar personality).
Dead Line aims for a 1920s vibe and I think it works, especially with the dandy music selection ranging from era classics like the Ink Spots Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall (a personal fave) to modern covers done swing- and big band-style. There’s also The Gold Room in back, which has thick carpets, wing-back couches and period seats, and a lower volume. Designed for private parties, it serves as an additional spot for people who aren’t looking for food, but prefer a mellower space to sip their drinks.