Three Impressions of The Nest

The rooftop bar atop the Thompson Hotel offers views, drinks in flamingos and more fun

By Seattle Mag


July 28, 2016

The Nest, from Seattle restaurateur Josh Henderson, opened earlier this summer atop the new Thompson Hotel and is perhaps the Seattle bar highest off of the ground (or at least in the running). I stopped by recently to check it out and below are three impressions of the visit.

The Drinks: The bar program put together by beverage director John Nugent is designed to deliver high-quality craft cocktails at a very high volume (it’s a popular spot), and will rotate seasonally. To reach that goal, they’re pre-mixing when they can – adding fresh ingredients when making the drinks – and employing a good-sized staff of top shakers, like the incredibly named and friendly Silas Manlove. The end result is an assortment of tasty drinks that don’t sacrifice flavor even at slammed moments. A favorite from my visit was the Juniper Titmouse (all the opening drinks have ornithological names), with Beefeater gin, Szechuan pepper-infused Dolin Blanc vermouth, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao, and pomegranate molasses.

The Juniper Titmouse drink at Nest

It’s brightly flavored with hints of spice, but still light on its feet, ideal for summer. If you’re coming in with a group, try one of the Flamingos (when there it was Absolute Elyx, Don Q Gran Anejo rum, Courvoisier 12-year Cognac, lime, pineapple, Rooibox, honey, and Perrier Jouet bubbly, with more versions on the way), which is a snazzy number scaled up for a crowd and delivered in an actual copper flamingo. Fun stuff. 

Related: Inside Josh Henderson’s Atmospheric Dining Experiences

The Space: As mentioned, The Nest is on the top floor of the hotel, and the views over Elliott Bay are just amazing. When first walking in, it’s a little hard to realize just how large the space is, as there’s the bar area, which isn’t huge (though it has an all-window side, so the views are still swell), then a large patio outside (with room for 250). The crowd is a combo of locals looking for great drinks and sweet views and hotel guests. There’s an array of seating options, from outdoor couches and bar tables, to more mid-century lounge chairs inside, as well as wire stools along the long metal bar. My suggestion is, even though it’s lovely outside, sit at the bar where you can watch the bar staff at their craft (watching big blocks of ice being cut off big rectangular ice spears is just one part of the entertaining action). Because of the volume, make a reservation before you stop by. You have to put down a deposit, but it comes off your final bill.

The Food: If you’re looking for a full meal, put a second reservation in at Scout, the hotel restaurant also from Henderson, as there’s only a snack menu at The Nest. But it’s a well-curated snack menu, which really matched up nicely with the drinks. There are marinated olives, pickled market vegetables (it’s only blocks from the market, after all), and more cocktail snacks. The cheese plate is extra nice – when there, it had a Humbolt Fog blue, some rich aged cheddar, an apricot chutney, and cherries. The cheese went really well with the Eagle, a coffee-infused bourbon-based drink that has Punt e’ Mes vermouth, Italian-aperitif Aperol, and zingy Ancho Reyes ancho liqueur, with the smooth, flavorful cheese and fruit balancing the coffee-y, slightly spicy and herbal-y drink.