Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Matthew Amster-Burton writes about Tavern Law for Gourmet saying, "At Tavern Law, the new Capitol Hill bar from the creators of Spur gastropub in Belltown, you’ll want to go upstairs, and not just because of the rigmarole involving a locked door, an antique telephone, and a dark staircase. No, you’ll want to go upstairs because the speakeasy-style mezzanine is where bartender Miles Thomas is waiting to design a special drink to please you. Into ginger? Thomas might pull out a cloudy vial of house-made gingercello and combine it with rum, simple syrup, and orange juice for a spicy, invigorating, one-of-a-kind cocktail. Then again, downstairs you have full access to Tavern Law’s encyclopedic drink menu, equipped with a glossary in case you don’t know your fizzes from your flips. The food—poached salmon, fried oysters, sautéed pimientos de Padrón—is expertly cooked and appropriately modest, as if devised to keep your mind on beverages.
Tavern Law 1406 12th Avenue, Seattle (206-322-9734;".

a recent menu

Pan seared butterfish. $15
fregola sardi, kale, herb couslis

Cod fritters. $9
sauce remoulade, lemon, Chervil

Foie gras terrine. $15
angostura bitters gelee, warm toast

Pork belly. $14
cranberry beans, autumn plums, mustard

Braised shortribs. $15
spaetzle, fondue, red onion jam

Lolla Rossa lettuce. $7
fennel, picholines, parmesan

Baby beets. $9
chicory, Alioli, pecorino Romano

Truffle risotto. $14
celery, Parmesan, olive oil

Thursday, September 24, 2009

the Seattle Times takes a look at Speakeasy-inspired hideaways

Today Tan Vinh gives lovers of classic cocktails a glimpse into the backrooms and upstairs of a few of our area's Prohibition-era-inspired spots. He was kind enough to include Tavern Law writing,"In Seattle, where some folks seem to embrace all things classic cocktail, now comes the hideaway bars that replicate the hush-hush aura of the Prohibition-era speak-easies... The hotly anticipated Tavern Law — mentioned in The New York Times and on cocktail-geek blogs — debuted in late August on Capitol Hill, opened by the owners of the nationally acclaimed Spur Gastropub in Belltown. At Tavern Law, a vault door leads to a den adorned with Prohibition-era motifs: a flask believed to be owned by Houdini, vintage glassware and custom furniture recalling designs from the 1930s. Above, antique chandeliers. Below, a floor constructed from reclaimed barn wood in Montana. "We wanted to celebrate the classic cocktail and the art of bartending," said Brian McCracken, who co-owns Tavern Law with chef Dana Tough. Instead of a cocktail menu, the speak-easy bartenders craft drinks based on the customers' flavor profiles (a cocktail with smokey notes, for instance).

...Customers also like to dress the part. Dec. 5 is considered Seattle's biggest cocktail party, when cocktail geeks every year don Bonnie and Clyde get-ups to celebrate the end of Prohibition in 1933... Those costume parties are more frequent with the faux speak-easies. Recently, Tavern Law was rented out for a private party at which folks dressed in gangster suits and flapper dresses arrived in a stretched Rolls-Royce."

To read the entire article and more about Maxwell's, Bathtub Gin & Co., and Knee High Stocking Co., click on blog title above. Thanks Tan!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Angele Garbes of the Seattle Weekly Sips w/ David Nelson

...she writes, "David Nelson, bar man at Spur and newly opened Tavern Law, is a man who takes his cocktails very seriously. The bar of Spur is lined with myriad squat, cork-topped glass bottles containing tinctures and bitters that Nelson is crafting and tweaking, and at Tavern Law the emphasis on traditional techniques continues with house-made syrups and freshly squeezed juices. While Nelson's cocktails at Spur are classics reworked with decidedly modern elements (smoky martini with liquid olive, anyone?), Tavern Law is focused squarely on his scholarship of the classic cocktail. Here, Nelson shares his recipe for a Crimean à la Marmora Cup, an 1862 cocktail that he describes as "complex and refreshing." The cocktail contains a homemade almond syrup called orgeat, the recipe for which Nelson also shares."

Click link above to view the recipe. Thanks Angela!

photo by Kristin Zwiers

Friday, September 18, 2009

a story on Tavern Law: KOMO's Julien Perry reports

One of the oldest temptations is now one of Seattle's newest obsessions - the speakeasy. And the one getting all the buzz is Capitol Hill's Tavern Law. "(In the 1930s) it legalized the sale of liquor in public establishments without the sale of a room. It was really a pivotal law in developing what we know as bars and saloons and taverns today," says Brian McCracken.McCracken, along with Dana Tough -- the same guys behind Spur gastropub -- opened Tavern Law in late August. It's a fun, approachable space where you can enjoy some really good food and interesting pre-prohibition cocktails. "In the main bar, we've got a very early 20th century-inspired masculine feeling space with a lot of rich, dark woods and dark leather seats and booths, and a really nice curving mahogany bar," says Brian.

The two were inspired to open Tavern Law after a trip to some of New York City's finest speakeasies last December. "I feel like a few of the different speakeasy-style places were destination spots that after one visit, you kind of got your fill, you know?" says Brian. "I want Tavern Law to feel like some place that you've had a really great experience that you want to recreate and you want to come back and you want to try it over and over again."

Tavern Law is all about classic cocktails, whereas Spur's have a more modern twist. And while the food at Spur leans towards the higher-end, Tavern Law offers up a more humble menu which Dana describes as good products prepared simply. "We have a chicken leg and thigh which is served with some new potatoes, English peas dressed with creme fraiche and grenache vinegar reduction with a little sea salt on top of the chicken; very simple," he says. "One of our more popular dishes is our foie gras terrine which is topped with angostura bitters Chile and served with some warm toast, which basically is a little bit thicker sliced crostini."

There is a hidden speakeasy element to Tavern Law. It's a charming little secret called Needle & Thread. Just look for the telephone. And don't tell them I told you.For more information:

Places Brian likes to Go Eat!: Shiro's

Places Dana likes to Go Eat!: Harvest Vine, La Carta de Oaxaca

Photo by David Kronstad/Trace

Click on blog title above to listen to or read Julien's story.