Friday, December 17, 2010

A secluded spot for New Year's Eve: sneak into Tavern Law's hidden Needle & Thread

A few select spots will go on sale this evening for one of the City's most sought-after New Year's Eve celebrations. Join the award-winning bartenders of Tavern Law's "Needle and Thread" (cited in the Top 25 Bars in America list by GQ Magazine) for a proper send-off to 2010 in our lush upstairs enclave. Chefs Dana Tough and Brian McCracken have crafted an evening with special touches like complimentary caviar appetizers and more.

The $100 package will reserve you a spot from 7-10PM or from 10PM-1AM. Each two tickets purchased will receive a bottle of champagne (or a split for one). Special prize drawings, favors and a champagne toast at midnight await those who secure a spot in advance through a private red carpet entrance. Festive attire is encouraged.

Please call 206/325.0133 and leave a detailed message with your preferred reservation time with us that evening. All inquiries will be replied to in a timely fashion.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tavern Law cocktail by Nathan Weber Spotlighted on

Bartender Weber's 30th Century Man cocktail was recently selected by the creative forces at Nordstrom to anchor the virtual bar in their Country Cocktail Party fashion and lifestyle spread.

Head on over to for their party ideas (from fashion to menu) and for Nathan's cocktail recipe. Click on blog title above.

Thank you Nordstrom!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Seattle PI Reports on the History of Seattle's Speakeasies

Prohibition emptied the front rooms of bars like Seattle's own New Pal Bar shown here. The PI reports, "On January 1, 1916, Prohibition began in Washington State, making the production, distribution and possession liquor illegal. The law passed three years before the Eighteenth Amendment prohibited liquor in the rest of the nation, and it lasted seventeen long, dry years, until December of 1933. But Prohibition didn't mean the end of party - it just meant the party went underground. Washington State, in particular, became a hot bed for thinly-veiled speakeasies due to corruption within law enforcement and proximity to Canada (where liquor remained legal). By 1931 a survey reported that Washington State, alone, was home to approximately 4,000 speakeasies."

To read the entire article with a historical look from the Museum of History and Industry, click blog title above.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

GQ Magazine's Top 25 Bars in the USA Party at Tavern Law

The talent behind some of the country's best bars is getting together on October 10 to celebrate GQ Magazine's Best Bars feature in the October issue. #1's Murray Stenson and Ben Perri of Zig Zag will be guest bartending along with #25's Nathan Weber and crew of Tavern Law.

The evening starts 10/10/10 at 7pm at Tavern Law and will showcase 25 cocktails from the nation's winning bars along with a prize drawing and cocktails from sponsor Cruzan Rum. A photographer will be on hand to shoot guests. Attire's GQ Fashion Forward-- interpret how you like.

Photo by Chad Pryor.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Bourbon Time: September at Tavern Law

Tuesday, September 14th
5-8 pm
Tavern Law hosts a Maker's Mark Happy Hour featuring Maker's Mark and Maker's 46 cocktails. Maker's Mark Diplomat Cody Rossen will mingle with guests: teaching and tasting all things Maker's Mark and sharing a few mementos to bring home too.

Tuesday, September 21st
6-8 pm
$45 per person, excluding tax and gratuity
Call 206/322-9734
Advance reservations are required for this exclusive, 20-seat seminar in Tavern Law's secluded upstairs area with Master of Whiskey Ari Shapiro leading an educational evening on bourbon. Bulleit Bourbon will be showcased in four cocktails paired with four tantalizing bites by Chefs Dana Tough and Brian McCracken.

Thursday, September 30th
7 pm-close
To celebrate the culmination of National Bourbon Heritage Month Tavern Law will throw a Bourbon celebration with drink specials all evening.

photo of Tavern Law by Bob Peterson.
Celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month this September.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Behind the Black Door: Sheehan writes on Tavern Law

"Here, drinks are the sole focus, and the bartender is there to make sure that every single person under his care gets just precisely what they want (or need) to make it through the night. There isn't even a cocktail menu for the upstairs bar, just a raised eyebrow, a questioning glance and a, "So what do you like..." from the man on the other side of the long oak."

Hear more about what Sheehan thinks by clicking on blog title above to read his entire article in the Seattle Weekly.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tavern Law First Anniversary Party

This Sunday night Tavern Law, named Seattle's "Best Old School Cocktails" (Seattle Weekly) and "Best New Bar" (Seattle mag's Reader's Choice awards), will be turning one and we'd love for you to join the celebration. Along with drink specials (don't miss the classic Hendricks Martini or sip a Floradora, named after Broadway's first musical hit in the early 1900s) we'll have specials on food as well. Not to miss items include the fried peppers, burger and salmon.

We open at 5pm, the party gets going at 7pm, and all who buy a drink will be entered to win great gifts. (The four drawings will be on the hour starting at 7:3o pm. Must be present to win.) A photographer will be roaming the room and our fine bartenders are poised to serve. Will we see you there?

I.d. kindly required.

photo by Bob Peterson. Special thanks to Hendricks Gin.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Seattle Weekly Awards Tavern Law with Their "Best Old School Cocktails" 2010 Award

We so appreciate the nod given to our "canonical cocktail menu" with this award today by the Seattle Weekly.

The story reads, "The shrub. The cobbler. The fizz, the flip, and the sling. They may sound like dance moves or a list of deviant sex acts, but they're really ways your great-grandmother got hammered way back in the day. And now you can take after her at Tavern Law—where not only can you drink like they did in the old days, but get an education as well, since just about every drink on its canonical cocktail menu comes with a brief description of where it came from, who invented it, and why. The bar makes a point of searching out old, dead, lost, and forgotten mixed drinks and bringing them back to life in as close to their original incarnations as possible, sourcing all manner of super-artisan or ridiculously small-batch liquors and mixers and making everything else from scratch. The resulting drinks are not only some of the best you've ever tasted, but inarguable proof that dedicated, bookish bartenders can be just as creative and artistic as the greatest chefs out there. And also that your great-grandma really knew how to party. —Jason Sheehan 1406 12th Ave., 322-9734"

Take a tour of the other winners by clicking on the blog title above. And our sincere thanks to the Seattle Weekly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Julien Perry Snaps a Shot of Our Sockeye + Corn Pudding

Perry calls it one of the best salmon dishes she's had in years. Why, thank you!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

History You Can Drink: A.J. Tigner Sips Nathan's Birchwood Cocktail and Reports

The Seattle Weekly.

Tigner says that our cocktail menu "was built for the bookish drinker" and describes us a "a tribute to classic cocktails, not a museum. As such, the menu also integrates original recipes from the staff. The Birchwood (Rye, Cognac, Cynar, Punt e Mes, Licor 43 and a cucumber garnish) was invented by Nathan Weber, a current bar manager at Tavern Law. "He's working upstairs right now," said our bartender, who nodded to the bank vault door to the side, referring to the bar-within-a-bar that's the center of most Tavern Law-related conversations between people who've yet to go there.
The Birchwood's flavors are staggered so well the only thing that came to mind at first was the three-course-meal gum from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory--first the cognac, then the cucumber, rye, vermouth, and the citrus-based Licor 43 for dessert! Finally, the Cynar serves a bitter artichoke-based kick in the ass to bring your taste buds full circle.It reminded me of the prototype booze I was served at Sun Liquor, a fact that was unsurprising, as it shared a majority of ingredients. But this version was more matured, more balanced and more, well, complete. In addition to the comfortable base of cognac, vermouth and whiskey, the Cynar and Licor 43 duel for attention, both dominating the beverage in their own ways. It's like a delicious turf war in your mouth!

It was a tremendous cocktail. Knowing the creator was right upstairs definitely built on my urge to check out the bar within a bar, but honestly the kid in me was sold the instant I heard I got to go through a locked vault door."

Care to read the entire story? Click on blog title above to do so.

Thank you A.J.

The Seattle Weekly on Chefs Tough and McCracken: A Review of the Food at Tavern Law

Below is an article, in part, that takes a close look at the Chefs and our Chalkboard Menu at Tavern Law. We'll ruin the punch line. The article ends with, "Which is why Tavern Law has now rocketed onto my list of favorite restaurants. It isn't merely that I would happily come back just for the food, forgoing the cocktail list and drinking nothing but water. No, if allowed I would move permanently into the crawl space below the bar and live like a troll, drinking nothing but whatever dripped from the bar gun and eating sautéed rocks two meals a day—provided that the third would come off the chalkboard menu, cooked for me whenever I got hungry."

Do take a moment to read the entire story by clicking the blog title above. It just might make you hungry.

The reviewer writes, "I want to be careful not to overstate this, but those potatoes were the single best potato-based appetizer I have ever had in my life, anywhere. Better than any order of fries. Better than all the house-made potato chips everywhere. They were what every potato wants to be when it grows up.

And it was so simple: just perfectly chosen fingerling potatoes, high in sugar, low in starch, split in half, smoked (I can only assume) by magical elves with secret powers, then crusted with spice rub and fried 'til golden in every way that word can be taken. They tasted like they'd been fried in bacon grease, and had the texture of perfectly constructed chocolate truffles—a little crunch from the shell of spice, then a warm, soft center, with a bit of texture from the skins that had been left on. They were, in a word, unbelievable.

Which of course meant I had to go back for more.

The next night, the bartender was handing out tastes of a dessert experiment from the kitchen: peaches soaked in vodka and set atop mascarpone like peaches and cream. There were a few more people at the bar, scattered around the secondary bar and the tertiary bar and the clubby interior of Tavern Law's back room. The chalkboard menu was the same, similarly simple—odd in its easy, American influences and roots, because "easy" and "simple" are not words one generally would use to describe the work done by Tough and McCracken at Spur.

There was pan-fried trout, a burger with onion jam and pork belly, a green salad, some lamb. On other nights, there's roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, turnips, and smoked almonds; potatoes done with wild mushrooms; nearly classical confit legs of duck. I went for that most American of summertime indulgences: fried chicken with warm potato salad, because I figured that fried chicken is so easy even for a really good galley to screw up that this second-thought kitchen at Tough and McCracken's cocktail lounge stood a really good chance of blowing it completely.

But it didn't. The kitchen didn't just do a solid plate of fried chicken, but an amazing one: partially boned-out breast, rib, and leg sections done with the skin on, in a crisp cornflake crust, fried perfectly with an expert's sense of doneness so that the meat was wet with fat and the crust had formed a shell both crisp and yielding. All this was mounted over a potato salad that was barely the suggestion of a potato salad: the same fingerlings used in the smoked potatoes, boiled this time, shocked before losing their stiffness, and dressed in nothing but a smear of coarse-grain French mustard. The entire thing was excellent beyond all my expectations, delicious in a way that was totally out of line with how good it needed to be to act only in support of a very good bar."

Thank you Jason Sheehan!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seattle Times writes: Arresting pub grub & cocktails at Tavern Law

Tan Vinh took a look at our Happy Hour and wrote in today's Seattle Times, "Tavern Law in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood has gussied up pub grub (oxtail banh mi sandwiches, cheeseburgers topped with pork belly) and fine cocktails, $7 at happy hour.

No furniture has been moved around or replaced at Tavern Law. Yet, things feel a bit different, a bit more approachable. The speak-easy style bar feels less self-conscious now.

It's partly the food. Less dinner fare and more pub grub, albeit gussied up: an oxtail banh mi sandwich one week, a cheeseburger topped with pork belly another week.

It's also the cocktails. All specialty drinks cost $9 now, none more. There's happy hour now too, with $7 cocktails — a rum drink with aggressive notes of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg called Kingston Cocktail; a sparkling take on the mojito called Old Cuban; and an English Fizz that tasted like a spiked Earl Grey iced tea with a squeeze of lemon.

That fizz sounds about perfect when Tavern Law starts outdoor seating in mid-July. And that succulent burger, coated in provolone and topped with two slabs of sous vide pork belly, the soft bun spongy enough to absorb the fat that would have dripped on your shirt otherwise. Juicy and rich. And evil. Just pure evil.

Tavern Law, 1406 12th Ave., Seattle, runs happy hour 5-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and all day Sundays with selected cocktails for $7 and well drinks $4. All food 10 percent off (206-322-9734 or"

Photo of David Nelson pouring an Old Cuban cocktail at Tavern Law. A Gun Club sits in the foreground. Photographer = Joey Anchondo, Seattle Times

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Clancy Reminisces on Her Favorite Bartenders in the U.S.

San Diego's Maureen Clany wrote a nice article musing about Frank Bruni's recent New York Times story on The Bartender of Your Dreams. She wrote in part, "After reading Bruni’s article, I'm excited to re-visit what some call “the Vatican of saloons." I plan to put a Doug Quinn performance at the top of my agenda the next time I’m in New York. In the meantime, I’m sloshing together a Tanqueray & Tonic on this sunny Memorial Day and giving thanks for the fabulous bartenders and bar scenes I’ve gotten to know over the years.

These are some of my favorites. I’d love to hear about yours.

I was first introduced to David Nelson (left) over a captivating concoction called a Kentucky Tuxedo, a heavenly marriage of Bulleit Bourbon, Sherry, homemade lavender syrup and homemade orange bitters. But the engaging bartender/mixologist of Spur Gastropub and Tavern Law in Seattle has charmed me in many other way since that first sip. At Spur, David’s creative, but never contrived, cocktails share the stage with the fabulous food of chefs Brian McCracken and Dana Tough. But at Tavern Law, it's all David, all the time. Even though McCracken and Tough offer a tantalizing menu, the focus at Tavern Law is on Nelson’s unique, delicious drinks. It’s a treat to soak up the warmth and quiet energy of the room and to watch Nelson deftly whip up both classics and original potions. He loves to share his knowledge and passion with customers. Pull up a bar stool and you, too, will find out that Becherovka is not a Slavic dance."

What an honor to be included. Thank you!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tavern Law Honored as Best New Bar

Seattle magazine's Best Restaurant issue is out and we're honored to be the Reader's Choice of Best New Bar of the year.

Our sincere thanks to all of you!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Seattle's Evening Magazine Sneaks a Discreet Peek Upstairs

Looking for a glimpse into the bar-within-a-bar our upstairs discreetly holds? Our local NBC station, KING 5, took a look around the other day at Needle and Thread... while David Nelson crafted some classics for them.

Thanks Evening Magazine. Click on blog title above to view the segment.
Photo by Kristin Zwiers/ Tavern Law.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

David Nelson's Drink in DETAILS Magazine

The March issue of DETAILS magazine has an article by food writer JJ Goode entitled, "Bed and Breakfast". Goode was good enough to include David Nelson's Antoinette cocktail in this story... recipe included. Here it is, "'Day Drinking': The best ways to wash down your breakfast--and potentially get an A.M. party started.

From David Nelson of Tavern Law, Seattle
Combine 3/4 oz each of St-Germain elderflower liqueur, Strega, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake with conviction, strain into a Champagne flute, and add enough Champagne to fill. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Thanks you DETAILS and Mr. Goode.

Friday, February 5, 2010

DIY or Just Come By: David's Maple Sangaree

In an article by Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh on the history of sangaree Imbibe Magazine shares David Nelson's top secret Maple Sangaree Cocktail recipe:

Maple Sangaree at Tavern Law
Rich maple simple syrup combines with bourbon and calvados and a hint of nutmeg in this spiced sipper from Seattle’s Tavern Law.

1 oz. bourbon
1 oz. calvados
1 oz. maple simple syrup (2:1 maple syrup to water)
Crushed ice
Tools: barspoon
Glass: Collins
Garnish: fresh nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a glass, fill with crushed ice and stir. Garnish with a grating of nutmeg over the top.

Photo by Philip Thompson for Tavern Law. To read the article in Imbibe visit:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tonight's Menu

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wino Magazine's Rocky Yeh Writes-Up Tavern Law

Check out the latest article on Tavern Law, this one from WINO Mag, where Yeh says, with Tavern Law:

"chefs/owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, along with bar manager David Nelson, further extend their vision of good food paired with exceptional drink."

Read the entire article online by clicking on the link above.

Thank you Rocky and WINO Mag!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Seattle Metropolitan Mag's Jess Voelker Suggests: Study "Bartender's Choice" in 2010

In her article entitled Improve Your Drinking in 2010: Simple resolutions for optimal imbibing this year Voelker shares Resolution #1:

"Embrace bartender’s choice. Alcohol is, admittedly, an indulgence. But even—no, especially—if you’ve resolved to drink less in 2010 (last year was a tough one for all of us), there are a few things you can do to get more bang for your liver-processing buck.

Here, five ways to drink better this year.

1. Leave it up to the bartender.

When Tavern Law opened on Capitol Hill last year, people raved about the upstairs bar. (Needle and Thread, I think they call it?) Accessed through a discrete hidden stairway, the hideaway bar offered no menus—patrons described to the tender their favorite spirits and tastes (sweet, bitter, etc) and the bartender mixed them up a cocktail of his choice.

Thing is, “bartender’s choice” has been the convention at cocktail bars for years—and it’s pretty much standard policy for serious drinkers. There’s no need to study up on sidecars and pisco sours before sidling up to a bar stool, just walk in and ask the bartender what he feels like serving. You’ll get better drinks, and learn something new.

This is also an excellent test if you’re unsure about a drinking establishment: if a bartender ever gives you a funny look, shrug, or surly retort after you ask what he/she recommends, you’re in a bad bar.

Places to practice: Zig Zag, Vessel, and Sambar."

Thanks for including us Jess!
Photo from Seattle