CHS Pics | Canon ready to re-write the book on Capitol Hill cocktails

Jamie Boudreau, preaching (Image: CHS)

It seems like the opening of 12th Ave’s Canon: whiskey and bitters emporium will be a little like ordering a drink from the old-school gin joint. You might not know when you’ll get it but you’ll know it will be good.

Previewing the new bar Tuesday night to a group of friends, media types — and a couple contest winners — Seattle cocktailer Jamie Boudreau said Canon won’t have a new-fangled computer point-of-sale system, by jimminy. Instead, tabs will be recorded and tallied by hand with orders being organized on old-timey paper. There is just going to be too much going on behind the bar, Boudreau said, for the computers to keep up.

But when the debut will come isn’t nailed down. Could be this weekend. Could be two weeks. Boudreau says he’s spent the past weeks learning how to make things that won’t fall apart with power tools and he still has more to do. It’s a new skillset for the guy we called a “Seattle super bartender” when we first reported that Canon would be taking over the old Licorous space next to Lark on 12th across the street from Seattle U. 

Canon isn’t the only new bar in the area gearing up for an official opening. 14th Ave’s Diesel has been doing the quite thing this week. Friday, things will get loud with their grand opening party.

While the work on Canon is not 100% complete — Boudreau said he needs more shelves to house more bottles of booze including the vintage pre-prohibition bottles (still full, still drinkable) you’ll find above the kitchen hallway — the old restaurant bar space has been successfully transformed into a modern day speakeasy. Only the ceiling remains from the previous incarnation, we were told, but even it gleamed Tuesday night.


Capitol Hill’s cocktail culture gets richer. The classic end of things is already represented by Tavern Law and Knee High Stock Co.’s literal takes on the speakeasy. Boudreau didn’t engage in any direct smack talk about either competing watering hole but it will be interesting to watch the Hill’s craft bartender scene develop.

When Canon opens, you’ll find one bartender and one cocktailer behind the counter. An overhauled classic cash register once owned by Charles Wrigley will ring up your spirits though credit cards will, indeed, be accepted. There will be sealed, bottled “personal cocktails” available “to go.” There’s some talk of punchbowls and loopholes. The 100-strong cocktail list in book format — canon, get it? —  won’t be available right off the bat as staff and Canon as a whole settles in. But, eventually, Boudreau and his business partner Andrew Fawcett want you to walk inside their bar and be surrounded by fantastic bottles of booze to be mixed into new and wonderful things. “This will be a bar of change, a bar of development,” Boudreau said.

Here’s more about Canon from their press release:

Internationally acclaimed bartender Jamie Boudreau has announced plans to open canon: whiskey and bitters emporium at 928 12th Avenue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. “I’m excited to be part of the burgeoning ‘South of Madison’ area of Capitol Hill,” said Boudreau. “It was important for me to create a comfortable place for neighborhood residents to grab a bite and a drink after work, as well as a destination bar for cocktail enthusiasts and devotees of the classics.”

In 2006, Canadian Jamie Boudreau relocated to Seattle to preside over the bar at Vessel. After establishing Vessel as one of the premier cocktail bars in America, Jamie moved on to other ventures, creating bar programs and conducting seminars around the world. Jamie has been called one of the world’s greatest bartenders by WIRED magazine, Seattle magazine’s 2007 Bartender of the Year, and in 2009 was one of the Nation’s Top Ten Mixologists, according to Playboy magazine. 2010 brought the Cheers Rising Star Award, an annual award that goes to the magazine’s Top Five Bartenders of the Year, as well as Seattle magazine’s “Best of the Decade” in the “Drink” category. Jamie also hosts an instructional bartending show called Raising the Bar on the Small Screen Network, for which he won the award for “Best Drink or Beverage Program on the Web” at the 2010 Tasty Awards. Raising the Bar was nominated for another Tasty Award in 2011.

Opening in summer 2011, the 1000 square foot canon will accommodate up to 48 guests—12 seats of which are in front of a 30-foot, Angostura bitters-stained mahogany and birch bar. The design and construction of the bar, done by Boudreau himself, is meant to impart a timeless feel.

canon will be open nightly from 5pm-2am, and will deliver a cocktail-forward program focusing on the classics, as well as the modern spin on the classics that made Boudreau famous. canon’s cocktail menu will be one of the world’s largest featuring more than 100 cocktails. Says Boudreau, “While I’m passionate about the classics, not everyone enjoys brown spirits or spirit-forward drinks, so it’s important for me to have something for every palate.”

To complement the beverage program, Boudreau has hired up-and-coming chef Melinda Bradley. Bradley studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York and her resume includes Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit and Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud, both in New York City. canon’s eclectic and continually evolving menu is based on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Every item on the menu can be shared or enjoyed as multi-course meal. The entire menu will be available until 1:30am.

Joining Jamie behind the bar at canon will be Nathan Weber, formerly of Tavern Law and currently at Rob Roy.

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6 thoughts on “CHS Pics | Canon ready to re-write the book on Capitol Hill cocktails

  1. how some of these promises are going to work. “To go” bottles and punch bowls are illegal in this state (ridiculously so). Perhaps Jamie’s found some loopholes. Perhaps he’s just helping to push the agenda to rid our state of its antiquated attitudes on liquor. Looks good, Mr. Boudreau.

  2. The “To Go” bottles aren’t really to go. That’s just what he’s calling them. The drink you order, and from what I got last night, it is one featured cocktail on the menu, will be served in the little bottle. That is all.

    As for the punch, I think there is a legal workaround.