- Last week, CHS told you about an arts space leaving the Hill to make room for a new food and drink project after 15 years in a changing Pike/Pine. A cider bar with a gluten free menu is set to replace it.
Capitol Cider, far from being a Portlandia-esque fad concept, will be grounded in the agricultural traditions of the region, the 24-year-old first-time pub owner behind the project tells CHS.
“There’s an opportunity to try something, unique and interesting,” Spencer Reilly said. “The only way to experience is to try it. It’s a chance to explore a lost historical beverage.”
Just don’t get into the four to five gallon a month habit of many of our forefathers and foremothers, Reilly says.
Capitol Cider is planned as a giant 6,000 square-foot, two-level, 20-tap bar and bottle shop showcasing a beverage that has grown in popularity along with an explosion in craft cideries and an increasing market for the drink spurred by greater demand for gluten free products.
“I had the idea for a cider pub for almost five years. I lived down in Portland two years ago and a cider bar opened there. It became an amazing center in the city and a great business,” Reilly said.
The plan is to transform the former Featherston Gallery space into an 1,800 square-foot bar and small kitchen at street level and overhaul the 4,000 square-feet below surface into a speakeasy with booths and a gaming room featuring shuffleboard and darts. And, yes, there will be a bottle shop. Not everything is signed on the location, yet, Reilly says, but with a name like Capitol Cider the project is destined for the Hill. The goal is to be open by “early 2013.”
Reilly’s Capitol Cider will be part of a movement. He rattles off cities across the country where cider projects are already established or underway. His bar will be the first such dedicated to the drink in Seattle.
“Drinking fresh cider from the farm is part of our heritage. It’s a traditional American beverage,” Reilly said. “There’s a culture of cider in almost every small orchard town.”
Where the growth of the craft cocktail phenomenon lead by joints like Knee High and Canon is based in connection to the roots of the cosmopolitan city, the cider connection appears to be rural. Call it Capitol Hill grange or Pike/Pike hickster, you might look at the birth of a cider bar on the Hill as another variant of our connoisseur-ial adoption of the things that have been around for a long timeTM. Only, in this case, the connection is with the small towns many of us call home — either in the places we were born or in our secret small, grubby hideways we run off to for a sunny weekend away from the city.
Reilly says he does not want to create a fad bar.
“My ideal bar is a place for everyone,” he said. “I don’t want it to be the thing that is in the New York Times but nobody [in Seattle] goes.”
He also has good reasons for keeping the place gluten free. “One, I eat gluten free so there’s that,” Reilly said. “Two, it lets us stand out a little bit. And it might open eyes about what gluten free means. Hopefully it becomes a cool place for people to eat.”
Seattle Met, who broke the news on the new project, tallies the numbers:
Cider will flow from 20-ish taps; plans call for more than 100 varieties of cider and at least 70 meads, a wine made with honey. Reilly also promises beer (including plenty of sours), apple wine and brandy, and traditional wine and spirits. The inspiration dates back to Reilly’s travels to England and Spain starting in 2000, back when he became enthralled with good ciders, only to return home and realize that hard cider in the U.S. generally came with a woodchuck on the label.
As the Denny Blaine resident takes on “building his dream,” Reilly will have help from friends — Jordan Sinclair brings the food and drink experience — and family — Reilly’s mother Julie Tall is an interior designer and has provided the design vision for the space. She’s also president of the board at Capitol Hill’s Gage Academy of Art.
The goal is to create a new gathering space in the middle of Pike/Pine’s burgeoning food and drink economy, build a business out of it and, yes, further the cider movement.
“I want to create a neighborhood pub that tries to expose people to cider,” Reilly said. “Tons of places in town are starting to get cider. People like it and want to continue to learn about it. I want to be a part of that.”
- Broadway’s Cafe Kanape is closing with plans for a new Capitol Hill location. Sabine Ruthensteiner says the cafe remains open at 700 Broadway E in the meantime.
- @markct shares this picture of a sign posted on 15th Ave E:
We wrote about a planned “remodel” of the restaurant in July. Quick peek in the windows reveals a rather, um, subtle makeover. We do approve of the (possible?) return of the 22 Doors name, though.
- Just in time for the nicest weather of the year, Terra Plata has opened its long-anticipated roof deck complete with garden and special grill.
- Speaking of that, here’s our 2012 roster of outdoors-ish Capitol Hill places to drink.
- You know you want a bite of Dan Savage’s hamburger. Benefits marriage equality.
- Somebody show the Lucky 8 guy how to order pizza, ok?
- “The bakery items were beyond reproach. I would come here for the densely filled cream puff — Beard Papa’s rightful Mama — and it’s sibling, a soft, cream-filled bun dusted with microplaned coconut. Buttery kouign amann, a disk of multi-folded, sugar-sweetened dough, seemed light enough to float.“
- St. Mark’s bakes its own bread.
But at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, the Eucharist bread is made in the church’s basement kitchen. Five volunteers gather monthly to to bake the 80 loaves the church needs for four Sunday’s worth of services.
- Tickets are on sale for Capitol Hill Housing’s annual food and drink benefit, Omnivorous. Lined up to participate: Anchovies and Olives, Cafe Presse, La Bete, Marjorie, Monsoon, Oola Distillery, Stumptown Coffee, Tango, Taylor Shellfish, Tin Table, and Fran’s Chocolates.
- A French cooking school and shop is planned for 13th and Madison.
- A Middle Eastern street food will be at the heart of the menu when new Melrose restaurant Mamnoon opens later this year.
- Skillet has a new counter — at the Seattle Center.
- The Field Roast Grain Meat Co. HQ is at 14th and Jackson.
- Aforementioned Canon now has Chartreuse on tap. We do no know why.
- The sad truth of a record set at Tacos Gringos.
- We love Vivace. We love David Schomer. We love Sprudge.
This week’s CHS food+drink advertiser directory