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Capitol Hill food+drink | Speckled & Drake’s Seattle-Brooklyn-Seattle story, Mamnoon debut

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  • There are certain spirits that require transit across things like longitudes and latitudes before their vintage is considered official. For the new Capitol Hill bar Speckled and Drake this entailed owner Justin “JD” Martinsen carrying the Seattle tavern feel to Brooklyn only to bring it back for transplant on E Olive Way.

“I always felt I was transplanting a part of myself into the east,” Martinsen said of his time in New York where he opened watering hole duckduck in 2006 just as the Williamsburg food and drink scene was taking off.

The Roosevelt High grad’s return to Seattle includes the opening of a new bar in the former home of the Living Room near E Olive Way and Melrose.

“I saw an opportunity,” Martinsen said. “This place fell into our lap.”

While New York didn’t exactly chew him up and spit him back, Martinsen said he was planning the return to his home city and the availability of the Living Room location “accelerated” his return. 

Unlike the environment he faced opening the first bar in his part of the neighborhood in NYC, Martinsen says he is looking forward to the new challenge of creating a bar in an already thriving food and drink district.

“We were the first bar in our neighborhood,” Martinsen said of the duckduck. “Things are much more established on the Hill. We’re happy to be a part of it.”

Partnering with friend Gavin Hewitt in his first food and drink venture, Martinsen said Speckled and Drake will be very much in the spirit of the duckduck.

duckduck est. in 2006 has been serving your fowl watering hole needs in and around the Montrose area ever since. With a wide range of drinks, prices, and specials, duckduck has something for everyone. Carried by it’s strong neighborhood vibe, small staff, and cast of daily regulars, you can always find a familiar friendly face. On the weekends we really like to let our freak feathers fly with a hopping crowd and a wide mix of djs. Always a selection of craft beers on tap, seasonal cocktails, and cheap beer and shot combos. 

CHS found Speckled still tightening a few bolts last week (Images: CHS)

The Speckled and Drake name, of course, refers to the male and female in a pair of ducks — and is also Martinsen’s wink at Seattle’s proclivity for “something and something” restaurant and bar names. You’re also going to find a mallard or two on the wall.

Speaking of birds, the overhauled space is being built out by woodworkers Sparrow. They also are behind the build of neighboring John John’s Gameroom. We showed you inside that newly space last week.

A menu focused on bar food and local meats — mostly provided by locals Rain Shadow Meats, Martinsen said — will round out the offerings. We wouldn’t expect roasted duck or duck liver pate — but duck sausage? Probably.

With a possibility of a soft opening sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend, Martinsen hopes Speckled will be the start of more projects in his city now that he’s returned to Seattle and figured out how to sublet his NY apartment.

“You open up enough of these you can do alright for yourself,” he said.

We have plans to continue our exploration of the shophouse restaurants of Bangkok, make a trip to Isaan country in the Northeast, hit the Southeast Gulf coastline and naturally visit all the aunties and uncles in between.

  • Skelly and the Bean’s Zephyr Paquette wants to be on TV:


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