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Capitol Hill food+drink | What’s it mean to be home to the 6th best bar in the world? 12th Ave whiskey and bitters emporium Canon will show you

IMG_0278Ask two people on Capitol Hill for the best bar in the Seattle Inner City and you’ll get three different opinions. But somehow, the industry journal Drinks International is able to rank the 50 best bars in the entire world. This year 12th Ave’s Canon came in at number 6.

What does that mean for you, dear Capitol Hill drinker?

Since it opened in 2011 with a 12-page menu, Canon has steadily grown and tweaked its dizzying selection of spirits, bitters, and ornate cocktails. It now boasts one of the largest spirit menus in the country — a 130-page tome (PDF) that represents around $1 million worth of inventory.

Owner Jamie Boudreau said the recently released top ranking took him by surprise. Even though Seattle’s high-end food+drink culture has grown by leaps and bounds, Boudreau said the city is still considered quite provincial in the craft cocktail world.

“To crack the top ten when I know the judges are always in New York, always in London, always in Chicago, it’s impressive,” he said. “To have a recognition of Seattle’s cocktail culture is really great. It’s nice that the city is starting to get noticed.”



At any given time there are around 7,000 bottles inside the 33-seat bar located on a boozy block of 12th Ave near Seattle University. Among those spirits, you will find some of the rarest whiskey’s available for public consumption, including an 1880’s Westover Maryland Rye that will set you back $1,225… per glass.

Canon’s selection of bitters is also worthy of note and includes one that is exclusively made for Boudreau.

On the food side, the menu is decidedly smaller, but with enough options to please any cocktail crowd. Confit rabbit leg, marrow, and bitters-infused nuts are among the more unique items.

Canon’s place on The World’s 50 Best Bar’s list was not the first time Boudreau has been recognized as a top-of-the-top bar. Earlier this year Canon made Esquire magazine’s top 26 bars in the U.S.

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As Canon’s spirit selection has ballooned well into the thousands, Boudreau has had to double the physical space available inside the bar since it opened back in summer 2011. Boudreau said up until a few months ago Canon has been continually under some type of construction.

With Canon now firmly placed on the global cocktail connoisseur’s map, we asked Boudreau about the possibility of a new venture. “Nothing I can talk about,” he said. For now, Boudreau said he will continue to improve on Canon and elevating Seattle’s cocktail game.

“My goal was when I first moved to Seattle was to go to any bar, order a sazerac, and not have people look at me funny,” he said. “I think we’re there.”

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Capitol Hill food+drink notes
by jseattle

  • By the way, Boudreau’s Raising the Bar video series is also pretty nifty:
  • Sugar-Plum-Community-Sourced-Capital-Campaign-20Makini Howell has sent CHS details of a Halloween party to say goodbye to Plum Cafe after ten years of business on 15th Ave E. She also reminds that you only have a few more days to make a $150 microloan to support Sugar Plum, the vegan sweet and ice cream shop she has planned to succeed the cafe. Here are some details on the cafe’s goodbye:After 10 years Plum café on 15th Ave is closing.
    Over the years we have had a loads of fun serving up our yummy vegan sandwiches and burgers.The Plum Team is happy to announce we are turning the page on the café to a sweet new chapter
    Sugar Plum will be Seattle’s first vegan ice creamery and sweet shop!Please come by on October 31st and join us for you last Crazy Jamaican burger and grab a yummy Halloween farewell treat!
  • ff371b324f7ce799c8aa5ff9d5e91e39_largeAlso in the crowdsourcing mode is this venture to bring a doughnut bar “inspired by Tom Waits and New Orleans nightlife” to Capitol Hill. “I’ve been a chef around town for a while, living and working on the Hill (at places like the dearly-departed Crave! and helping out the ladies at Cafe Pettirosso earler this year when they were lacking a chef, for example), and now that I’m looking to do my own thing, Capitol Hill is the natural choice,” first time doughnut-eur Justin Newstrum tells us. You can kick in your part of the $16,000 Newstrum is hoping to raise to get 9th & Hennepin off the ground here:
    One of the places that I learned that was New Orleans- I’ve visited several times over the years, and their strong sense of culture and identity is bound inextricably with their food scene. One of the linchpins of that food scene is the Cafe du Monde down in the French Quarter, serving up beignets (a type of hot, fresh-fried donut) and coffee at all hours of the day, and going there for the first time fifteen years ago gave me the genesis of an idea that I’ve slowly been refining since then.
  • Black Coffee has wrapped up its fundraising efforts to find a new home well short of its $30,000 goal. With almost $9,000 donated, the co-op has said it will shut down its E Pine shop with one last party on Friday, October 24th and is hoping to find a new Seattle neighborhood to call home.
  • Tea Republik is coming to Broadway.
  • Electric Tea Garden is apparently coming back to life.
  • Sam’s Moroccan Sandwiches are delicious.
  • Cafe Pettirosso manager Morgan has Hill Style.
  • Q: Grim’s is your latest acquisition – what are your aims and hopes for the new spot on 11th? A: For now we’re keeping it as is and seeing what’s working and what’s not. Then we’ll make changed based on that analysis.
  • Summit Ave’s Single Shot is now open. Here’s a peek.

  • Mike McNett, formerly at Local 360, is joining Lark as it gets ready for its big move to the Central Agency building:
    I’m very happy to welcome Mike McNett to the Lark team as our cocktail mastermind and lead bartender. Mike has created a drink menu for Lark that is classic, with some contemporary twists. If you’re a lover of rye whiskey, try the Kennedy’s Peacoat on your first visit to our new bar.  The Bitter/Raw cocktail menu will focus on the vast world of Amari and American-style bitters with simple, light drinks that complement our menu of charcuterie, crudo and ceviche. We’re so ready and eager to open our doors – just a few more details to tend to. 
  • Marjorie has a new chefJoseph Bollag.
  • Next Tuesday, October 28th, Lost Lake is donating 50% of sales to Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary School.
  • E Madison’s Queen Bee Cafe has “crumpwiches.”
  • CHS received a spurt of emails last week about the departure of some of the longtime baristas at Bauhaus. We asked owner Joel Radin what was going on. “Bauhaus has always treated it’s employees like family,” he tells us but also said that, after 17 years, people move on. CHS has asked around about the situation. A longtime employee was let go after a disagreement and a couple more from the “old school” crew joined her, we’re told. While we’re not privy to all of the details, from what we can tell, it’s pretty much business as usual at Bauhaus again.
  • Broadway Alley’s Villa Escondida is taking another step toward making its business work in a space that has claimed more than a few restaurants in recent years. We spy a beer and wine liquor license application for the affordable Mexican joint. Issue it, liquor board. We’re thirsty!
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6 years ago

It’s Villa Escondida, and anyone reading this should try it. It’s not only delicious, but there’s something exceedingly homey and honest about the food there.

6 years ago
Reply to  Andrés

oh man. sorry. fixed

6 years ago

Great photos, Alex!


[…] told you earlier this month about the early plans from Justin Newstrum to create a joint serving fresh, hot doughnuts, coffee, and booze on Capitol Hill. The fundraiser behind the project stands at just under $5,000 with only a few days […]


[…] having the lies out there to fester. Continues here. We had a little more on the issues at Bauhaus here last […]