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Bar Vacilando wanders onto Capitol Hill

We can't show you much of Bar Vacilando but we can show you this

We can’t show you much of Bar Vacilando but we can show you this

The versatile bar, good for an after-work cocktail with a shared plate of food or a dinner date, enjoys quite a bit of popularity on Capitol Hill. After refining one version of the concept with Black Bottle in Belltown and Bellevue, a trio of owners are nearly ready to open another take on the “gastrotavern” with a venture on Capitol Hill.

Chris Linker said his intention for Bar Vacilando at 15th and Harrison is not to open a fancy restaurant, but a bar with really nice food.

“We want people to feel like they can disarm … let time slow down a little bit,” Linker said of restaurant slated to open in mid-May. “It’s more of an analog restaurant than a hyper-digital restaurant.”

The Bar Vacilando owners are not quite ready to reveal how they have changed the former 22 Doors space, but CHS was able to take a peek inside. While no major transformations have taken place, the space has been peeled back to a more raw form. The dropped ceilings are gone, revealing the old building’s original wood slatted ceilings. The bar top has been replaced, but Door 22’s impressive wooden back bar remains. The 2,374-square-foot space is also known for having one of the best patios on the Hill, and Bar Vacilando will continue to put the intimate outdoor space to good use with some small upgrades.

Bar Vacilando’s name is also rooted in the analog. In his 1962 book Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck wrote, “If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.”

The patio in 22 Doors days

The patio in 22 Doors days

That sense of world travel inspired co-owner Judy Boardman chef Brian Durbin when developing a menu for the new restaurant. Bar Vacilando will offer a mix of the light and indulgent, including slow cooked pork cheek and Tokyo turnip, salt cod croquettes, and king trumpet mushroom salad with watercress and spinach. Most plates will be made to share.

A medium-sized wine list, handcrafted cocktails, and a several local beers on tap will round out the drink offerings.

Linker said he and the other owners were drawn to 15th Ave E because of its neighborhood within a neighborhood quality. “There’s such a strong sense of community and cooperation and familiarity on 15th Ave.”

Opened in 2005, 22 Doors shuttered on New Year’s Eve 2013 after apparently dealing with financial troubles for years. Sandwiched next to Rione XIII and The Wandering Goose and the old-timer Tim’s Barbershop, the space remained vacant for two years. CHS first wrote about the Black Bottle crew coming to the block in November.

Earlier this year, Linker and Black Bottle caused a stir when they joined Seattle restaurant heavyweight Tom Douglas in adding a 2% surcharge to offset the city’s new minimum wage law. Both restaurant groups eventually backed off the plans after backlash. Douglas has since begun the process of eliminating tipping and raising wages at his fleet of restaurants.

Bar Vacilando will be a tipped-based restaurant, at least for now. Linker said he still has concerns about how his company will sustain the increasing minimum wage, though it clearly has not stopped them from expanding. “I think the restaurant model will continue to evolve and what that looks like precisely, I don’t know,” he said.

Bar Vacilando plans to open in May at 405 15th Ave E .

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Carlos da Silva
Carlos da Silva
4 years ago

I just want to chime in and thank this blog for covering these and all the other real stories in my community and for being the only source for real news on Capitol Hill.

jseattle
Admin
4 years ago

Our pleasure

dc
dc
4 years ago

Nice to know SOMETHING is going where Doors was. It’ll probably be pretty upscale anyway but it’s better than an empty space.

Tom
Tom
4 years ago
Reply to  dc

The nice marble says, “F—- you, $3 drinks.”

Andy
Andy
4 years ago

Great, another gastropub or whatever you want to call it. The Bagel Cafe was forced out and Sur 16 moved in. A place I would maybe go once a year vs a place I would go a couple times a week. The Canterbury closed and was replacded by the new incarnation that looks like 99% of every place that opens in Seattle. Another crappy, homogenous business with no real soul and nothing particularly unique about it. I lived in San Francisco for 15 years and had five places in my neighborhood where they knew my name and I went to at least once a week. This neighborhood has zero now. Every day we have a new bar/restaurant with a similar but different menu and nowhere can you find a nice neighborhood pub. The places that are the cornerstones of grown up, real cities don’t exist. Places where blue collar and white collar people in the neighborhood gather. This new spot is not a place where people who live nearby will come and have a beer after work. It’s a place where folks from Bellevue will come to have pork belly and a craft cocktail. How many of these do we need? Do we need more gourmet burgers in South Lake Union? Do we need more noodles or Latin Fusion in hte Pike/Pine corridor. It’s all crap. And the next place to fall is Tim’s Barbershop. And that will really be the nail in the coffin for this neighborhood in terms of having any vibe or anything unique. And don’t think I’m some guy complaining about gentrification because I can’t afford to participate. I’m rich. And I hate this. I’m outta here because of closings like Bill’s Off Broadway, the old Canterbury, Bagel Cafe. None of the things that made Seattle cool are in place anymore. And this Bar Vacilando is just another symptom. I can tell just by looking in the window. We don’t need anymore Moscow Mules and pork belly sliders. We need dive bars with shuffleboard with construction workers drinking next to software engineers. Good luck Seattle and Capitol Hill. I’m moving to a place that hasn’t lost it’s soul.

HappyPooh
HappyPooh
4 years ago
Reply to  Andy

I really like Bait Shop and I guess I am (or was, I’ve been too busy and too broke these days to go out every week) a regular. Not everyone there knows my name, but I know at least a couple of theirs, and the place has had at least one consistent bar tender since they opened in 2013. The people behind the bar always ask how I’m doing, and are always really nice. I think if I frequented Hopvine more, I’d feel similarly about its staff.

Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
4 years ago
Reply to  Andy

LOLZ. This is a satire. Right? Please say yes? And double down on Bait Shop, also Smith. They know my name, my drink, and I’m not telling you my net worth.

andres
andres
4 years ago

Smith? What a second rate bar scene. Food’s ok, bartenders total amateurs. Sorry but I came from a city of pros (San Francisco) and outside of the Bait Shop, sorry. There’s no warmth, no neighborhood vibe. Zero. And any that there was is quickly evaporating. That nail salon across from Canterbury is pretty sweet. I mean if you live in Burien and like strip malls. Nice addition. I have nothing against Bar Vacilando and maybe the food will be great. But there still aren’t any NYC or SF or New Orleans (or even Portland) type places where locals go hang out for hours on end and this is just another clone. Smith, that’s hilarious. The worst bar service I’ve ever had probably 12 out of 15 times I’ve sat there. Horrid. Unfriendly. Cold. Amateur. That tells me you need to get out and see the world. And I didn’t tell you my net worth, you’ve completely missed the point and don’t read the news much. The complaints against gentrification are often diatribes by those forced out by rising prices. If you had the power of just a little insight you would understand that I was making the distinction between complaining about the prices and more about something much more valuable and harder to put your finger on. Enjoy the newest place that’s just like every place and be sure to by organic olive oil or whatever they will selling in the spot vacated by Tim’s when his rent goes up 400%. No vibe. No soul. Zero.