The Watering Hole: Locöl, 7902 35th Ave. S.W., 708-7725, WEST SEATTLE.
Photo: Julien Perry
The Atmosphere: The booze dwelling West Seattle has been waiting for. Just out of reach of The Junction, Locöl was designed for neighbors to easily meet one another in a comfortable environment: The colors are warm, the narrow bar is intimate without being claustrophobic, and most important, the lighting is dim (strangers don't need to see your drunk face under bright lights). The motto here should be, "Won't you be my neighbor?"
The Barkeep: Kyle Duce. If you live in West Seattle, he might look familiar. He was the General Manager at Shadowland for two years, which gave him the confidence to run his own place. "I've been in the restaurant business for a long, long time, and have been aimed at more wine and food-focused establishments in the last five or six years," says Duce, one of three owners who opened Locöl shortly after Christmas."I'd say 95 percent of our wine list is sustained from Washington and Oregon. Our whole business concept is to cycle the dollars within the community. That means going with people who are making a great product and work and live in our neighborhood, so the money is going to them and not outside of our area. We're trying to boost the economy close to home rather than giving our money elsewhere."
The Drink: Staying true to his word, Duce pours me a generous glass of Impulse 71 ($8), a blend of cabernet and syrah from Small Lot Co-Op in Woodinville. "Impulse goes after the 14 Hands business," Duce tells me. "There's 70 fingers on 14 hands. The 71st finger refers to the middle finger."
Photo: Julien Perry
Something else that has flipped? Locöl's concept. "I thought we were just going to be more of a bar-focused place and now we're becoming more of a food-focused place. People are coming here for the food," says Duce, referring to the nibbles coming out of the four-by-five foot kitchen.
Enter Meredith Abbott. She's one of the original employees of Skillet. "When I proposed the idea to her," says Duce, "I didn't think we were going to have room to do a kitchen, and obviously her working in the tight quarters that she has with Skillet, she was like, 'Oh yeah, we can pump a bunch of food out of here!' We've got a couple of burners and one little teeny oven and that's it. But we're creative, and it forces you to use fresh ingredients every day because we only have enough storage to house stuff for one day and it all comes fresh the next day."
The Verdict: Back to the wine. Impulse 71 is not just a good-priced glass pour, it's a well-balanced wine that pairs easily with food, but is just as easy to drink alone. But at Locöl, you'll never drink alone.