The Atmosphere: Located on, um, the CORNER of 2nd and Virginia, The Corner Bar>"/>
The Watering Hole: The Corner Bar, 2000 Second Ave, DOWNTOWN, 206-448-3352
The Atmosphere: Located on, um, the CORNER of 2nd and Virginia, The Corner Bar took over the space formerly occupied by The Whisky Bar, which took over the space formerly occupied by The Corner Bar. This new iteration of TCB opened last month and bears no resemblance to its namesake, a wild and seedy bar infamous in the early 90s. An oval-shaped bar occupies the center of the room, but the newly finished floors, fresh wainscoting, new tables and chairs, make the room feel more like a den of sophistication than a den of iniquity. There are a few booths, a TV playing college hoops silently on one wall and plenty of stools for the downtown after work crowd looking for a quick drink.
The Barkeep: Marisa Kaopelva moved to Seattle from Arizona in January. She was tending bar elsewhere in Belltown, when this new job opened up. While she likes mixing cocktails, and stirs up an exquisite Manhattan, Kaopelva loves the craft beers she now has access to in the Pacific Northwest. "No bars are serving these beers in Arizona." Asked about the difference between bar patrons in Phoenix and Seattle, the 24-year old said, "People here know what they want." She's been able to discover new spirits, and new cocktails, thanks to booze-savvy Seattle drinkers.
The Drink: When I asked Kaopelva what she recommended to drink, she first checked to make sure I drink whiskey. Above the bar are dozens of bourbons, whiskeys and Scotches to choose from. She recommended a drink on the menu called A Good Time. A combination of bourbon, Strega and orange bitters is stirred and served on the rocks with an orange twist. Kaopelva likes Strega, but hadn't worked with it prior to relocating to Seattle.
The Verdict: The strong, somewhat sweet, herbal Italian digestif plays well with bourbon. The orange bitters added just enough depth to play up the floral notes in the Strega. But at 5 o'clock on a Tuesday night, the bar was dead. The drinks we had were well made, easy on the wallet and the atmosphere was pleasant. A few tables still lack chairs, and art has just recently been added to the walls. Is the new Corner Bar too classy for this particular corner? As the evening went on, the bar got busier. The owners were busy putting up a Christmas tree, which definitely livened up the room. Once word gets out that they make tasty Manhattans and martinis at happy hour for just $6, I hope The Corner Bar, and Marisa, get much, much busier.