New bar? So what, right? WRONG.
This isn’t something I’d normally write about. I usually leave the pseudo-reviewers to Yelp. But this time I just couldn’t resist.
Belltown has this nasty habit of only going after two concepts: either reallllllyyyy divey or reallllllyyyy upscale (for Seattle). Wakefield eases your pain of having to choose. Set up right next door to Rendezvous, the location is prime for pub crawling, dating, meeting friends, or an after-work libation or snack.
Walking in, you’re greeted to a warmly rustic atmosphere. I know that sounds like a bad real estate ad cliche; shut up. The brick wall creates a sense of a really nice house’s great room, and the white shelving perfectly complements clean-lined lighting and re-purposed dark wood furniture. It has every kind of seating or standing you could prefer, from bar top to cocktail tables, lounge booths to a private party area. There isn’t a single place to sit that’s awkward for the more introverted types. Even the music is an appropriate volume, with laid-back tunes, capable of letting you carry on a conversation without falling asleep or feeling like you have to dance in your chair.
Everything about Wakefield says it’s made for people with taste, but want comfort as well as an impressive joint to bring someone (friend or significant). The price points are spot-on for what’s offered. I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Thomas Dodd some time ago, and he showed me some foodstragrams of what he used to do for Marjorie. Folks, this man can effing COOK. The menu has vegetarian as well as meaty offerings, both appetizers and “shareables”. I had house-cured olives the likes of which I’d never tasted before, and couldn’t have been happier. Until, of course, I got the Asparagus Salad:
Yup, that is whipped feta. WHIPPED!! I think Chef Ramsay might actually have a chef in Seattle he’d like. The salad was perfectly light and perfectly tasty in all the right ways. Even so, I had to try the Frites too. They were expertly spiced and came with a chipotle ketchup, which made for a great heat with little burn. The menu is fucking divine, if what I sampled is any indication. Sidenote: John’s Mac & Cheese is apparently named for Dodd’s boyfriend. You’ll eat all the comfort foods presented in ways you’d never dreamed. Yum!
And the drinks? Holy. Shit. Not only are they served in glassware that makes sense for each cocktail, but the creations on the libations list are fantastic! Crafty, but not pretentious. Simple, casual, and a party in your mouth. Having a massive sweet tooth, I tried the Bar Doe, and it was smooth, sensual, and made my day! The liquor selection is prime but not crazy, and you’ve got your standard beers on tap along with local favorite rotations. Bartenders Ziggy and Alexis have roughly 25 years’ experience between them, and it shows. It shows in the way they effortlessly chat with customers, the way they work together, and how they create beautiful drinks. My second poison was my normal Goose & soda, but Ziggy was kind enough to suggest fresh strawberry…it completely worked, and yes, it was *real* strawberry! The two opened the bar with a couple of business partners, and after a few false starts with other ventures, they finally have a place that should easily be a resounding success. Their being married makes Wakefield truly a “mom & pop” bar with a fresh, young, urban (but not sterile) feel.
Wakefield is the kind of place that Seattle has needed for some time, but we couldn’t put our fingers on what we wanted. What with heavy gentrification in Belltown as well as all over the city, we at long last have a place to chill, enjoy, not break our wallets, and not get clique-y. And with amazing, understated, non-cookiecutter decor! It’s your towny bar without being that towny bar. There’s all of the taste and none of the pretention. For once, there’s something—genuinely—for everyone.
2318 2nd Avenue