It's been the plan since day one, but now, it looks like the back bar at E. Smith Mercantile is becoming a reality. According to Craig Schoen, the Walrus & the Carpenter barman who has been tapped to manage this new project, the bar will be a small, u-shaped creation to allow for a really intimate atmosphere with the bartender:
To me, if you want to do a true craft cocktail bar, that's the way to do it. It's going to be a really small bar with 14 seats. It's going to be all about focusing on the bartenders and the people making stuff in town that don't necessarily have a huge company backing them yet.
In addition to cocktails, Schoen says the bar will also offer beer and wine, but will mostly focus on both organic and obscure spirits: "We're gong to use as much organic product as we can, and it's getting easier to do that."
The bar, at this point anyway, will simply be known as the back bar at E. Smith Mercantile. And it's going to roll out softly. If Schoen has his way, the bar will host about 10 events when it opens (most likely) next month.
I want them to ease into it so that a lot of different people are involved, so we're not just hiring someone to man a bar. I actually think because Pioneer Square is evolving quickly, they have time to establish their footing and make people aware of their bar and then just sort of feel out where they want to go and how far they want to dive into it. They don't need to be open 6-7 days a week right away.
For the time being, owner Jessie Poole will be tending bar and then after that, expect a menu of rotating bartenders once everything is settled. Schoen says the bar will also offer a few small plates composed of locally-sourced ingredients: "They're starting to become pretty friendly with the farmers around here. It won't be a huge menu."
Watch for a soft opening in about three weeks. And no, Schoen has no plans to leave his Walrus post.