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Wakefield Bar Opening in Belltown This Month

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Bringing the neighborhood bar to the neighborhood

Wakefield Opening Team: Hannes Schindler, Chris Tanaka, Thomas Dodd, Alexis Taladay, Ziggy Taladay, Ashley Schindler
Wakefield Opening Team: Hannes Schindler, Chris Tanaka, Thomas Dodd, Alexis Taladay, Ziggy Taladay, Ashley Schindler
Julia Wayne

Bottoms up, Belltown: A new bar is coming soon to 2nd Ave. The collectively owned Wakefield will open as soon as the bar top is delivered and nailed down, some lights are pulled down, and the shelves can be stocked, in the space next to the Rendezvous.

The bar aims to be a neighborhood lounge above all else, with capacity for 72 patrons at a collection of long booths, window-side tables, a communal rail, and a "very sunny" patio. With nothing blocking the outdoor space, co-owner Hannes Schindler says it gets "the best sun on the block," for the 10 to 15 people who will get to lounge out there.

Co-owned and operated by industry alumni with a lot of years between them, Wakefield has a concise menu which promises something for everyone — even vegans.

Executive Chef Thomas Dodd left his post as Sous Chef at Marjorie after three and a half years, and is bringing handmade cavatelli, all-housemade sausages, and even a bone marrow aioli to the menu — which features price points topping out at $15. The concept behind the menu is shareable small plates, because as Dodd says, "that’s how everyone is eating now. I don’t want to have a menu with $28 entrees and only get people who can come out to dine once a month."

Co-owners Alexis Taladay and Ashley Schindler wrote the cocktail and wine lists respectively, also with the goal of accessibility. The cocktails, Taladay says, will be "craft, but more straightforward and simple than you might find elsewhere. Three or four ingredients, done really well."

They’ll be placing an emphasis on local spirits, with 3 Howls and Oola sharing shelf space with fellow neighboring distilleries. Cocktails will hover around the 8-10 dollar range, with wells around 6 bucks. (Writer’s note: Look for the Green Tea Fizz, with house green tea-infused gin, honey, lemon, and egg whites.) Taladay left The Shelter on Saturday, after bartending there since its October 2009 opening.

The bar also has six taps, with one handle permanently dedicated to cider — likely from recently opened Number 6 Cider. Taladay and husband Ziggy (who just left El Chupacabra) will be pulling "a lot of shifts behind the bar and on the floor."

Schindler — who left re:public a month ahead of her mid-May due date — says the wine list will feature a similarly mid-range priced glass pour list with value wines that are "affordable but awesome." Happy hour, which is projected to run from 4 p.m. to 6 or 7 (they haven’t decided yet), will feature a red, a white, and a bubbly, plus smaller versions of food menu items. A late night happy hour is also planned, to attract "neighborhood industry folks getting off work with a hankering for great food."

Although brunch is in the future plans, they’ll wait to get their feet under them before expanding their hours. Large TVs will show local sports, big games, and possibly movies.

As for the name, it comes from the long ago tenants of the oft-revamped space — which was last, briefly, Mix — the Heywood-Wakefield mid-century modern furniture company, who operated it as a showroom.

Co-owner Chris Tanaka (brother of Tom Douglas Restaurants Chef Eric Tanaka) works in real estate and found the space, then asked longtime friend Schindler to open a bar. With the Schindlers and Taladays already in progress on the search, everything came together. Tanaka’s wife Stacey rounds out the collective of six owners.

Soft openings begin next week, with regular service rolling out after.

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