The Shambles is putting the finishing touches on its moody Maple Leaf beer bar, butcher shop, and restaurant, opening this Saturday, January 20, at noon. The 21-plus establishment — unrecognizable as a former gym for children thanks to a makeover inspired by the timeless, wood-lined pubs of England — is co-owned by Matthew Brady, whose past work includes retail management at Fremont Brewing, and Joel Klemenhagen, who brings years of experience from Whole Foods. To run the kitchen, they’ve brought in chef Seamus Platt (formerly of Mollusk, Salish Lodge, and Girin), who Brady describes as “a charcuterie wizard.”
Platt oversees a menu of sandwiches, small plates, charcuterie (country ham, bacon, fermented sausages, coppa, lonzino, and guanciale), and steaks from the in-house butcher shop. Patrons can also purchase the cured meats, olives, mustard, and pickles to-go from a small market inside the restaurant. Platt and Brady promise to source local, sustainable meats, but they also plan to have a solid selection of vegetarian options for those who aren’t so meat inclined: gnocchi with foraged mushrooms, salmon with polenta, and a handful of salads.
Highlights from a preview event included can’t-believe-it’s-vegan chickpea stew with romesco, a black lime-rubbed tri-tip sandwich with pickled peppers, and crispy candied almonds, a hearty bar snack made utterly compelling thanks to the addition of tandoori spices.
As for the drinks side, Brady says to expect 32 taps “of the best that’s available.” He’ll focus on local, sour, hoppy, farmhouse, fresh, and unusual, hoping to serve beers that aren’t readily available elsewhere. The list at a preview event was well-rounded, including hazy IPAs and pales from the likes of Skookum, Urban Family, and Structure, plenty of rich stouts and approachable ambers, funky wine-barrel aged options, and crushable lagers. Brewers nights and beer pairings will come later, too.
Naturally, there will also be wine and cider available, plus a line-up of original cocktails and old-fashioned sodas made with house syrups. The booze-forward cocktails follow relatively straightforward formulas but feel fresh thanks to high-quality ingredients like house-blend rums and absinthes in perfect balance.
The Shambles’ down-to-earth vibe is certain to make visitors think they’re in an English pub; after all, the place is named after a street in York, England, that was once famously lined with butchers. The bar is constructed from reclaimed barn wood from Chehalis, and the solid tables and bar tops are salvaged fir believed to be at least a thousand years old. And to the left of the bar, there’s an office hidden behind a movable bookcase, a charming easter egg for the observant.
The Shambles will operate Sunday through Wednesday noon to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday noon to 11 p.m.