Though this may not be a complete shock, it’s disappointing nonetheless. Bar Ferdinand — the sophisticated-but-approachable wine destination in Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row — is now closed after a little over four years, as owner and chef Matt Dillon continues to take a step back from the Seattle restaurant scene. Dillon shut down his acclaimed restaurant Sitka & Spruce at the end of 2019, citing financial challenges. Though he’s still a partner in Pioneer Square’s The London Plane and Copal, the James Beard Award winner tells the Seattle Times he’ll be more focused on family and running his farm on Vashon Island.
Set away from the street in the middle of Chophouse Row, Bar Ferdinand was a nice respite from the rowdier Capitol Hill nightlife spots. It featured wines from small producers all over the world, primarily European makers, most of whom were following “natural wine” principles long before the term was coined. Dillon’s menu of refined bites, mostly using local ingredients, provided thoughtful pairings with the pours. The Chophouse Row version of Bar Ferdinand was actually the second iteration, as the original outpost, in Melrose Market, closed in 2017.
Now, Dillon is passing the torch to some friends: former Damn the Weather chef Eli Dahlin and sommelier Ezra Wicks, who will make some renovations to the Bar Ferdinand space and open it as a new wine bar sometime this spring. There will also be an adjacent wine shop with charcuterie, cheeses, and more.