Capitol Hill’s booze scene has a new addition that is looking to evolve over time. In the works since last fall, the beer and wine bar Rapport quietly opened Monday for takeout, as well as limited dine-in service indoors and on the outdoor patio. Right now, there’s a small selection of bottled wine, cocktails, beer crowler fills, and some food items during previews. But the planned self-pour tap system that allows diners to help themselves won’t be available until a later phase of the state’s “Safe Start” reopening plan during the pandemic. It’s unclear whether that will be in phase three and four (King County is currently paused in phase two).
Rapport’s food menu to start seems to be mostly breakfast and brunch-focused, with ham and egg biscuit sandwiches, cured salmon tartines, flatbreads, salads, and braised beef with grits. Chef Mike Law earned his stripes at acclaimed Capitol Hill restaurants such as The Wandering Goose and Sitka and Spruce, and many of the ingredients are sourced from local farms, including Tuk Muk in the Sammamish Valley.
Taking over the space formerly occupied by the faux “indie” Starbucks cafe Roy Street Coffee and Tea, which closed last year, Rapport has a sizable patio and dining room, and has online preordering for to-go items, including drinks (old fashioneds, wine spritzes, and beer from popular local breweries like Holy Mountain, Urban Family and Stoup Brewing). All proceeds from the opening will go to the nonprofit organization FareStart.
But the wall of self-pour taps may be the aspect that sets the place apart, once that’s practical. Such a concept isn’t completely new to Seattle — Buckley’s in Belltown had self-pour beer taps a few years ago, and a Chicago-based self-pour bar called Tapster has been in the works for South Lake Union — yet it’s rare.
Rapport is probably making the right call in waiting to roll that system out, since such high-touch areas do not seem safe at the moment, no matter how many sanitizing protocols are in place. Reducing face-to-face contact between staff and customers may be appealing for the future, though.