Coqktail Club – Ibiza Dinner Club, Seattle
On Monday the 21st, the Cocktail Club met at Ibiza Dinner Club. Ibiza opened just two or three months ago on the edge of Pioneer Square. We didn’t know much about it but from the outside it looked pretty swanky and we knew they served tapas.
I got their a little late but easily found the group. Mostly because there were only a ten or twelve people in the lounge, although there was a large group in the dining room. The one-room interior has been turned into a series of smaller spaces through the use of floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains. (It reminds me a lot of the Blue Door Restaurant in the Delano Hotel in South Beach.) It provides a nice effect of intimacy while still being able to see into other areas. The lounge is filled with cushy loveseats, small armchairs and those little leather cubes that seem to have found their way into so many new spaces (both public and private!).
The bar sits at the back of the room straddling both the lounge and the dining area. It’s a large round bar that would be great for people watching on nights when the place is full.
When I arrived the group was sampling a variety of drinks. JB had a standard G&T made with well gin. We didn’t ask what their well was but he said it was a decent drink. JH and R both had a Porinatax Pisco Sour, which we all liked – it was well mixed but you knew you were having a cocktail! K was into a Pineapple Drop. I would have thought "too sweet" but it really was quite nice. Good pineapple flavor but a good balance with the fresh sour and lemon made it quite quaffable! I decided to start with a Chocolate Nut. It sounded rather dessert-ish but the description was too good to pass up. It’s a mix of Hazelnut Espresso Vodka (is their any flavor vodka does not come in these days?) and Stoli Vanil shaken with a splash of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and served with a few chocolate shavings. Really quite lovely and not that desserty, except that it’s chocolate!
The second round brought a few new choices. JB went with the "Classic" Spanish Coffee – there are three Spanish Coffees on the menu. This order prompted quite a discussion about variations on Spanish Coffee and Coffee drinks in general. And, of course, I had to again recount my story about looking for Coffee Drinks in Chicago and finally finding them when they opened the Cheesecake Factory. (I’m getting to be such an old geezer!) JH and R ordered Manzanita Martinis made with green apple liqueur. This was also a finely crafted cocktail! K stayed with her Pineapple drop and I went for a second Chocolate Nut.
We were all pretty impressed with the drinks. Their mixtures are creative yet stick to traditional methods. Even though they add flavorful elements they are not sweet drinks – what a nice surprise that was! And even though we were not watching the bartender, he seemed to really put together well-made drinks. We like that!
There was only one thing that none of us especially liked. While the restrooms are his-and-hers the sinks (and mirrors) are communal. There is a large full length mirror in the ladies’ room (and I believe they said there was one in the men’s room, too) but on a crowded night you’re not going to be able to check makeup or to make sure there’s nothing caught in your teeth – just not enough room. So you’ll need to do those tasks in full view of anyone coming and going to the restroom. But that’s not the worst part. Several of the sinks are viewable from the bar AND from the dining room! Just a little too hip for good taste.
When we left I accidentally left behind my little notebook so I made a trip back down the following day, which allowed me to also check the Happy Hour offerings. They have a special Happy Hour menu with about fifteen tapas choices. The prices range from $2.45 – $3.45. Many sound interesting but I was only able to try two. The Jamon Serrano was good, had a great presentation but was really about a bite and a half. I really liked the roasted grapes served with it! I also tried their Pork Emapanadillas. They were flavorful and the crust was nice and flaky. The pork was so ground, though, that I could have been eating flavored soy for all I know. I still thought it was tasty, though.
I believe they have Happy Hour drinks however when I asked to see wine by the glass I was given the regular menu. As I was leaving another patron was having trouble selecting a wine and the bartender offered the "Happy Hour Wine". Hmmm – something to look into next time.
At Happy Hour the "crowd" (okay the seven people who were there) were all in the 45+ age group. At night I’m sure the crowd is in their late twenties/early thirties primarily, so take your pick at the time of day/night you’ll fit in. :-)
I really like the feel of this place and I think they have good drinks. And it seems like the food has potential from the tapas I tried. I’ll be back but not on a real regular basis. I think the drinks are about $1 higher than they should be and that will tend to make me think of other places first.
Ibiza Dinner Club
528 2nd Ave @ James St
Happy Hour 4:00 – 6:00
Dinner 5:00 – ?