Last night was another cocktail club meeting. It was M2′s turn to pick a place and she chose the recently opened Twilight Martini Lounge located in the little zone between The Market and Belltown on Western Avenue. I was happy this was her choice as R and I had been lucky enough to be invited to their opening party in April (okay, really it was that R was lucky enough and she brought me along….) but we hadn’t been back since.
On opening night the place was about 1/3 the size it is today. Soon after the original bar was conceived and planned the tenant at the south end of the building ended their lease and the bar’s owners decided to also take that space. The night of the opening I happened to sit next to the architect and heard all about the plans they had for expansion into the additional space. I have to say they did a really wonderful job!
The bar itself is large – plenty of room for individuals or groups to gather around it’s generous countertops. Small seating arrangements are scattered throughout the rest of the space – cushy love seats, leather chairs, portable round ottomans, which lend themselves to being carted from one table to the next – all provide a cozy, intimate set of spaces for friends to gather and settle in to spend a little time. Where seating areas come a little close to each other, the ever ubiquitous Seattle-scene, gauzy curtains can be pulled out to provide a feeling of privacy.
This was a rather quiet Monday – groups of people came and went during our time there. It’s hard to say what the place is like on a weekend night. It’s in just enough of an "out-of-sight" location that it might be overlooked. On the other hand, it’s really just 1/2 block from Belltown Billiards and Medusa (which rumor has it has been sold but will remain as is for some time) and a full block away from many popular Belltown establishments so it may end up drawing quite a crowd.
Instead of going with the normal play by play of our orders and drinks I’m going to do more of a summary this time. Our first trip here we found the cocktails to be rather fluorescent and the idea seemed to be to make one in every color of the rainbow. The Twilight is currently undergoing a menu change (they are switching their showcase vodka from Absolut to Stoli) and now have much more traditional – in that non-traditional way – cocktails on the menu. At least on the happy hour menu which we managed to catch the last 5 or 10 minutes of. Who knows what the final menu change will look like?
Over the course of the night the four of us; M2, R, BEE, and I tested the Twilight on drinks found in most establishments today. The G & Ts were pronounced "good"; we were pleasantly surprised that the Lemon Drops, while probably not made with fresh lemon juice, were at least of the sweet/tart variety not the way-too-sweet variety that we often find. They were decent. The Hefeweisen was, well Hefeweisen, and was properly served with a lemon – not being a beer drinker even trying to be creative with beer descriptions is rather challenging for me! I’ll have to work on that. :-) A Vodka martini with a twist was perfectly chilled with just a hint of floating ice chips and a Cosmo was also pronounced "good". Overall they did pretty well with the cocktails! This was a nice surprise after our first experience – sometimes places just need a little time to settle into themselves.
The food on the other hand was hit or miss – although we only tried two items. The Twilight Pizza had a pre-made, previously frozen, chewy and boring base for a crust; the sauce was canned; but the fresh basil and chicken were nice notes. The Spinach and Artichoke Dip was pretty decent and was certainly a generous portion, considering this was a Happy Hour offering. There were a few other items on the Happy Hour menu that would be worth exploring.
I’ll most likely go back again. I like the feel of the space, the people are very nice, the drinks passable and during Happy Hour are decently priced and the food won’t kill you! Not necessarily a "must-see" place but comfortable, and sometimes that’s all you need.
By the way – don’t confuse this with the Twilight Exit on Madison – it’s not the same place!
The Twilight Martini Lounge
2125 Western Ave