It was my birthday last Friday, and Robert and I celebrated with cocktails at Knee High Stocking Co. This secretive, speakeasy-themed bar has only been open for a few months but has already gained some pretty serious buzz. Knee High can be tricky to find – it is in an odd location and doesn’t have much in the way of a sign (the name is written in tiny lettering above the doorbell.) In true speakeasy style, you must ring the bell in order to be let in. This was somewhat intimidating for us, but our fears quickly subsided as Jack, the owner, greeted us warmly at the door and led us through the dark, intimate space to two lovely seats at the bar.

Upon entering Knee High, I was immediately struck with the impression that they are going for something different here. Dim lighting, a curtained entryway, chandeliers and candles and an ornate absinthe fountain all contribute to the elegant and seductive atmosphere. Greg, the bartender, was dressed up in a vest and tie – you certainly don’t see that every day in Seattle. House rules (discreetly listed on the back of the menu) are meant to keep the experience special for everyone: no cell phones, no hovering at the bar and – our personal favorite – to please use a quiet tone.

Interspersed throughout the cocktail and food menu are interesting tidbits on the history of various spirits (the current menu features background information on Pimm and Absinthe; look for a piece on Galliano on a future menu.) Not surprisingly, the cocktail specials are either classics from the prohibition era or new concoctions inspired by old-fashioned ingredients. As is the current trend, you won’t find much vodka on the list. Instead, the focus is on lesser known spirits such as Lillet Blanc, Liquore Strega and St. Germain. Knee High also makes a daily punch bowl (not to be confused with the kool-aid laden punches we all experienced as kids, true punch has a long history and is actually a precursor to the modern cocktail.)

Robert started off with the St. James Cooler, a refreshing blend of bourbon, St. Germain, soda, mint and lemon. I had the Hemingway Cocktail which features Bacardi rum, grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur and lime. After discussing our likes and dislikes with Greg, we felt comfortable letting him choose our next drink for us. For Robert, he mixed up a variation on the Corpse Reviver Cocktail using gin, St. Germain, Lillet Blanc and lemon juice. Upon tasting samples of Liquore Strega, Campari and Cynar, I decided I wanted a drink based on Cynar if only because it is made from artichokes and I find that rather fascinating. Greg proceeded to make me a twist on the classic Negroni using gin, sweet vermouth and Cynar in place of Campari. Knowing that I enjoy citrus flavors, he swirled some orange bitters in the glass before filling it – a nice touch.

Our visit to Knee High Stocking Co. was one of the best bar experiences I’ve had in a long time. I’m convinced that Greg is the friendliest bartender in Seattle. We chatted with him the entire time, and I learned a lot about cocktails and spirits I’d never heard of before. Personal service, a cozy atmosphere, shockingly reasonable prices (cocktails start at $5) and an education – what more could one ask for? The only downside is that this place makes you want to keep drinking and never stop. Knee High – you made me one happy birthday girl!

Knee High Stocking Co. is located at 1356 E Olive Way (between Bellevue & Melrose) and is open every day, except Monday, starting at 6:00 PM.

2 Comments »

  1. oooooo, this place sounds mysterious… thanks for writing about it – the cocktails sound delicious!

    Comment by AnnieTwoBraids — June 17, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  2. Hi Annie! You should definitely check this place out. But first you should come to a knit night – we miss you!

    Comment by elliemay — June 19, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

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