Europhiles around Seattle head to the arcades and alleys in and around Pike Place Market for some of the city’s best French, Italian, Spanish, and German dining and provisions. DeLaurenti’s and The Spanish Table are the spots for Italian and Spanish specialties, Le Pichet honors classic French bistro fare, and Bavarian Meats and Uli’s Famous Sausage offer great German food. JarrBar is the latest euro-centric spot to add to the list, with its laser focus on bringing a touch of the Iberian peninsula to the Pacific Northwest.
Proprietor Bryan Jarr has a reputation for bringing innovation and experimentation to the Seattle restaurant scene. With former projects, Tako Truk and Madison Park Conservatory, he filled gaps in dining landscape. And now, with his eponymous JarrBar, he’s done it again. The diminutive space has a menu laser-focused on Spanish small plates, imported beer and wine, and smoked and cured seafood.
Located on Western Avenue, just steps from the Pike Hill Climb – a 100-plus staircase connecting the heart of Pike Place Market with the Seattle waterfront – JarrBar has tables tables in the front of the restaurant under floor-to-ceiling windows, and of seats along the bar and galley-style kitchen in the back. Shelves are stocked with Spanish and Portuguese wines and European spirits and aperitifs, while two taps feature a rotating local craft beer along with imported Estrella Damm, a crisp lager from Spain. A leg of jamon Iberico anchors one end of the bar.
The menu at JarrBar includes ubiquitous Spanish, tapas-style snacks like Marcona almonds, olives, and cured meats, such as the Iberico ham. A highlight of the menu however, are the cured, smoked or otherwise preserved seafood from importer Matiz. Served in the tin, accompanied by sea salt, spices, or sauces, the salty snacks are the perfect after-work nosh, and pair well with the carefully crafted cocktails on the list, or an imported wine, such as Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine. Happy hour is offered after work (4pm to 6pm), from 10pm to close, and all day on Sunday. Deals include a couple dollars off any “tin,” as well as select wine, beer, cider and bubbly for $4 to $6.
Jarr, who is friends with the proprietors of Pike Place Fish Market (yes, the ones tossing the fish just up the stairs from JarrBar), partnered with them to co-author their cookbook In the Kitchen with the Pike Place Fish Guys. When the idea for a Spanish-style bar was percolating in his mind, he headed on a research trip to Spain and Portugal. “I researched the ways they dealt with preserved seafood on the trip,:” Jarr explained. “While there I fell in love with the small bars found throughout the area. You could always get amazing jamon and anchovies and something to drink. I loved the simplicity of those places.” Now, at JarrBar, after a long work week, or just a day of sightseeing around the city, you can have a taste of Spain and Portugal in the heart of Seattle.