Happy Hour: French-accented charm at Gainsbourg
A taste of France at the Gainsbourg in Greenwood.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mapping Happy Hour
Explore our recent happy hour reviews
Tan Vinh, features reporter and happy hour columnist, has visited some of the hottest happy hours in town. Read recent reviews, see photos and more by exploring our Happy Hour Map.
Happy Hour |
I pulled back the drapes, and the first thing I saw in the open kitchen in the French-inspired bar Gainsbourg was a pound of butter melting in a pan. That's one way to christen a new kitchen, I quipped to friends.
Gainsbourg is the modest, sexy bar in Greenwood that recently reopened after a December kitchen fire. The owners rebuilt the open kitchen and also remodeled, adding a bigger bar and more seats.
It's one of the more romantic bars in the north end — dimly lit, casual and charming, despite its mishmash of used office furniture, antiques and recycled wood along with its mismatched dinnerware and utensils. The informality makes the bar feel more homey, less stuffy.
Edith Piaf croons out of the speakers. Godard's and other French new-wave flicks play in the background.
Even without happy hour, prices are reasonable, with most items under $10: French comfort food — Croque Monsieur and steak frites — along with some faux French — Gruyere mac and cheese and a French dip sandwich.
During happy hour, everyone orders the $6 Gainsbourger, a nicely charred beef-and-lamb patty topped with caramelized onions and Dijon on a toasted baguette. The extra buck for a mound of Gruyere makes it tastes 10 times better. You will also want to shell out the 50 cents for a side of rich tarragon rémoulade to dip with the fries ($2).
There are glorious chunks of blue cheese and walnuts in the roasted beet salad ($4), but too little acidity to cut into all that richness.
And never underestimate the power of the baguette. Use it to mop up the garlic-herb butter sauce from the escargots ($3).
Cocktails are simple, two-to-three ingredient affairs that just seem more sophisticated when you give them French names. Or maybe it was all the tunes sung with a French accent in the background.
Gainsbourg, 8550 Greenwood Ave. N., offers happy hour daily, including all day on Monday and on other days from 4-6 p.m., and 11 p.m.-closing. Bar food $2-$6 and $2 off on well drinks and $1 off on beer, wine and specialty cocktails (206-783-4004 or gainsbourglounge.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.