Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
On her first try, Percy's & Co. general manager Lauren Thompson described the bar as what would happen if a juice bar and a real bar had a baby. Actually, it is more like what would happen if a Chinese herbalist's shop and a farmers' market had a baby, which was then plopped down to play in a slow Southern bar. The dark brick walls, heavy-framed mirrors, and abundance of greenery give the space a bit of a Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil feel, with no hint of the dive bar Percy's replaced.
Plants seem to grow out of the walls at Percy's, hanging from rafters and off the back of the bar. Herbs (which are grown on the roof) are displayed in glass along the bar, and play a prominent role in many of the drinks. Joe Petersen, who developed the bar menu with his cousin Kyle Taylor, credits seasonality and whatever's fresh as inspiration for the drinks, but that leaves out a few things.
It leaves out the duo's experience in bars in New York, working at Apotheke with bartenders like Nic O'Connor, Isidro Gutierrez, and David Clelland, whose influences can be seen in the experimental nature of the cocktail menu. (Joe Petersen wondered, for example, "What would happen if we made an avocado-pepper cocktail?") It leaves out their friendship with (and education from) the proprietress of Chinese herb shop Sun's Organic Garden. The tinctures that can be added to any drink at Percy's were inspired by the time the pair spent learning about Chinese herbs and teas.
Dandelion Botanical Company—an actual apothecary—down the street produces the tinctures in collaboration with Percy's, but nearly everything else is made in house, from sour mix ("It's like our pepper—it flavors nearly everything," Thompson says) to infused liquors. The sour is included in most of cocktails, whose ingredients read like a garden: strawberries, cherries, avocados, and parsley all make appearances. Head to the slideshow to see how that plays out in the drinks at Percy's & Co. »
About the author: Naomi Bishop is a Seattle based food and travel writer. Find her wandering through words and worlds on her blog, TheGastroGnome, where she claims that being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Follow her explorations of cooking and culture around the world at @GastroGnome. Get restaurant suggestions and locate local eats in the Northwest from her app, Unique Eats of the Northwest.