February 5, 2021, BELLEVUE, Wash. – Chef John Howie announced the opening of Whiskey by John Howie, a new establishment featuring global selections of rare and well done whiskies with something for everyone – from the curious to the connoisseur. Whiskey boasts a collection of hundreds of bottles that were thoughtfully assembled by Whiskey’s in-house curator Tim Lodahl, and features a unique menu of delightful bar bites with new and favorite tastes crafted by proprietor John Howie and executive chef Jed Laprade.
Located adjacent to John Howie Steak and inside The Shops at The Bravern, Whiskey by John Howie is the fruition of a Pacific Northwest-inspired bar that Chef Howie has envisioned for several years. The intimate 1,420 square foot space features rich, dark woods complemented by dark brick and gold accents that give the bar a comfortable, stylish feel. Hundreds of rare and sought after whiskey titles are elegantly displayed and are sure to be the start of abundant whiskey conversations.
“I have become very interested in spirits, especially whiskey, over the past several years. Through my experiences creating private barrels with Kentucky distilleries and as co-owner of Wildwood Spirits Co. in Bothell, I have come to appreciate the complexity of a good whiskey,” commented Proprietor/Chef John Howie. “Nothing beats discovering and sharing a really special bottle with friends so, for me, showcasing extraordinary whiskey finds at a beautiful and welcoming establishment of my own design is a dream come true!”
Tim Lodahl, who curated Whiskey’s bottle collection and cocktail menu, is passionate about sharing his love for and knowledge of whiskey. In the future, expect opportunities for whiskey education and perhaps even a blog. In the meantime, Lodahl is eager to share Whiskey’s vast library of rare and sought-after whiskeys that has been eleven years in the making. A few of his favorites include:
- Rare Perfection 25 Year Bourbon –Originally exclusive to the Japanese market, Rare Perfection is a bourbon that has been sourced and bottled for several decades. Marci Palatella was Julian Van Winkle III’s agent in the Japanese market which helped him secure the bottling of Rare Perfection at his Old Commonwealth distillery. The Van Winkle partnership with Sazerac in the early 2000’s ended this agreement and the production of bottles moved to Willett distillery.
- Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Giant Oak 23 Year – Buffalo Trace has been experimenting for decades. It currently has more than 30,000 experimental barrels aging in its warehouses. American Whiskey usually ages in 53 gallon oak barrels but this selection matured in 135 gallon barrels. This barrel was crafted from French oak that previously held wine. This whiskey was aged in warehouse K.
- Kaiyo Private Selection Japanese Whisky – This is our first private barrel selection of Japanese Whisky. It is produced from 100 percent malted barley and comes un-chillfiltered. This whiskies first maturation was 3 Years in Mizunara barrels. Second maturation took part at sea for three months and final maturation took place in a 225 liter barrel for two to five years. We are thrilled to add this to our private barrel collection.
- The Dark Door – This bourbon from Wildwood Spirits Co. in Bothell (co-owned by Chef Howie and master distiller and John Howie Restaurants partner Erik Liedholm) is handcrafted in small batches using locally sourced organic and non-GMO ingredients. Aged to perfection in carefully selected barrels, this bourbon is rich with aromatic and flavor components, displaying confectionary notes of caramel, vanilla and brown sugar with lifted floral notes.
The Whiskey cocktail menu includes numerous signature drinks showcasing various types of whisky, whiskey, bourbon, scotch and rye. A few of the many craft cocktails worth spotlighting include:
- Rye Didn’t You Call – Hudson Manhattan Rye Private Selection, Woodford Reserve Private Selection, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Giffard Orgeat, Germain-Robin Absinthe Superieur, Aromatic Bitters
- Rockin’ Robin – Redbreast 12 Year, Bonal Gentiane-Quina, Demerara Sugar, Park Pineau des Charentes
- Its Not You Its Westland – Westland Peated, Plantation OFTD, Giffard Vanille de Madagascar, Coconut Cream
The Whiskey food menu features a variety of expected, and splendidly unexpected, house made culinary delights that will pair well with the signature drink specialties. Some of the featured bar bites include:
- Tempura Fried Kurobuta Bacon, crispy golden tempura, Kurobuta bacon, maple-sambal dipping sauce
- Pickleback Deviled Eggs, creamy & spicy egg, fresh dill, house pickles
- Chicken Liver Mousse, pickled shallot, boozy cherries, grilled crostini
- Truffled Mushroom Popcorn, extra large popcorn buttons, butter, black truffle
- Wagyu Brisket Flatbread, slow braised Wagyu beef brisket, Makers Mark BBQ sauce, red onion, Jack & Gouda cheeses
- Hummus, roasted garlic, tahini, preserved lemon, fried chickpeas, roasted carrots, flatbread
- Butternut Squash Flatbread, maple roasted butternut squash, bourbon braised sweet onion, chipotle cream sauce, ancho chili powder, goat cheese
- Mac & Cheese, Kurubota bacon, smoked gouda, fontina, caramelized onion, parmesan & frizzled onions
- The Burger at Whiskey, 10oz. house ground prime chuck burger, bourbon braised sweet onions, Rogue blue cheese, Kurobuta bacon, house baked bun, burger sauce, lettuce, tomato
- Bourbon Caramel Corn, bourbon, vanilla, mushroom popcorn
Whiskey’s Covid-19 Considerations, Prevention + Protocols
Whiskey by John Howie was planned prior to the onset of Covid-19, and it has been a longtime dream of Chef John Howie to share his love of whiskey. While opening a bar during a global pandemic is obviously less than ideal, a lot of thought has gone into how to safely operate this type of establishment during such an unusual time.
Washington State’s Healthy Washington and Roadmap to Recovery in Phase Two allows bars to open at 25 percent capacity, as long as food is served and there is no seating at the actual bar. This means capacity and seating at Whiskey will change as Washington State moves through the phases to eventually seat 48 people at tables and up to 62 people when bar seating can be added. Additionally, Whiskey will be available as a private dining event space that will accommodate approximately 60 people when larger gatherings are permitted.
Whiskey by John Howie takes the prevention of Covid-19 seriously, and the safety of guests and employees is priority number one. As with all John Howie Restaurants, Whiskey installed air scrubbers, which remove 99 percent of all air, surface, viral and bacterial contaminants. Additionally, Whiskey strictly follows all CDC procedures and guidelines, including vigilant cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces occurring constantly. All high-touch areas are treated with an anti-viral sanitizer called DC33, an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant. Additionally, all crew members are washing hands regularly, wearing masks + gloves and practicing social distancing.
Whiskey by John Howie is located at The Shops at The Bravern, 11111 NE 8th Street in Bellevue. To start, Whiskey will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 4:00-9:00 p.m. Don’t miss the Whiskey Hour, nightly from 4:00-6:00 p.m., featuring popular items from the beverage and food menus. Whiskey will initially offer walk-in seating but eventually tables will be available for reservation during the dinner hour, and days plus hours of operation will expand as time goes on.