Music / Nightlife
The First Cut Is the Deepest: Initial Impressions of Revolver
by Dave Segal
on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 3:14 PM
Walking into the new Capitol Hill bar Revolver on the occasion of its soft opening last night and hearing Heart’s “Magic Man” seemed almost too auspicious. How can you not feel magnificent entering a boisterous drinking establishment as one of that Seattle group’s most sublime moments fills the air?
Top-shelf wax and booze.
The thing that immediately strikes you about Revolver—located in the space previously occupied by Dinette and owned by Electrokitty Recording Studio honcho Gary Reynolds—are all the records on the shelves above the liquor selections. They look well used and the grooves probably have been worn down to a Goldmine rating of “good.” Know that they will be played, one side at a time, throughout the bar’s operating hours.
The next thing that hits you is the extremely inviting retro vibe—all deep earth-toned walls, soft amber lighting, ’60s-looking stools, circular mirrors (transferred from the recently closed Radar Hair & Records) and woodwork that subtly hints at tiki (expertly rendered by Castor Construction's Gabe Behrend, who’s also built out Unicorn, Nacho Borracho, and Central Pizza). Revolver’s style is cool, but it’s an understated cool, and therefore cooler than most. A friend said he likes bars at which you can imagine Lee Hazlewood drinking, and Revolver meets this criterion. All of this adds up to a space that’s more about deep cuts than Top 40 hits. All of this adds up to a space that will make dbags feel uncomfortable. Thankfully.
Perhaps the most idiosyncratic touch in Revolver is in the most unlikely spot: the bathrooms. In there you’ll find the walls papered with 7-inch 45 sleeves from various labels, including Deram, Buddah, Capitol, Roulette, Motown, and Trouble in Mind. The urge is to nerd out on the details of these major- and indie-label sleeves, but try not to, as other full-bladdered patrons probably won’t be amused with your trainspotting.
Revolver's bathroom walls are a trainspotter's delight.
Last night the big crowd featured many local-music scenesters, and the staff had a few of them, too, including bar manager Clarita Hinojosa and DJ Stevie Dee. I didn’t have any food off the Creole-heavy menu, but the vegan jambalaya looks promising. The drink menu has a diverse and interesting-looking array of cocktails and beers, but for this teetotaler, encountering a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice is a surprising goddamn blessing. I'm calling it already: Revolver’s OJ rivals the Triple Door’s for best in the city.
Some of the records heard during my couple of hours at Revolver were Devo’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges, and something by what sounded like a 21st-century American garage band. I’m looking forward to going back.