“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” - Mark Twain
by Ashley Roe
- For The Capitol Hill Times -
Restaurant duo Brian McCracken and Dana Tough will soon be opening their fourth establishment, The Old Sage, on 12th Avenue next to their ever-popular Tavern Law.
“Since Sage means wise man, there’s been a lot of inspiration from both of our grandfathers,” Tough said. “We both look up to them as wise old men.”
Still about five weeks out from opening, the ambiance of the 85-seater will have a mixed feel between Tavern Law and their first gastropub, Spur, in Belltown.
“The space itself will have a loungey cabin feel with an urban twist,” McCracken said. “But the huge back bar is a major focal point to the design.”
While a large comfortable sofa area will help secure the lounge feel, natural elements like live edge wood, an array of leathers, and concrete floors and columns will help slate the vibe McCracken and Tough are hoping to create.
Incandescent lighting with ambient glow of candles will also help set the bar’s atmosphere.
“Right now, it’s looking pretty raw in [The Old Sage] because we’ve had to do a lot of demolition work,” Tough said. “We needed to clean up a lot of electrical work and we’re currently installing a hood system for the kitchen.”
Even though they’re still finalizing the menu, potential customers can expect a smoked meat small plate and malt concept.
“Just by the size of the food, customers should be able to go in and order three to four dishes between two people,” Tough said.
The star of the menu, the meats, will all be cooked in a wood fire oven to get a high temperature caramelization.
“Each meat is going to be prepared with old world techniques, that aren’t trendy but have stuck around for years,” Tough said. “It will have a slight modern approach too, making it a good mix of the two concepts.”
The smoked meats are said to not be the typical smoked items like barbeque or pastrami that people are typically familiar with.
Tough talked in detail about a lightly cured and smoked Hamachi dish, which will be on the menu.
“Hamachi is a really delicate fish, but ours ends up with a texture and aroma similar to ham,” Tough said. “We’re smoking the Hamachi with hickory, which brings out the American country ham flavor.”
A focus on seasonal vegetables and bread made to order will round out the food menu.
Even though prices have not been set, Tough said the food will have a good price point and a great value for what the dishes are going to be.
“The drink choices are focused on pairing well with the smoked meats that we’re going to be making,” Tough said.
McCracken and Tough have slated the The Old Sage as a malt whiskey and beer-centric bar, with American single malts and local beers as the highlights.
“Out of all our places, The Old Sage is probably going to be our most beer-focused bar,” Tough said.
McCracken and Tough see opening The Old Sage as a comfortable and natural move.
The Old Sage and Tavern Law are located in the same complex, just like how McCracken and Tough’s other two establishments in Belltown, Spur Gastropub and The Coterie Room, are in close proximity to each other.
“We’re kind of implementing the same system we’re running in Belltown,” McCracken said. “We’ve seen a lot of benefits from having the places so close to each other, like sharing a storage space and some of the management team. It seemed like a good fit.”
The duo is excited to present a new addition to the 12th Avenue area, which they believe is gaining popularity by the minute.
“We’re looking forward to growing 12th Ave.,” Tough said. “The space has been empty for quite a while now. It feels good when all retail businesses are functioning and open; it adds a good life to a neighborhood.”
The Old Sage
1410 12th Ave.