By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
When you walk into the space at 4539 California SW, you’ll notice foldable canvas chairs at the tables by the front window. Temporary placeholders for furniture yet to arrive? No, they’re intentional. “They’re really sturdy!” insist two of the proprietors, Toni Uy and Patrick Haight, presiding over ongoing preparations and training when we visited Thursday afternoon, 5 months after we first reported the plan for the space.
Then there’s what you’ll get for water on your table – not a glass carafe, but a metal Thermos.
If you’re drinking something harder, the cocktail might have a name like One-Eyed Squirrel (aloe, vodka, lime juice, and a decorative eyeball, a favorite at Camp West’s sibling in Tacoma, Camp Bar). Plan to pair your drink with food? Unique items include the Snackle Box, a mini-tackle box stocked with meat, cheese, olives, and bread.
Next to it in our photo is one of the mini-grills deliverable to tabletops for roast-it-yourself S’mores.
But let’s broaden the perspective for a moment, as, unless you hadn’t visited the space before, you’ll be mentally comparing at first:
One thing prominently absent in that view – the railing down the middle, removed in the remodel, no longer needed because Camp West is 21+. The north wall is now lined with booths, and the wall over them sports faux greenery, except for the section nearest the front, which is decorated with a variety of items from antlers to an axe to this photo of a well-known West Seattleite camping:
Over the front tables, the south wall has a mural by Andrew Miller, who also painted the one on the alley behind Camp West. That goes up to the bar, which features unique lantern-style lighting:
The focus there (see the beverage menu online) is on signature and classic cocktails, with a “heavy whiskey selection.” (And more whimsical names, like Sweaty Lumberjack.) You also will find four beers on tap – including of course the locally renowned Manny’s – plus a selection of canned beverages, even the 16-ounce Rainier.
At the back of Camp West, you’ll find a tent – seating 8+ for a semi-private celebration spot.
The back is also where there eventually be one lone video screen, not for sports or entertainment, but to support the rustic/outdoor ambience – skiing videos, old Rainier Beer commercials, etc.
In addition to the aforementioned Snackle Box and S’mores, Camp West has a broader menu than its Tacoma sibling – “a lot fancier” is how Haight puts it, but not too fancy. You can see the food menu online too – from burgers and other sandwiches to entrees including seared steelhead and mushroom cassoulet. Camp West has brought “a lot of new equipment” to the kitchen.
So the big question – when will they open? Right now they’re training staff via “friends and family” sessions. Then they’ll open to the public somewhat gradually, with the plan to be fully open by Wednesday, November 23. Hours for starters will be 4-10 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4-midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 4-9 pm Sundays, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.