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Secretive Seattle speakeasy, a Capitol Hill favorite, reopens better than ever

One hundred years ago, Americans were recovering from the Spanish flu pandemic. Folks were ditching their masks and prepared to venture out and party. With the start of Prohibition ironically coinciding with the Roaring 20’s, speakeasies became popular, underground establishments. Adults of all social classes would gather in these secret establishments to enjoy delicious, yet illegal, cocktails in a festive atmosphere.

The mystery and allure of the speakeasy still remains 100 years later as Seattle residents ease back into social life after more than a year of self-isolation. Fortunately, imbibing is no longer considered lawless, and local speakeasies like Knee High Stocking Company are back in business, shaking up incredible cocktails with forward-thinking culinary inspiration.

“We're one of the first speakeasies in Seattle that incorporated mixology techniques into our drinks,” said Pamela Carpio, co-founder and owner of Knee High Stocking Company. “We committed to the style and art of the high-brow cocktailing scene.”

Mixology, the modern version of bartending, is considered the refined craft of mixing drinks. Many mixologists consider themselves artists who contribute to the study of bartending by creating unique, innovative cocktails. Many put new spins on historical drinks and techniques, making them both historians and inventors. One of their goals is to bring back the higher standards of cocktail culture from earlier days.

A minority, female and family-owned business founded in Seattle, Knee High Stocking Company continues this cocktail revival and expands their offerings to focus more on their American comfort food, fused with Filipino flavors and ingredients.

“We're going to keep our high-end cocktail mixology concept, and add some additional flair with outdoor seating and our walk-up window,” said Carpio. "We are opening at 7 a.m. for coffee, pastries, soup and other selections. We will open the food window again at night for our Filipino/American food. I think there will be a strong, vibrant party atmosphere for the foreseeable future and we will definitely be a part of that vibe.”

According to Carpio, Knee High Stocking Co. has served over a half million customers since opening our doors in 2007. Carpio and her co-owner and sister, Michelle Valko, also introduced gastropub dishes to complement their delicious libations. Their Filipino-American comfort food is prepared to offer a delicate balance of sweet-salty flavors to pair with their unique seasonal cocktail menus.

“My sister and I were born in the Midwest so we love American comfort foods,” said Carpio. “About three years ago, we had this idea to add Filipino ingredients and flavors, and it’s been a real niche. We're also launching a coffee, pastry, and soup window when we get our French casement window done.”

Check out Knee High Stocking Co. and be transported into a 1920’s style establishment. Give their “Fili Phill,” cheese steak with Filipino steak tapa a try, or the pork adobo with grass fed regional pork. Two off-the-charts cocktails are the Purple Haze and the Yellow Rose. Scotch lovers will enjoy the “Thank You for Smoking” cocktail. For adventurous absinthe lovers, try the “Lady in the Streets.” Then call an Uber for the ride home!

“Cocktailing will continue to be important and we are taking it to a new level by being more visible,” said Carpio. “The concept of hiding in plain sight is something we continue to do. While we move onto something fresher and brighter, we'll still have a very high-brow cocktail mixology concept, yet now we are equally focused on our heritage food. I think people are ready to be out and about and visible to one other. When the pandemic is behind us, I look forward to a very vibrant, party atmosphere along the streets.”

Knee High Stocking Co. is located at 1356 E Olive Way in Capitol Hill. Reservations by text are highly recommended for dine-in. To reserve your spot, text 206-979-7049. Want to support more small businesses like Knee High? We're proud to collaborate with Intentionalist, an online guide that makes it easier for you to find/connect with diverse local businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, members of the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities.