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January 9th, 2013 MATTHEW KORFHAGE | Bar Reviews
 

Pix Patisserie: Champagne Wishes

clublist_barvivant_3910BAR VIVANT - IMAGE: nataliebehring.com

Near cases bursting with a rainbow of decadent macarons and $3 eau de vie-filled chocolates, patrons at the new Pix Patisserie location (2225 E Burnside St., 271-7166, pixpatisserie.com) can sift through 11 pages of Champagnes—in prices ascending from a dainty $29 demi to a $1,200 large-format Bollinger Grande Année—before deigning to turn pages onto mere midlist sparkling wines or an admirably broad selection of Belgian Trappist ales (served, sadly, in the wrong glassware). But Pix’s Cheryl Wakerhauser’s new, somewhat fussy tapas-bar concept Bar Vivant also uneasily shares this space. The liquors and beers are housed on one side of a massive ovoid bar; the tapas are all the way on the other, and one must walk 30 feet around to the case to order. Tapas are, of course, commonly ordered standing up in Spain, but one does so while ordering a beer, in a lively space brimming with music. Amid dampened swells of soft jazz and quiet huddles of seated patrons, the mood at Bar Vivant can be a bit churchlike—right down to the occasional gawking high-school tourist group—and one almost feels the need to whisper while eating its rich, low-cost Spanish tortillas, bacon-wrapped dates in maple syrup, or lovely butterflied mackerel. As one might expect from Pix, the fine details are well attended to. But the big picture, unfortunately, is ill-composed. The mood’s a bit tense—and made even tenser by a confusing setup.

 
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