Welcome to the neighborhood, Vault Martini. How do you do?
Occupying the space that once showcased expensive Italian scooters, Vault retains no air of the former salesroom. The decorating scheme is something of a postmodern interior-design mullet: high ceilings and exposed plumbing on top, slick trimmings on bottom. In other words, a classic style that's back en vogue.
That the room makes a perfect cube means the booths in the corners are the most intimate places to enjoy a drink. There's also a hotel-lobby feel in the fireplace and four slightly stuffed lounge chairs, and cushy mauve benches and taller stools offer chances to slide into conversation and a cocktail.
And about those cocktails--these are the grand prize, the treasure, if you will, stored inside the vault. Making a decision about just one could be daunting, as the drink menu comes with a table of contents. But it isn't: Vault's inspired cocktail combos are just as fun to read (there's a Seven Deadly Sins chapter, and each drink comes with a snappy description) as they are to drink.
Vault rewards adventurous tastebuds. Many drinks are made with gooey spirits, including the Carnival Girl, Popular and Resurrection, all made with Godiva chocolate liqueurs. Despite that fireplace, there are drinks on this menu that anticipate the warm weather to come: Cucumber drinks, lemongrass-stuffed margaritas and even one called Raspberry Bee Sting make one long for the longer days of summer. And unlike many fancy drink houses around town, Vault's drinks and martini glasses aren't burdened by the flash and ultimate mess of a sugar coating. Another bonus: None of the drinks surpasses the $8 range.
As the nearby condo megaplex the Henry nears completion and the rest of the Pearl's development moves along, it's obvious that Vault Martini will make an easy transition into a drinking destination. For now, though, it's a little bit of a secret--one that comes complete with a cache of liquid treasure.
Vault Martini, 226 NW 12th Ave., 224-4909. 4 pm-1 am Monday-Wednesday, 4 pm-2 am Thursday-Saturday. 21+.