Barwares, the slick new cocktail lounge behind Smallwares (NE Fremont at 46th, on Alameda Ridge) opens today (Tuesday, May 8). A soft opening last night was anything but: shoulders were rubbed, hobs were knobbed, bubbles were quaffed, and excellent Smallwares plates were passed through a sea of handsome patrons. The food we know is great, but what the public is about to see is an interestingly-designed lounge that has all the comforts of home: large windows open to the courtyard for summer air, a massive communal table comfortably hosts strangers, a large couch seats a slew of self-engrossed couples, and the long, deep bar is a good place to pile up dishes. The mixed styles of seating mean you can get comfortable in a variety of ways, from intimate to stammtisch.

Strange Brew was playing on the flat screen over the fireplace, but as of press time it could not be confirmed that this would always be the case.