Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the private soft opening of the latest NW watering hole to join the block occupied by Slabtown and Le Happy. It's a new venture from Sepal Meacham, who some will recognize from her long tenure behind the bar at the Clinton Street Pub. (You'll also find another bartender of note here in Lisa, as in the Jen-and-Lisa heyday of Chin Yen.) Moonshine Kitchen & Lounge occupies the former Paymaster building at 1020 NW 17th. It's been spiffed up with a new coat of bright blue paint, and an airy interior decorated with moonshine-ready jugs and accents of bright green (the inside of the bathroom is seriously Kermit-approved), but they left the sign intact in memoriam:


As any bar owner who cares to include the word "kitchen" in their name would suggest, Meacham is taking the food end of the operation seriously, boldly promising that their smashed burgers (in which the patty is literally smashed a bit, creating an irregular shape and crusty exterior without—if done correctly—compromising the juiciness) will be the best in town. To start with it'll be a burgers 'n' fries bar, says Meacham, but eventually the menu will also have a strong Mexican flair, with special emphasis on tamales, once the staff is trained up on Meacham's "intricate" recipes. (I may as well insert here that I once attended a tamale-themed party at Meacham's house and can vouch for her skills.) Meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans will all be taken care of in the tamale department. The bar opens to the public on Thursday at 5 pm, so check it out if you're looking for a new option in a neighborhood that could use some.