photo credit: Jordan Nicholson
Shibuya Hi-Fi in Ballard is a listening bar that seems like the coolest place in town—until you experience it. It’s a space meant for hearing records, sipping complex cocktails, and feeling like a big f*cking deal. This is made possible by easy-to-nab reservations and a $25 per person deposit that goes toward your bill. The catch: there are only six cocktails on the menu, and most of them kind of suck.
An elderflower-spiked paloma and a gin and vermouth with OJ both taste like juice from a hotel’s continental breakfast. The brown liquor-based ones are slightly better. But as soon as you finish the first mediocre drink, you’re essentially forced to order another because they cost $14, and there’s still $11 left of your deposit to spend. We’d be happy downing beers all night if the setting were an other-worldly sound bath, but with constricting table seating and bouncers that shush you, Shibuya isn’t half as fun as it could (and should) be.