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Cooper Point Public House strives for the Northwest feel

Westside Olympia has a new spot to gather, eat and drink

Cooper Point Public House will throw a Fat Tuesday party.

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You know how you can walk into an establishment and just get a good vibe about it? When something in the atmosphere - the lighting, the feng shui, the colors and space flowing just right - and you know you want to hang out there?

Well that was my immediate impression when walking into Cooper Point Public House on the Westside of Olympia. Located in the former space of El Nopal Mexican restaurant, at 3002 Harrison Ave., the pub is now a far cry from chips and salsa.

Husband and wife team Sam and Melissa Rasmussen and Sam's mother, Catherine Kathrein, have been hard at work since September turning the space into their vision of what a public house in the Northwest should be.

"Everything is as locally sourced as possible," said Sam, who was the kitchen manager at Ramblin' Jacks in downtown Olympia for 10 years. "We're going for that Northwest feel all the way."

"I live two miles away," he continued. "This is where I live, and that's our whole get-up, to be that comfortable neighborhood place you go."

That feng shui I was talking about? It was very intentional. Walls were taken down to create more flow, and the kitchen is exposed so customers will not only enjoy the smell of sizzling onions and bacon, but will also be able to see the cooks. The front door opens from two sides, allowing entry from two different parking lots.

Sam built each booth and table by hand. The tabletops have patterns of wood varying in color from light to dark, the grain amplified by the veneer coating. He constructed the base of the bar out of reclaimed wood from the harbor, bringing in even more Northwest flair. Wormholes dot the washed-out wood, making interesting patterns, reminding you of the mystery of nature. The bar counter top is hammered copper, also washed with veneer, complimenting the wood tones and reflecting the soft lighting, making the whole bar glow.

Small-scale distilleries, local wines and 11 rotating taps are featured on the bar menu, and for non-alcoholic drinks, birch and ginger brews will be on hand. In the summer, there will be an outdoor beer garden.

"We're really excited - there is a need for this in this town - we took a space in the community and looked for what (it) needed instead of just trying to put in what we wanted," Sam said.

Cooper Point Public House is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features items like steamer clams, pub burgers, smashed meatball sammies, sour cream pancakes, and breakfast skillets. Clam chowder is served daily, and the house soup is seven onion, baked with gouda and topped with an onion ring.

Cooper Point Public House celebrated its soft opening on Tuesday and plans to have a grand opening March 4 for Fat Tuesday. Micro brews are $3.50 for the first month. Happy Hour is 3-6 p.m. weekdays.

COOPER POINT PUBLIC HOUSE, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, 3002 Harrison Ave., NW, Olympia, 360.915.7880

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