While the occasional classic champagne cocktail, mimosa or French 75 might show up on a Tacoma cocktail menu, it’s tough to find a broader menu of cocktails featuring sparkling wines.
Then came The Blue Octopus, a combination champagne bar, art gallery and do-it-yourself painting studio, in February at the Point Ruston development.
With the most recent move of her business, Kerry Cole has designed a lengthy menu of 10 champagne/sparkling wine cocktails and another half dozen mimosas, plus a menu of white and red wines by the bottle or glass.
This is Tacoma, so of course there’s beer.
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Cole is both an artist and a wine lover with a wicked sense of humor, which is why the cocktails come with not-so-serious twists. A cocktail named after the artist Gustav Klimt has a rim dipped in gold dust, a nod to his famous gilded painting, “The Kiss.” It’s finished with a blackberry simple syrup, champagne and a sprig of thyme ($13). There’s also a Seahawks-themed mimosa made with Blanc de Bleu ($9) and orange juice. I didn’t have the guts to try the beer-champagne hybrid cocktail made with Guinness ($9).
I was intrigued by her use of floral syrups in several drinks. The St. Germain was a light-and-bright concoction with mild sweetness: Brut champagne with club soda and elderflower syrup, which imparted a fragrant, summery finish ($13). It was served with a lemon twist in a stemless champagne glass (the glassware will be changing soon).
Another floral find was the O’Keeffe, aptly named after the painter known for her floral paintings, with a rose-water soaked hibiscus flower sunk into the bottom of a flute topped with sparkling wine ($11).
Cole’s cocktails — and her by-the-glass-or-bottle list — feature a range of sparkling wines, from French champagnes to Italian prosecco, Spanish cava and sparkling Californians.
Her mimosa menu includes one made with kombucha ($8) and another with passion fruit, orange and guava ($7).
She carries a broad offering of high-end to modestly-priced sparkling wines. A connoisseur can sip from a $190 bottle of Dom Perignon or a reasonable $21 bottle of Vandori prosecco. More than a dozen sparkling wines are offered by the glass ($5-$25).
Four flights are offered. They range drastically in price and scope. A flight of three of the week’s specials will cost $15, while an $85 taste (for a minimum of four) includes more rare, expensive finds.
The two-story business is sandwiched next door to WildFin American Grill. Downstairs, find five high-top tables with seating for four or more at each. The tables closest to the front door come with a peek-a-boo view of the water. Visiting artists rotate their artwork downstairs.
Upstairs, there’s more seating and fun shopping finds, such as handmade cards by Cole, candle holders and other decor items. Upstairs also is where the painting parties are held with bench seating and plenty of room to spread out. “I want people to feel they’re at their home away from home,” said Cole. “It’s not a snobby art gallery. My heart is in service first. I want people to feel welcome and comfortable.”
Cole does not offer a dining menu, but welcomes outside food. Plenty of nearby options offer easy takeout.
This is the third time she’s moved her business. She started The Blue Octopus as a studio and paint party destination in 2010 at downtown Tacoma’s Sanford and Son’s. Next, she moved to the St. Helens neighborhood before her last move to Ruston, when she expanded her offerings to include sparkling wines.
The Blue Octopus Art Gallery/Champagne Bar
Hours: Noon-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.
Note: Call to reserve space for a painting party. Check the Facebook page for a schedule of visiting wineries and other events.