SWING Wine Bar

SWING Wine Bar
825 Columbia St SW, Olympia

Although Olympia’s SWING Wine Bar just swung its doors open in 2007, its reputation is already being toasted across the state.

In only a handful of years, this lovely restaurant and wine bar has fast established itself as one of the best places in the South Sound to savor classic Northwest cuisine and sip award-winning Washington wines. In fact, the Washington Wine Commission presented SWING an award of recognition for their great local wine offerings just this year.

Perched atop Columbia street in downtown Olympia, SWING is a cozy, big, red, refurbished house nearly a century old with an awe-inspiring view overlooking Capitol Lake. Owner Nicole Butigan fell in love with the place immediately. She knew that the view was really the perfect backdrop for both locals and tourists alike who love having a lush natural Washington landscape incorporated into their meal experience as they sip on Columbia Valley wines or carve into locally caught salmon. “We love Olympia, and it really needed a wine bar. The view is fantastic and the house has so much charm,” said Nicole.

The old, empty house Nicole and her husband Jim named SWING is now a home to their candlelit wine bar teeming with romantic dinner tables, fresh-cut flowers in bud vases, a gorgeous outdoor dining patio, a well-stocked Washington wine cellar, guest jazz musicians, and a creative and cost-effective happy hour where signature SWING cocktails like It’s 5 o’ Clock Somewhere, Walk The Line, and Ring My Bell only cost $5 a drink.

When mulling over the menu at SWING bring a healthy appetite. Guests will find it features lots of hearty, home-style entrees, but will appreciate the specific Pacific Northwest twist the chef puts on old favorites like roast beef and chicken. For example, juicy pot roast takes on a new herbed freshness with a rosemary infused au jus. Roasted chicken gets rustic when smothered with sage and a creamy, local Beecher’s white cheddar sauce. The savory filet mignon here gets topped with local wild Washington mushrooms. Zesty apple and ginger glazes the fresh salmon they smoke daily on their own back patio.

There is also a fun way SWING serves up their wine. Guests can order ‘wine flights’—an iron tree-shaped stand that holds three 2 ounce pours of wines with a common theme by varietal or region. “The wine flights are an absolute standout,” said Nicole. It’s a great way to enjoy the progression of three different wines with deepening flavors and body as the meal moves from appetizer, to salad, then to entrée.

Be sure to slip into SWING on Wednesdays and sometimes even on Saturdays. You will find live music accompanying your meal. Local acoustic guitarist Vince Brown has a standing appointment to strum mellow, delicate swing jazz every Wednesday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Nothing beats the lake view windows, warmth, wine, Wednesday jazz and down-home dinners at SWING. This charming wine bar is chock full of all the delicious details and drinks that make it well worth singing our praise and yours.

Tammy Robacker