Redmond is famous for many things — although usually not for its nightlife. But now there’s a new spot to enjoy entertainment in downtown Redmond.
Watercress Asian Bistro now presents piano music from 6-9 p.m. Fridays and dance music from 9 p.m.-midnight on Saturdays.
Talent ranges from pianist Robin Maiers to saxophonist Darren Motamedy and more.
Watercress used to close early on weekends because of downtown Redmond’s reputation for being sleepy after sundown.
“People, even our regulars, were saying they didn’t come in on weekends because there was no one around,” said Watercress owner Carrie Poppelaars. “Now people come in, sit around the piano and drink martinis. Last time Darren Motamedy was here, the place was packed.”
Robin Maiers used to be the house pianist at Kirkland’s Calabrisella, which closed last month. Now he’s building a following at Watercress, playing pop standards, Broadway and movie tunes.
The first Saturday of each month is Latin Dance Night at Watercress. Professional instructors Patty Leverett and James Tay from the nearby DanceWorks studio come over to give demonstrations and mini-lessons in sexy styles such as Tango, Salsa and Merengue, with Latin dance music provided by DJ Johnny G. The action starts at 9 p.m. and beginners are welcome.
Other Saturdays might feature jazz, acoustic guitar or even Celtic music.
To further elevate weekends at Watercress, a new late-night Happy Hour has been added, from 9 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays. All drinks are $1 off and appetizers are $5 each.
Popular contemporary Asian selections include Salt and Pepper Calamari, Lettuce Wraps and Coconut Shrimp with Mango Sauce. More traditional Asian choices include Pot Stickers, Crab Rangoon, Spareribs in Honey Garlic Sauce and Spicy Sichuan Chicken Wings.
“We have a young female bartender who is very popular, a bit sassy,” said Poppelaars. “And my partner (Lily Lei) is from Taiwan and makes all the sauces, homemade dumplings and more.”
Explaining reasons for the entertainment initiatives — and why locals should check them out — Poppelaars noted, “People complain that there is nothing to do in downtown Redmond, but they don’t try new places. They don’t think there are local options. They think they have to go to Bellevue.”
As well as winning over those skeptics, she said she’d like to reel in that segment of the population that hasn’t given much thought to nightlife for a while — middle-aged couples whose children are now teens or young adults.
“We’re allowing older people to rediscover going out of the house on a Saturday night,” Poppelaars suggested.
And for those who live in Redmond, a “date night” at a place like Watercress lets them live it up, close to home, with free parking, no cover charge and a classy atmosphere.
Watercress has also added winemaker dinners where a local winemaker introduces his or her products and serves them, paired with five courses for $45 per person. The next one is Saturday, June 12.
Watercress Asian Bistro is located at 16505 Redmond Way. For an entertainment schedule or other information, call (425) 284-3188 or visit www.watercressasianbistro.com.