Enter Three Saints Revival, and you’ll be greeted by a fluffy, cloudlike chandelier. The entryway fixture is the first indication that things are about to get weird (in a good way). Next, the custom, marbled-turquoise wallpaper pulls your eye upward toward the magenta-painted ceiling, which is festooned with globe lights, chandeliers, and more clouds, all of which evoke a dream sequence, or maybe even a hallucination—and that’s the point.

Three Saints Revival, the newest concept from restaurateur Robert Thompson of Punch Bowl Social, is an absinthe-inspired dreamland. The tapas joint near Union Station draws design inspiration from the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre in its early 1900s bohemian glory; its culinary muse is the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. A pandemic-born passion project, the beverage-forward eatery opens November 20 in the old Hearth & Dram space—not that it’s recognizable as anywhere you’ve been before. What might be familiar are the common dream (or nightmare) themes woven into the decor: Experiences like flying, losing teeth, and being naked are portrayed in literal and symbolic ways. Custom wallpaper in the hallways features winged teeth, golden busts, and coiling serpents intertwined with psychedelic patterns and colors. In the bathrooms, artwork frames bend so that the pieces span walls, ceilings, and corners. Wavy lines painted along the floor extend up the side of the bar, pulling the viewer further into the reverie.

“We wanted to create something that felt like coming out of the bohemian dream sequence—perhaps an absinthe-induced bohemian dream sequence,” Thompson says. “So we wanted to have vibrant color, and we wanted the complexity and the conversation going on between color and pattern. That is no small trick to pull off.” Thompson credits his collaborators—architect Frank Mataipule and interior designer Megan Freckelton of FAM Design—for bringing the aesthetic vision to life while executive chef John Broening, beverage director Patrick Williams, and six-time James Beard Award nominee Yasmin Lozada-Hissom, the restaurant’s consulting pastry chef, built a menu and cocktail program that are just as ambitious as the decor.

Tapas are the first of the three “saints” referenced by the restaurant’s name, and Broening, formerly of Avelina and Duo, created stellar charcuterie boards and small plates with flavors pulled from western Europe, Turkey, Israel, Greece, and North Africa. To embark on a culinary tour of the Mediterranean, we recommend starting in Spain, with the crispy-creamy potato-and-saffron croquettas in peperonata sauce made with Calabrian chiles. Move eastward via the Israeli-inspired eggplant with tahini dressing and mint. (“It’s like a baba ghanoush, but the modern Israeli version,” Broening says.) Then head south to North Africa and experience the zesty, smoky house-made harissa, which is served on dishes like roasted carrots and thick, juicy pork chops. End your meal back where you started, with a Spanish Tocinillo del Cielo (translated to “heaven’s bacon”), a silky flan with a layer of crunchy caramelized coconut on the bottom.

As for the other two “saints,” you’ll find them on the drink list in the form of wine and cocktails. Beverage director Patrick Williams leads guests on his own journey with a glass-forward wine list accompanied by a map, inviting oenophiles to select a destination rather than a red, white, or rosé. (Psst, budget travelers: Happy hour features four rotating “Saints’ Selections” at $6 per glass.) For something stronger, try the house gin and tonic, made with Greek gin, cucumber, and Kümmel—a dill, coriander, and cumin liqueur that’s spritzed on the rim—or allow yourself to be transported by travel-themed libations like the silky Monarch of the Sea, a rum-based dram made with pomegranate tea and clarified milk punch (a clear, creamy liquid made in-house by removing the solids from milk). And yes, you can order absinthe if you’re feeling frisky.

However you travel, don’t forget to bring a (vaccinated) friend or two along on your voyage. “For me, there’s no better social cuisine environment than tapas,” Thompson says. “And I wanted to do something that was important coming out of COVID. I wanted to create an environment where people could experience being together again.”

1801 Wewatta St.

Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane is 5280’s former digital strategy editor and assistant food editor. She writes food and culture content. Follow her at @riane__eats.