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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (2,765 bars; 1,340 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, May 24, 2015

#2377 #S1200 - La Romanza, Seattle - 12/22/2013

La Romanza, West Seattle
West Seattle's California Avenue is happy jumble of styles and eras. It's ability to preserve old mom and pop places and easy mix of downscale with upscale makes me think of the stretch as Seattle's bit of Portland. So it seemed perfectly sensible to me that here, a block from the divey Poggie Tavern and Corner Pocket, across the street from a junky "antique" store, near the casual hipster West 5, a yoga studio, and a cupcake store, someone would create a delicate "Tuscan Tea Room" that looked like a break room in the Palace of Versaille.

La Romanza, West Seattle
Aimee Pellegrini, whose parents run the Italian Bistro "La Rustica," started a flower shop here catering to weddings. This she gradually expanded to an ornate, white clothed tea room and bistro on certain evenings of the week, adding a cocktail bar in April 2012 and eventually growing into a full-time Italian restaurant with live acoustic music. It closed in August 2014, and with it we lost a bit of the variety of this avenue, still one of the better bar walks in the city.

La Romanza web site 2014 (Wayback Machine)
4521 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 906-9914
Est. April 26, 2012 (Nov 9, 2010 as Tuscan Tea Room) - Closed Aug 2014 - Building constructed: 1946
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: (wayback machine)
Reviews: seattletimeswestseattleblog - thestranger - yelp

#2376 #S1199 - The Bridge, Seattle - 12/22/2013

This is the new version of The Bridge, now in the old Chuck and Sally's location after being forced out of their original location in the former Redline space. You won't find me coming here for the sugary, fruity cocktails, but if you want to watch a game with a spirited crowd and better than average bar food menu (with a french fry bar!), this is one of your better choices in town.

6301 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136 - (206) 402.4606
Est. Dec 2013, current location; 2011 on 35th - Building constructed: 1918
Previous bars in this location: Chuck & Sally's Tavern
Web site:
Reviews: seattleweekly - seattlemag - westseattleherald - yelp - urbanspoon - thestranger

#2375 #S1198 - Vif, Seattle - 12/21/2013

Vif, Seattle
I must confess that I did not expect Vif to last very long in this space. Like Brigham Young claiming "This is the place" at the brink of the Utah dessert, the idea that this bleak and boxy old Herfy's building was the right place for a "food-focused coffee and wine bar" just seems a little mystifying to me. Even the name -- a French word for "alive" or "lively" -- seems more in sync with their neighbors like Paseo or Brad's Swingside than this quiet, bright space that is never open later than 7pm. Perhaps "Calme" would have been more apropos?

But here they are still, and congrats to them. There is plainly a lot of care going into the environment and techniques used to produce their wines and ingredients. Their descriptions are filled with mentions of "terroir," "natural viticulture," and "non-interventionist winemaking" -- i.e. things that some must see as touchstones for ethical foods, and others as fodder for a "Portlandia" sketch. The menu is full of breakfast cafe options that seem like they would be entirely enjoyable if one could linger over them in a garden patio, but less so in the spare dining area, devoid of intimacy, and redolent of a corporate lunchroom. I'm not certain that I should really count this as a bar, and so far I have managed to stop in only for a couple glasses of wine, so it would be silly to venture a general opinion on their offerings. I just wish they had chosen a location that made me a little more eager to sample them.

4401 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 557-7357
Est. 2013 - Building constructed: 1965
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: sprudge - yelp

Sunday, May 17, 2015

#2374 #S1197 - The Barrel Thief, Seattle - 12/21/2013

I always enter a bar within the ground-floor retail section of new condos with an anticipatory sense of discouragement, but the Barrel Thief owners have done a fairly nice job of instilling some character and romance into this space. More to the point, their unique, botany-based cocktails and prodigious selection of wines by the glass make it a fine bar stop regardless of setting.

Established earlier as Wine Tea Chocolate, in mid-2013 it was refashioned as a wine and whiskey bar, with an inventive cocktail program by Nicholas Utke. I enjoyed the "Surrender at Appomattox" (rye, sweet grass, and herbs) which as promised had a "grassy and smokey" taste. The bar also features approximately 200 whiskeys and offers almost that many choices of wine by glass, with the aid of a Coravin device, which extracts wine via a needle and without uncorking the bottle, filling the space with argon gas to prevent oxidation.

Bitters, tinctures, and other ingredients used in the unusual
cocktail program of Fremont's "Barrel Thief."
I haven't yet had dinner there, but the menu features some tasty sounding, locally sourced snacks and small plates. In addition to regular wine tastings, special events at BT include things like a "fancy single malt tasting," an "obscure scotch distillery tasting," and tango dancing. (If these seem like they might catch your fancy, you may want to add yourself to their mailing list, as I've finally remembered to do.)

3417 Evanston Ave N #102, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 402-5492
Est. July 20, 2013 - Building constructed: 2012
Previous bars in this location: Wine Tea Chocolate
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: seattlemag - seattlemet - tripadvisor - thestranger - beeradvocate - untappd - urbanspoon

#2373 #S1196 - Shawn O'Donnell's, Seattle - 12/15/2013

Smith Tower, one of Seattle's most legendary buildings, was completed in 1914, approximately a year before the O'Donnell family says their ancestors Patrick and Bridget O'Donnell immigrated to the city from Tipperary. Inheriting his father L.C. Smith's fortune from sales of shotguns and typewriters (later "Smith Corona"), Burns Lyman Smith expanded on the plans of this father, stretching the white terracotta and steel structure to 462 feet and 33 to 38 stories, depending upon how you count them. As few people who have friends of family in the Seattle area have not been informed, this resulted in one of the 15 or so tallest buildings in the world at the time, and the tallest on the west coast for over 50 years. (For a peek into the remarkable apartment now in the pyramid at the top of the building see this King5 video.)

Off and on the basement and ground floor of the building have hosted bars and restaurants. During the 1960s the basement level contained Alberto Romano's the "Submarine Room" and the "Golden Goose," clubs that catered to the Seattle gay crowd then centered in the Pioneer Square area, while the ground level space that currently holds Shawn O'Donnell's was the "Gosling Room." In November of 2013, Shawn O'Donnell opened here a second location of his family's Irish-themed pub which has operated in Everett for the last 20+ years. The pub is a fairly typical American Irish pub, with the obligatory dark wood, Guinness decorations, map of the old country, and clock counting down to the next St. Patty's Day. The is menu dominated by modern pub food staples (sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc.) and various spins on traditional Irish dishes (boxty cakes, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, bangers and mash). The cocktail offerings are not remarkable but it's a pleasant enough place to stop by for a whiskey or pint.

508 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 602-6380
Est. Nov 4, 2013 - Building constructed: July 3, 1914
Previous bars in this location: The Gosling Room
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: thestranger - yelp

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#2372 #S1195 - Joey Kitchen, Seattle - 12/12/2013

You might at first glance think that the business model at Joey pretty much started and stopped at hiring pretty, tanned women to serve customers in tight black dresses. It's plain that they are not hiring based on a blind assessment of resumes. But the menus of the Vancouver based chain are headed by Chris Mills, "a contestant on the original Japanese version of Iron Chef, two-time headliner at James Beard House, and competitor in the French Bocuse d'Or," (cornichon), the food is quite good and the cocktails are better than average. My personal biases against the U Village setting were laid out in my post on Liam's, and the greater part of the tragedy for Joey in Seattle is that they recently departed a ravishing setting on South Lake Union.

Nevertheless, this version of Joey seems to have a less annoying crowd and a more intriguing menu. It has been devised as a test kitchen for the other Joey restaurants in the state, includes a sushi bar, and what looks to be a pleasant patio in warm weather (although it traded a view of the Space Needle over sailboats for a corner of shopping mall). The food menu seems be slightly upscale versions of American and Japanese standbys. The cocktail menu leans toward the fruity and sweet, but I had a an excellent Old Fashioned, served by super friendly bartenders Sam and Christie,who, yes, are pretty, tanned women in tight black dresses.

2603 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 527-6188
Est. Dec 9, 2013 - Building constructed: year
Previous bars in this location:
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: cornichon - seattlemet - yelp - tripadvisor                                                  

#2371 #S1194 - Liam's, Seattle - 12/12/2013

I should begin by confessing that any bar located in University Village begins with a handicap in my assessment. Adding to my normal demerits for a shopping mall location and banal retail architecture, a visit to U Village involves a dispiriting hunt for parking spaces in what seems like 25 acres of Bellevue plopped discordantly down the hill from the leafy confines of the university. 30 years ago shops were at least local chains, and the shopping transfixion was mollified by an actual bowling alley. Now the location is dominated by the same methodic Pottery Barns and Banana Republics of hundreds of other indistinguishable squares across the assimilated country.

But like downtown Bellevue itself, while it is short on personality, there is no denying that you can get some good stuff there, and over the last two years the good stuff has increasingly included food. Din Tai Fung is definitely worth the trip, and a number of other new restaurants have tried to assert their individuality. Liam's Bistro is owned by a man who runs a bistro on Mercer Island (Bennett's), a cheesery and bake shop in Pike Place Market (Beecher's, Sugar Mountain), a barbecue food truck shaped like a giant, iron pig (Maximus/Minimus), and take-out pasta shops located, well, in Bellevue and in U Village across from Pottery Barn.

Like Bennett's and Maximus, Liam's is name for one of Kurt Dammeier's sons. He stresses local ingredients and has described the food as "upscale homestyle — mostly dishes that are familiar or reasonably familiar to a suburban crowd, but made better." This seems pretty much spot on, and you would be correct to infer that "made better" implies "priced higher." E.g. the Liam's Burger is $17. The decor of Liam's makes a half-hearted attempt at rusticity, seemingly a lost cause in a large concrete space of 150 seats in a new mall building. But if you're in the mood for large, loud spaces and better than average food, Liam's delivers. I passed on the vaunted Mac and Cheese options and had the Liam's Burger, a juicy and tasty six ounces of pork and beef, with crispy prosciutto taking the accustomed place of bacon. I also enjoyed a "Son Dodger" cocktail from bartender Kim, who has also worked at my neighborhood favorite Oliver's Twist.

With all the options in the city and my U Village biases laid on the table, it is unlikely that I would make the trip here just to go to Liam's again. However, if I was here for other reasons -- esp. if Din Tai Fung is overflowing -- Liam's would make the visit more pleasant, esp. on a warm day when their patio is open.

2685 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 527-6089
Est. Nov 26, 2013 - Building constructed: 2013
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: - facebook -
Articles ranked: seattlemet - seattletimes - seattlemageater - eater - urbanspoon - culinaryfool - yelp

Friday, April 24, 2015

#2370 #S1193 - Union Bar, Seattle - 12/10/2013

'First homesteaded by M.D. Woodin in 1863, Hillman City as a community originated in the 1890s, with a stop on the Rainier Valley Streetcar line as its nucleus. The neighborhood was named after Clarence Dayton "C.D." Hillman, who platted the area and built himself a house there just off of Rainier. Hillman was a real estate developer, and while business practices ranging into the fraudulent eventually landed him in a federal penitentiary, he did bring this neighborhood into existence. Hillman City resident Mikala Woodward, director of the Rainier Valley Historical Society acknowledged at the time of the centennial of the neighborhood's annexation by Seattle, "We were named after a sleazy charlatan."' (wikipedia)

It seems like a pretty safe bet that most the residents of Seattle don't even know there is a "Hillman City" neighborhood. But as gentrification plows southward through Columbia City, locals can expect to see the distance from the big city seeming to shrink, including a steady stream of gussied up new bars, restaurants, and other businesses taking over the retail core along Rainier Avenue. The stolid Union Bar ("Where labor rests") fits in comfortably here, with a nod to the area's blue collar history, and with a style often described as "no frills."

But there are frills. Sure it's a down-to-earth neighborhood bar that serves burgers, sausages, and sandwiches, but these dishes are a cut fancier than your old school dives. There's a grilled cheese option, but it features ingredients like "cream cheese, bacon, and marionberry jam" or "sauteed mushrooms and onions, ham, American cheese and Sriracha mayo." Or you can snack on steak sliders with horseradish aioli, or perhaps the spinach and goat cheese dip. It's all a far cry from the old joints like Mel's. The food and drink quality are substantially higher; the shabby charm and depth of character significantly less. But if every new business that moves in over the next many years blends the old and new as comfortably and inconspicuously as Union Bar, Hillman City will be lucky indeed.

5609 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98118 - (206) 258-4377
Est. Oct 23, 2013 - Building constructed: 1915
Previous bars in this location: Orcas Landing
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp - thestranger - tripadvisor -

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#2369 - Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA - 12/8/2013

Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA
North Bend, about 35 miles east of Seattle and known outside of these parts most as the setting for Twin Peaks and the damn fine cup of coffee at the Double R Diner (Twede's Cafe), has been feeding humans for thousands of years. In the years before Europeans came pouring in during the middle 19th century, the Snoqualmie tribes came to the meadow here from their villages downstream on what we now call the Snoqualmie river to pick berries and wild onions, occasionally setting the prairie on fire to push back the encroaching forest.

Mt. Si Pub, North Bend, WA
The first permanent white settlers in the area started when farmer Jeremiah Borst moved from New York into an abandoned US fort to farm the area and maintain the wagon road bringing settlers over the Cascades to Seattle. In the early 1860s his niece followed with her husband Joseph Fares, the first white settlers in the actual North Bend area, as did Josiah Merritt, who everyone called "Uncle Si" and soon gave his name to "Uncle Si's Mountain," or just "Mount Si." In 1889 the first railroad came through, and then the Milwaukee line in 1909, followed by a growing lumber industry. A half a century later, after a lively debate, the city council reversed its position on having the new Interstate 90 cut through the middle of town and instead had it skirt south, though of course North Bend subsequently expanded around it.

Mt. Si Pub, North Bend, WA
If all this seem entirely distant and inconsequential to the Skechers Outlet, the Chang Thai Cuisine, the Chaplin's Chevrolet and the modern homes and strip malls that now comprise the bedroom community of North Bend, such is not the case for the Mount Si Pub, on the eastern outskirts of town. Just visible from the highway, the tavern's log and pitch interior feels like your grandpa's log cabin, much further from the developed areas than it really is, with old cowboys warming their backsides before a roaring fire. The Facebook page for the bar places its start date at 1923, in the middle of prohibition, and the bar itself features old photographs of what appears to be the current building before various modifications, with labels of "1935" and "1938." The building is flat-roofed and smaller in the first photo, and has a no-longer present porch in the second, but a few apparent consistencies in the structure and landmarks confirm the underlying continuity with the current structure, and one assumes it was likely a (legal) bar sometime shortly after the Beer and Wine Revenue Act in April of 1933.

Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA (photo in bar)
Nowadays, the bar hosts a nice mixture of locals and skiers, hikers, hunters and other sportsmen headed to the snowy Cascades, or the old Snoqualmie fishing and hunting grounds roughly tracing centuries old foot trails. There is free soup during Seahawks games, and good natured banter with the server Ange and the various patrons. The fire and cozy, graffiti-covered wood interior make one pine for snow, though the extensive beer garden allows for a fine game of horse shoe throwing on warmer days, sometimes with live music on the patio. The grub and booze are pretty much what you'd expect from a joint in the mountains that warms the bellies of snowmobilers and hikers, and it's well worth the trip from Seattle just to grab a pint and a bite in a casual, rustic setting.

45530 SE North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045 - (425) 831-6155
Est. 1935? - Building constructed: 1923?
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: seattleweekly - yelp

Saturday, April 18, 2015

#2368 #S1192 - Shiku Sushi, Seattle - 12/7/2013

bacon wrapped scallops skewers and Yakitori chicken skewers
Shiku Sushi, Ballard, Seattle
You would not want to trust me on sushi, but I am told that both the traditional and new styles at Shiku are pretty good, and I did enjoy a couple items off the Izakaya menu, which also includes a mix of traditional and creative choices. And while most of the fruity cocktail menu does not cater to my tastes, I quite liked my "Shogun," which is basically a Boulevardier with Yuzu.

The vibe is fairly romantic, even on a sunny afternoon. Regretably, I missed the bathroom, with its 'toilet with the control panel, heated seat, and "adjustable cleansing wand."' (thestranger)

5310 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 588-2151                   
Est. Sep 28, 2008 - Building constructed: 1904
Previous bars in this location: Divino
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: seattleweekly - myballard - thestranger - yelp

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#2367 - Next Door Gastropub, Port Angeles - 12/2/2013

The Next Door is the first bar/restaurant from a brother and sister with limited experience in the business, named after their Dad's furniture store up the road where he met their mother, and offering mostly standard items of the contemporary neighborhood bar menu like wings, burgers, tacos, salads and sandwiches. All of this, set on a main drag of Port Angeles, would have led me to expect a nice place with a really mediocre menu in a boring setting -- but the Next Door delivers much more than that. Of course Of course I'm irresistibly biased toward any joint that prominently features a silhouette Bigfoot on a bicycle, but even if that were not the case, I would be quite happy with their inventive and tasty takes on pub food staples and the fun and friendly vibe of the place. It's a swell little stop.

113 W 1st St, Port Angeles, WA 98362 - (360) 504-2613               
Est. Sep 14, 2011
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: peninsuladailynews - urbanspoontripadvisor - yelp

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#2366 - Bard & Banker, Victoria, BC - 12/2/2013

Large, gilded, and ornate, the Scottish gastropub "Bard and Banker" inhabits an ornamented, 1885 bank building, and takes it to new levels of grandiosity. It is owned by Matt McNeil's Victory Pub Company, which owns additional lavish pubs Penny Farthing and the Irish Times. They feature 30 taps, a 16-bottle Enomatic wine storage system, and boast the best selection of Whiskeys in Victoria. If you are in the mood for chandeliers, polished brass, etched glass, framed pictures of the old country, and cover bands singing 70s pop songs, this is the place in Victoria for you.

1022 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W - (250) 953-9993                
Est. June 2008 - Building constructed: 1885
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: eatdrinkvictoria - nomsscornichon - twohungryblokes - victoriainperson - urbanspoon - yelp - tripadvisor

#2365 - The Guild Freehouse, Victoria, BC - 12/1/2013

The Guild is a newish, tony, British style pub with a formal sort of setting, and somewhat upscale takes on familiar comfort foods from the UK and Canada. You can choose Welsh Rabbit, Scotch Eggs, Bacon Poutine, or Beef and Mushroom Pie. Or a glass of bacon.

While wondering why every meal doesn't just start with a glass of crispy bacon strips, we were there for only a (liquid) cocktail, and were pleased to find that they make a reasonably good one. They also have 12 pretty good local beer choices on tap along with about 40 bottle choices.

1250 Wharf Street, Victoria, BC V8W 3H9 - (250) 385-3474
Est. 2013
Previous bars in this location: Chandlers
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: victorianfoodurbanspoon - yelp