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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (2,674 bars; 1,299 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, December 14, 2014

#2303 - Nikki's Restaurant and Lounge, Covington, WA - 9/27/2013

Covington Washington is a small city of about 18,000 people, about 20 miles southeast of Seattle, with a retail core hugging state highway 516. It was incorporated only in 1997, largely as a defense against either "being annexed by Kent or being developed into oblivion by King County." (historylink)  When the first Europeans arrived in the area in the 1850s, it was home to the 'Stkamish, Smulkamis, and Skopamish ... later, all three tribes would be lumped together under the name of other groups along the White and Green rivers, as "Muckleshoot."' (ibid) The Muckelshoot and Klickitat fought removal from their homes, killing nine settlers a few miles from present day Covington, but you know how that story went in the long run.

The area was first known to the white people as Jenkins Prairie, and later took the name of the Northern Pacific Railroad's surveyor, Richard Covington, who laid out a route known as the Palmer Cutoff, or in the code of the railroad's telegrams, "Rodent Frugality." Once almost entirely a bedroom community, the current conquerors are the strip malls and corporate chains. Since about 2000 the highway has been increasingly surrounded by the tribes of the Walmarts, Costcos, Home Depots, Targets and Applebees.

Nikki's is an exception to that. There aren't many places to have a drink in Covington. There are no taverns left, and although Nikki's is relatively new and more known for its breakfasts, it does have a sizable lounge that hosts live bands. Previously there was a Godfather's Pizza here for many years before the location eventually hosted the "272 Bar and Grill." But the 272 was too pricey for Covington, I was informed -- an observation I found echoed in just about every Yelp entry from the time -- and it became Nikki's in Dec. 2011. And while the space itself still doesn't have much character, the few people there on this lazy Friday afternoon did.

Bartender Jamie was explaining how her husband couldn't figure out how he had a hangover after having only 6 beers, though he also had 2 Irish Coffees and couldn't remember the number of jello shots. Customer Joe isn't content to just have jello shots at Nikki's, so he makes himself a bowl at home ("a shot is a table spoon"). Joe had recently come from a doctor visit ("No, my doctor's in old Renton -- you have to go armed"). Apparently Joe's doctor keeps telling him he needs to quit drinking but Joe told him "I run into more old drunks than old doctors." I was disappointed to find no old taverns in Covington, but more pleased to find at least a few old tavern kind of people.

27120 174th Pl SE Covington, WA 98042 - (253) 236-5623
Est. Dec 12, 2011 - Building constructed: 1985
Previous bars in this location: 272 Bar and Grill
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp - urbanspoon - tripadvisor

#2302 #S1176 - Foundation, Seattle - 9/26/2013

Oontz oontz oontz oontz ...

Boy George, Foundation Nightclub, Seattle

2218 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 535-7285
Est. Oct 31, 2012 - Building constructed: 1913
Previous bars in this location: Baccano Ristorante & Vinoteca, Club Medusa, Venom
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: seattleite - yelp

Saturday, December 13, 2014

#2301 #S1175 - Monkey Bridge, Seattle - 9/25/2013

There's only a tiny little bar here, which you are unlikely to seek out for just a drink. But it is pleasant place to have a sip while waiting for some pretty good Vietnamese food from the Nguyen family what used to run Viet Chi downtown.

1723 NW Market St Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 297-6048
Est. 2008 - Building constructed: 1955
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site:
Reviews: seattleweeklyseattletimes - yelp - seattlemagseattlepi - thestranger

#2300 #S1174 - Barnacle, Seattle - 9/25/2013

Barnacle Bar, Seattle
Sometimes it seems like Renee Erickson and I were just not mean to get along. Everybody else in Seattle seems to love, love, love Renee Erickson, but our tastes just seem doomed to an ill-fated relationship. So I was never blown away, as everyone else in this town seems to have been, by The Whale Wins, and I certainly do not wake up craving the octopus terrine at Barnacle that everybody else seems to love. It seems senseless to me that a civilization that has discovered fire and has access to bacon and blackberries should ever settle for scavenging the low tide for sustenance and serving it tartare. And that's not to mention considering it a great treat to receive a plate of razor slim octopus floating in a plate of olive oil. I don't even like oysters.

I could probably make a logically consistent argument for me tastes if I didn't love lobster and Dungeness crab so much, but that's beside the point, so don't tell Renee Erickson about that. And her brightly lit Barnacle Bar, the Italian apertivo squeezed into a hallway-shaped space adjacent Staple and Fancy, which looks like a kitchen set from a Martha Stewart program, is close to the opposite of my preferred bar decor. And finally, as if to rub sea salt in the wound, Erickson confessed to The Stranger that she loves Lays potato chips, sardines, Steely Dan, and Fleetwood Mac -- and she hates chili. How could I ever, ever be expected to get along with such a woman?

Barnacle Bar, Seattle
And yet she keeps seducing me back. The cocktails bartender Ria provided me at Barnacle Bar were lovely, and while much of Renee's menu reflects our dysfunctional relationship, there are always a few highly enticing treasures lying between the slimy creatures from the tidal pools, even if it means resorting to cheese tactics. . So yes, Renee, even as I escape to long chili binges and extended Lays potato chip fasts, God help me, you know I'll be back.

Octopus terrine, Barnacle Bar, Seattle
4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, Washington 98107 - (206) 706-3379
Est. Sep 23, 2013 - Building constructed: 1900 or earlier
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: thestrangerseattletimes - seattlemag - seattlemet - seattlemet - yelp

#2299 - The Wooly Toad, Newcastle, WA - 9/23/2013

The Wooly Toad, a cigar and brandy lounge hidden up the stairs at Scott Oki's Newcastle Golf Course clubhouse, is perfect for those times you feel like sinking back in an overstuffed leather chair with a brandy, recalling war stories before discussing mergers and acquisitions after a brisk polo match, and literally looking down on the rest of the greater Bellevue-Seattle area from the crest of the area's old coal mines. It doesn't feel like it, but the club is public, and I recommend going at least once or twice a year even if you don't golf.

The Golf Club At Newcastle 15500 Six Penny Ln Newcastle, WA 98059 Phone number (425) 793-5566
Est. 1999 - Building constructed: 1999
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site:
Reviews: seattletimes - cascadegolfer - foleydesignyelp

Thursday, December 11, 2014

#2298 - The Calcutta Grill, Newcastle, WA - 9/23/2013

Country clubs and golf courses are an often overlooked option for just eating and drinking, and that is certainly true of Newcastle if one is in the mood for a casual but elegant setting with sweeping views of Lake Washington and its environs. The main restaurant is named for "calcutta" style wagering, not for Indian food -- it serves traditional American seafood and steaks in a semi-formal and simple way, ala, say, an Anthony's. The cocktails are pedestrian, but you're not here for culinary creativity or masterful craft cocktails, but rather for the sun, the grass, the views, and the formal service. And perhaps to daydream a bit like you're retired and living this every day.

15500 6 Penny Lane, Newcastle, WA 98059 - (425) 793-4646
Web site:
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor

#2297 - Pub 44, Lynnwood, WA - 9/22/2013

Despite being in a shopping center lot, this bar used to have an interesting name ("Daverthumps") and a nautical theme to distinguish it from other bars. Currently they seem to be trying to squeeze out whatever character it once had and make it into a sort of bland karaoke/sports bar like virtually every other bar in Lynnwood. Thankfully, there are still vestiges of the old place around -- at least for now -- and it can be a friendly and lively place to watch Seahawks games.

19720 44th Ave W Lynnwood, WA 98036 - (425) 582-8808                
Previous bars in this location: Daverthumps Pub
Reviews: yelp

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#2296 - Just Left, Lynnwood, WA - 9/22/2013

If I were to graph how much I liked the bars in a given town against the population of the towns, I think the amount I liked the bars would start out very high at the lowest populations, drop fairly steadily with the increase in population, and then start to head back up as it got to the largest cities in the state. If there's a bar in Mineral, Washington or Goble, Oregon, there's a very high chance that bar has lots of character.  As you get to larger and larger towns, you tend to see more and more of the banal, strip mall sorts of bars, with the same old beer corporation paraphernalia, TVs, plastic menus of fried food, a few craft beers mixed in with Bud and Bud Lite, and pull tab bins. These bars can still be fun places with the right staff and crowds, but it is exceedingly difficult to find anything in the bar itself that distinguishes it from thousands of other bars across the country, as if they were all created by some nameless, giant chain. Then, as you start to get to the few largest cities in the state, a sizable portion of bars start to become interesting again in a variety of ways, from the divey character you see in small towns to fancy craft cocktail joints and unique decors and themes to separate them from the competition.

Thus the resulting graph would probably come out looking something like this:

And that nadir in the line -- the very lowest point before heading back upward through Olympia and Everett up to Spokane, Tacoma, and Seattle -- is Lynnwood.

Lynnwood is around the 30th largest city in Washington state, with a population of about 36 thousand people. There's no charming, old downtown Lynnwood, no Lynnwood Ferry Terminal, no Hewitt Avenue or Capitol Hill, no Lynnwood Bay, and indeed no shoreline at all, despite resting just a few thousand feet from Puget Sound, with the exception of one odd little sliver for the Lynnwood Wastewater Treatment Plant. There is a small handful of historical sites and snippets of interesting drinking settings at places like Old Village Pub or Harvey's just out of town, and old timers might remember the Alpine Tavern or the Owl. But at its heart, current-day Lynnwood is highways and shopping malls, and if someone mentions the "Lynnwood Performing Arts Center" they are probably referring to Hooters.

Unfortunately for people who like a bar to have a unique personality, Just Left fits right in to this scene. People are nice enough, and I'm sure there are plenty of good times had by locals and regulars. It if you don't already know and love the place, it's just not likely to be worth much of a trip, as it will strike you as just one more of the hundreds of cookie-cutter, banal, suburban, sports bars, and it would probably take a considerable amount of drinking to see it as anything else.

4308 198th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036 - (425) 776-7379
Est. 2001? - Building constructed: 1975
Previous bars in this location: Outabounz Sports Pub
Web site:
Reviews: yelp - beeradvocate

#2295 #1173 - Witness, Seattle - 9/19/2013

I'm not a fan of grits, sweet tea, beignets, or chicken and waffles, but I usually find something I love at southern cuisine restaurants, whether they are traditional or fancied up, like the plates at Witness, on Broadway. Here it was the Bacon and Peaches (Yakima peaches, bacon, sage, smoked balsamic) and Pork and Beans (cider braised pork belly, Corona beans). And the cocktails were excellent, starting with the Witness Cocktail (Blanton's bourbon, Benedictine, Carpano Antica, hickory smoked cherry). Vicki the bartender did a fine job helping me identify the exact drinks and food items to fit my tastes.

Witness is the creation of Greg Holcomb, who has worked for several years on Capitol Hill, at Olive Way speakeasy Knee High Stocking Co. and Chez Gaudy. His southern style menu was created by chef Jesse Elliot from Tom Douglas's Cuoco. The interior evokes a small church of the old south, with white clapboard walls, backlit stained-glass windows, wooden pews, and even a sermon from Holcomb at 10pm Saturday nights. "The church pew seats came from a 102-year-old church in North Carolina (a Craiglist purchase, says Holcomb, and packing and shipping cost way more than the pews themselves). The bar is made from another set of century-old pews, these from a warehouse in Snohomish." (seattlemet). 

From cocktails to food to service to decor and vibe of the place, this is a church I can believe in.

410 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102 - (206) 669-3853
Est. Aug 22, 2013 - Building constructed: 1931
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: seattlemetseattlemag - seattletimesthestranger - onceuponabite - yelp - capitolhillseattle

#2294 #1172 - Itadakimasu, Seattle - 9/17/2013

Itadakimasu ("I humbly receive this meal," a phrase used by Japanese dinner guests to thank their hosts), is a small Hawaiian/Japanese/Korean restaurant in the U District. The bar is very small, the cocktails are not particularly enticing, but the people there are nice and the beef bulgogi is excellent.

4743 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 659-0722
Est. Nov 29, 2012 - Building constructed: 1966
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: wonderandriskdailyuw - yelp - yahoo

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

#2293 - Goble Tavern, Rainier, OR - 9/15/2013

Goble Tavern, Rainier, OR
The Goble Tavern is pretty much all that's left of the town of Goble, Oregon, named after trapper Daniel Blue Goble's donation lands claim in 1852, and once bustling center of a train ferry across the Columbia to Kalama, WA, where up to six trains a day stopped on the way to Seattle, and wood-burning steamboats pulled alongshore to refuel. In the lumber boom days around the turn of the century, many of the hundreds of loggers working in the area would pour into town on the weekend and dance at the Red Men Lodge Hall. The Goble Tavern, sitting about 150 feet west of the Columbia, just before the big river starts to curve westward, about halfway between Portland and Astoria, dates its founding to 1926. Of course at this point it would not have been a licensed tavern, as prohibition ended only in 1933, but it does appear to have become a bar shortly thereafter.

Goble Tavern in the 1930s (from tavern Facebook page)
The place had a substantial remodel completed in 2008, which was probably good for business, though I personally would have preferred the version that was a bit more ramshackle -- or "a shithole," in the vernacular of a bartender at the WigWam down the highway, with low ceilings, a 7-inch drop off in the old floor, and more than its share of old rockers and drugs. Lenny, the bartender we chatted with, preferred it then. But it's still a great place, with lots of historical links and gewgaws, and an emphasis on music.  People claim that Hank Williams once played here in the 40s, and that a teenage Willie Nelson hung around the area when his mother was a bartender here. A check of Willie's wikipedia page does indeed note that as a teen he hitchhiked his way from San Diego to Portland because his mother, who had left the family shortly after his birth, was living in the area. Willie got a job at KVAN in Vancouver and cut his first record from there.

Goble Tavern, before remodeling (Chris Updegrave photo)
Music is still a big part of the tavern, with guitars and various other instruments hanging on the walls, a stage for live music (where Lenny sometimes joins in on harmonica), an ever larger performance area in the sizable patio area out back, and an annual "Goble Warming" festival each August. They preserved a few warps from the old floor and cut out and hung a mural painted on the old wall, one of several done by an old local artist in exchange for his booze. The parking lot includes an a rotting wood boat and antique tractor, and occasionally has to be cleared of a tree dropped by local beavers. They have a full bar with some good beer choices, and a menu of pretty typical bar food -- burgers, fish and chips, and various fried foods. It was nice stopping by on a lazy afternoon drive up Highway 30, but I'd also love to swing by some Saturday night when the music is playing and the place is hopping, and hope to even make it for Goble Warming.

Goble Tavern, Flood of 1948 (photo in bar)

Goble Tavern, cut-out section of mural painted on old wall

70255 U.S. 30, Rainier, OR 97048 - (503) 556-4090
Est. year - Building constructed: year
Previous bars in this location:
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: portlandtribuneletitpour - yelp - tripadvisor

Sunday, November 30, 2014

#2292 - Wig Wam Tavern, Portland, Scappoose, OR - 9/15/2013

Wig Wam Tavern, Scappoose, OR
If you're driving from Seattle to Portland or vice versa, and you have a little extra time, one of the ways to make your route more pleasant is to take Highway 30 up along the eastern side of the Columbia, rather than soul-less I5 on the other side. What makes it more pleasant is not spectacular scenery, but rolling through small towns like Scappoose, and by small businesses like the Wig Wag Tavern.

In Scappoose you will also pass the World Peace Candle, which looks like an old silo with an electric flame on top -- which is exactly what it is -- but which was once listed by the Guinness book as the world's largest candle. The structure was once coated with actual wax, with a real wick, and lit by the governor of Oregon with a 60-foot long match.

The Wig Wam Tavern is a comfortable, old dive, with Coors and Budweiser on tap, free pool, bar food ("best gizzards in Columbia County"), and native American items that appear to be collected over many years. On some nights the Wig Wam has karaoke or live music, but on this rainy afternoon we just chatted with pleasant bartender Heather. The place appears to be fairly old, a business here during prohibition, was the Wig Wam back in day, later run as "Duffy's" and under a couple other names before becoming the Wig Wam again.

52499 Columbia River Hwy, Scappoose, OR 97056 - (503) 543-8362
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp - urbanspoon

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#2291 - Interurban, Portland, OR - 9/14/2013

Interurban is a manly place, with bearded staff serving classic pre-prohibition cocktails from a woody, old western saloon sort of setting, with animal heads on the walls along with pictures of trains and steel bridges. Or at least, its about as manly as you could be while nibbling on polenta croquettes and whiskey chicken liver mousse. It is still Portland, after all.

The drinks are well-made, and the two story space is particularly pleasant in warm weather when the patio out back is appealing option.  But at any time it seems like a nigh ideal place to sit back and sip some old whiskey-based cocktail.

4057 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227 - (503) 284-6669
Est. Nov 18, 2011
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: seriouseatsoregonliveeater - foodlandiapdx - yelp - urbanspoon - barfly - thedrinknation