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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (2,880 bars; 1,376 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Saturday, October 17, 2015

#2410 #1216 - NW Peaks Brewery, Seattle - 2/9/2014

NW Peaks is a nano-brewery in Ballard churning out less than a barrel per batch, but releasing two new beers per month, which they serve up in this tasting room, as well as the Bergschrund, in the former 2-Bit Saloon location, and several other local bars.

4912 17th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 853-0525
Est. 2012 - Building constructed: 1951
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp - beeradvocateratebeer - thestranger - ballardbeerblog

#2409 #1215 - Miyabi, Seattle - 2/8/2014

Miyabi, Seattle (Wallingford)
Miyabi describe themselves as a Japanese gastropub and claim to be the only restaurant on the west coast specializing in handmade soba noodles. This Wallingford Miyabi is a sister to restaurants to the south of Seattle in Tukwila and Tacoma, which have more of an emphasis on sushi. In addition to executive chef Masaaki Ishikura and his wife Hisako, the ownership group includes major league pitcher Masao Kida, who had a brief stint with the Mariners. For this location the ownership team added artisan soba chef Mutsuko Soma (Chez Shea, Saito's).

In addition to sake and shochu, they have a nice selection of infusions and well crafted, fruit based variations on classic cocktails. I did not try the soba this time, but much enjoyed a "Bad Date" (date-infused bourbon, black walnut liqueur, xococatl mole bitters), an infusion sampler and a cheese plate. (You can get an idea of the range of tempting food offerings from the over 500 photos with their yelp reviews.)

2208 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 632-4545             
Est. 2013 - Building constructed: 1946
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: seattlemet - seattlemagseattletimes - eater - thestranger - yelp - tripadvisor

Friday, October 16, 2015

#2408 #1214 - Octopus Bar, Seattle - 1/26/2014

Octopus Bar, I'm not going to try and deny that you had me at the sign. In fact, you had me mostly hooked as soon as I heard about a nautically themed bar from the people behind A-Pizza Mart and Royal Booze and Burritos -- those people know how to have fun and light up an otherwise mostly humdrum University District bar scene. Your flatbreads and margaritas are surely satisfactory, and your staff are fun and friendly, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I loved you for your looks.

2109 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 547-3663
Est. Jan 25, 2014 - Building constructed: 1915
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: seattlemetseattletimes -  yelp - wallyhood - komonews - sosh - thestranger

#2407 #1213 - El Borracho del Norte, Seattle - 1/25/2014

Not that I don't enjoy the yummy tacos at Kittie Davidovich's El Borracho establishments in Pike Place Market and Ballard, but we were sadly disappointed when she also converted the cajun and creole cuisine of Le Bon Ton Roule into yet another Borracho. The food, the drinks, and the breezy New Orleans roadhouse feel were unique in the Seattle area. It was even more sad when this version of Borracho closed shop a year later. C'est la vie.

4332 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 297-8888
Est. Dec 7, 2013 - Building constructed: 1900 or earlier
Previous bars in this location: Le Bon Ton Roule, Treehouse, Claudio's
Web site: elborrachoseattle.comfacebook
Reviews: seattlemet - foursquare - myballard

#2406 #1212 - Bad Jimmy's, Seattle - 1/25/2014

I have to confess that there are so many of these microbreweries, and so many with virtually identical tasting rooms spilling out on to the patio from the warehouse -- and all serving good beers, all run and populated by nice people, all offering a chill environment to drink in -- that I really wouldn't know how to contrast them. (As long as we're talking about microbrews, my tasting experience ranges much more from beer to beer than it does from brewery to brewery.) Anyway, I'd recommend this one, just like I'd recommend every one of the ten microbreweries in the surrounding five square miles. Here's to beer and here's to Ballard.

4358 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 789-1548
Est. Dec 27, 2013 - Building constructed: 1928
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site:
Articles ranked: fremontuniversebeeradvocate - seattleweeklytwobrewreview - ratebeer - washingtonbeerblog - craftbeermonger - brewerydbmyballard - yelp - tripadvisor - ballardnewstribunethestranger - eatballard

#2405 #1211 - Bourbon and Bones, Seattle - 1/25/2014

“I noticed there is nothing here that stands up to barbecue in North Carolina or the south, and I’m hoping to bring that here and make it in a very rustic way,” says co-owner Michael Law. Law left that state to work in New Orleans for 10 years, then northern Italy, France and Spain, before coming to Seattle for stints at El Gaucho, Flying Fish, and Wandering Goose. [ballardnewstribune]  Then at the beginning of 2014 he started serving up Lexington style barbecue in his own place (co-owned with Michael McConnell of Via Tribulani), after smoking it with apple and cherry wood in a custom made smoker, with a whiskey themed cocktail program from Nate Quiroga (Liberty).

In September of 2015 came word that Law was leaving B&B, while two new local chefs with high reputations -- William Belickis of Mistral Kitchen and Scott Carsberg of Lampriea/Bisato -- were coming in, an interesting shuffle of star chefs in the tiny, faux rustic space. While I have not been there since these changes, I'm sure you can continue to count on this being one of the better BBQs out of the explosion of barbecue joints in the Ballard area, or in the rest of the city for that matter. And while it's clearly about the meat (purchased by weight from a deli sort of display), and it's not always easy to find a seat in the limited bar area, it's not a bad choice to just grab a drink or two, as they have a good if not huge selection of spirits and make a nice Sazerac.

4350 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 582-2241
Est. Jan 20, 2014 - Building constructed: 1928
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: ballardnewstribune - seattlemet - chowhounds - seattlemag - yelpthestranger - zomato

#2404 #1210 - Retro Restaurant and Lounge, Seattle - 1/22/2014

Retro seems like a small town bar that somehow plopped down into downtown Seattle. Owner Jeff is friendly and serves the unpretentious food you might imagine his mother making for you at the house, and in a setting that seems like it could have been decorated with spare items from his bedroom. The sparse and random items include a group of Lou Gehrig clippings that look like a treasured personal collection, along with the garden-variety family-restaurant James Dean and Marilyn Monroe stuff. Beside and beyond the bar room, there is a spare area with a stage and a back room that feels like a den, making the joint seem more like an after hours club. And yet the whole thing seems so unaffected that you can't help but root for the place.

216 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 441-7374
Est. June 17, 2013 - Building constructed: 1916
Previous bars in this location: Entres Nous, Night Kitchen
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor - zomato

#2403 #1209 - E. Smith Mercantile, Seattle - 1/22/2014

The web site says:
"E. Smith Back Bar is an extension of the artful life we promote with our mercantile goods. Inspired by the history of using alcohol as a vessel for the medicinal qualities of plants, we create seasonal herbal, fruit and floral infusions in combination with classic cocktail recipes. Not only are they a great cure for sobriety, but they taste damn fine."

I think that pretty much nails it. The little 15-seat bar in the back of the funky 19th century style general store is probably my favorite bar in the mid to south downtown area. A few years ago that would not have been saying much in this area, but it remains my favorite despite some considerable competition now. In addition to the charmingly dark decor and the very nice cocktails, I especially like the sort of (small) crowd the bar attracts. Owner Jessie Poole named it after her Southern Idaho gold miner grandfather, has her mother do interior design, make the perfumes, and make the bitters and infusions for the bar, had her father do the build out, and has her sister run the kitchen. I like every bit of the results.

208 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 641-7250

Est. Sep 19, 2013 (bar; shop opened 4/4/2013)
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: eater - seattlemet - thrillist - seattlemagyelp - zomato

#2402 - Spar Tree, Granite Falls - 1/20/2014

Granite Falls Washington is a small city about 35 miles northwest of Seattle, at the foot of the Cascade mountain range, and between the Pilchuck River and the South Fork Stillaguamish, the latter of which contains the actual falls. Now over 90% white, the first European settlers arrived here in this ancient portage of the Salish peoples in the early 1880s, and by 1892 the first of many shingle mills was established. These and the discovery of gold and silver in nearby areas such as Monte Cristo (now a ghost town) driving thousands of prospectors into the area drove the population of Granite Falls to several hundred in the last decade of the 19th century and first of the 20th, and the city incorporated in 1903. [historylink, wikipedia] The 1904 Polk Guide lists 4 saloons to aid thirsty residents.

By the great depression both the mining and lumber businesses had begun collapsing, and the population dropped in half, below 500 residents. Even before then much of the economy had shifted toward tourism and natural recreation, serving as a gateway to the dramatic peaks of the Cascade Loop, as the population waxed and waned over the next six decades, then picked up speed in 1990s to a present size of about 3,500 people. But only one bar.

The imminent opening of the Spar Tree Tavern is noted in the November 5, 1936 issue of the Snohomish County Forum newspaper, and it appears to have been running fairly consistently, though not in the same location, since that time. At some point it moved into the former John Ashe's Hardware, on the northwest corner of Granite Ave and Stanley St, before moving again kitty corner across the streets to its present location, into a former diner called "Johnson's Fountain" built on the space where the Commercial Hotel burned down in 1917. [gfhistory.toursphere]

In its most previous incarnation the Spar Tree was run by a father and son for several decades and largely known as a biker bar, until closing down in 2007. I will confess, as a visitor, to missing this more rough and tumble, divey version, but of course I don't live there and have a business to run. In April 2011 it was purchased by "Joe from Detroit" (this is how he introduces himself), who cleaned the place up both physically and mentally.

In addition to sanding the gang signs out of the bar, painting the sign, and other cleaning and remodeling, Joe described the challenges in finding dedicated employees, strung out customers, and shooing away drug dealers. He was convinced that he is the hardest working man in the county, and his observations on the scene sounded like a much older man than he is, though not without considerable justification. In just one of several examples, he described two previous bartender hires who were young mothers, who not only were far from his work ethic but both ended up meth addicts.

Joe's a very friendly guy if you are on the up and up, and he mentioned that he talked to Gary and some of the other folks at Doc's Pilchuck Tavern about a main goal to "Create a nice place for nice people." He seems to have largely succeeded, playing a nice role in the community, respectful of the respectful parts of the place's long history, but modernizing the much of it including the drinks and food. The cocktails are typical of a small town dive and not my personal cup of [Long Island] tea, but the food is definitely a cut above your typical bar food, with not only some unusually tasty looking burgers but with some atypical spins like a cranberry almond chicken sandwich, smoked gouda cheese sticks, and bone-in mini pork shanks.

The Spar Tree is not the charming dusty dive I expected when I first heard about it, but nevertheless it is a place I will definitely look forward to returning to from time to time.

106 W Stanley St, Granite Falls, WA 98252 - (360) 925-6639
Est. 1936 (different location)
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp - zomato

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#2401 - Buzz Inn, Lake Stevens - 1/20/2014

The Buzz Inn Steakhouse in Lake Stevens, WA is one of a mini-chain of about 12 Buzz Inns spread around the northwest quarter of Washington state. Though I don't know of any of these that are actually in strip malls, they are generally the classic, large, suburban strip mall bar style, with a 70s vibe, large menus centered around American comfort food, and also serving up karaoke, cover bands, Seahawks games, and limited gambling. It's not one my favorite kinds of bars, but the service is friendly and its easy for me to see how locals would make it a regular haunt, largely for the people working and drinking there, esp. in communities without a huge selection of bars and restaurants, and where you know a lot more of your neighbors.

1801 Main St, Lake Stevens, WA 98258 - (425) 377-9599
Est. 1981?
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp - zomato

Monday, October 12, 2015

#2400 - Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Machias - 1/20/2014

About half way between Granite Falls and Snohomish, on the banks of the Pilchuck River, is a old joint that feels like pretty much the perfect rural dive bar. It's not clear to me how long Doc's Pilchuck Tavern -- AKA the "Pilchuck Yacht Club" - has been here; One source says it was founded in 1956, the owner's brother said their parents started it shortly after prohibition, and yet another source  says that the current building was constructed in 1961. But for at least half century it has been run by Jimmy "Doc" Young, the "Mayor of Machias," drummer in the Snohomish Sauerkraut Band, and overseer of the annual Polar Bear Plunge into the icy Pilchuck River each New Years day.

Jimmy "Doc" Young, Doc's Pilchuck Tavern
The river runs below the back patio at Doc's, and when there isn't a crowd of crazy, half-naked people jumping into it, you can see spawning humpies in the water below and bald eagles in the trees above. Inside there is an ample supply of character and characters, and we chatted with local Dave below a ridiculously bad taxidermied cougar, old photos and curious bric-a-brac accrued over many years. Toward the end of our visit we met Doc himself, who at 78 was super friendly whilst retaining a cagey sense of humor. We had no clue then, as he agreed to let me take his photo in the doorway and we told him how we looked forward to coming back to sit on the patio on a sunny summer day, that Jimmy would pass away just six months later. From everything I can tell, he left behind a life well lived, a large number of people who will miss him dearly, and a swell little bar now run by his widow and son.

Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Machias, WA
"It is a very sad day today. Earlier this AM, after some long fought heart issues, Owner and Head Commodore of Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Jimmy Young, passed away at the age of 79. He will be forever remembered as a sweet, generous and kind man. Sail on Skipper, Sail on........
April 13, 1935 - June 21, 2014."

Doc's Pilchuck Tavern, Machias, WA

1429 S Machias Rd, Snohomish, WA 98290 - (425) 397-8912
Articles ranked: heraldnet - seattleweekly - juicebrewsandlibations - yelp

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#2399 #S1208 - Swannies, Seattle - 1/19/2014

Though they appear to have been forced out by new building ownership and a prolonged remodeling project, it's easy to see why this space would be more appealing than the previous location for both the Swannies Sports Bar section upstairs and the Comedy Underground below. But I miss the old place. The bar is now significantly larger in size, but seems smaller in personality. It's a perfectly acceptable spot for grabbing a beer, maybe a little tex-mex dinner, and catching a game. But it's hard not to pine for the tiny place around the street that was actually run by Swannie -- that is, Jim Swanson, former catcher for the legendary Portland Mavericks, who commonly had big leaguers there after their games, with guest bartending stints from Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly, Bob Uecker and part-time part-owner Ron Guidry. (Of course "guest bartender" stints usually meant standing behind the bar observing others pour drinks.) This was the place that set beer prices based on Dave Valle's batting average in 1991 (after hovering around .150 for much of the year, Dave ended his '91 campaign at .194), and was rumored to have cops taking target practice with beer bottles after hours.

Swannies Sports Bar, Pioneer Square, Seattle
Anyway, the old location that packed them in after games is gone and so is Swannie -- he sold the place and briefly ran another version in Shoreline -- and I suppose it's unfair to judge the current place by my memories of the other. But while it is a perfectly fine option for a game, it's difficult for me to see any particular reason to favor it over the many other sports bar choices in the Pioneer Square and SoDo area.

109 S. Washington St, Seattle, Washington 98104 - (206) 628-0303
Est. 2008 (current location, 1980 in previous location) - Building constructed: 1909
Previous bars in this location: The New Fenix
Web site: swanniesinthepark.comfacebook
Reviews: foodosophy - yelp