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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (2,629 bars; 1,280 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Monday, November 23, 2009

#949 - Chopstix, Seattle - 11/21/2009

Update: Chopstix was renamed Keys on Main in March 2012.


A night at Chopstix is like watching two extremely homely people feverishly making out on the bus -- you'd rather not have to witness it, but at the same time can't help feeling a little happy that at least they found someone, seemingly against all odds. The place is packed, and with what seem to be all home-schooled kids getting drunk for the first time. Thus the dumb sex allusions by the piano players are all simply HEE-LARIOUS (OMG! OMG! I can't believe he said that!), and then the night turns absolutely AWESOME when they launch into a muddled piano version of Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer"!

The cocktail menu is unrelentingly awful and appears to be designed by teenage girls. It bizzarely finished in the Top 5 of King TV's Best Cocktails, which must be seen as a tribute to the power of organized sorority members. (BTW, when I asked for a cocktail menu, it took the bartender a while to find one, and I had to promise to return it because it was the bar's only copy.)

I'm happy that all these people can find a bar that's safe and boring enough for them to feel like part of the party. But if you've been going to bars for more than six months and don't belong to a sorority, this is not the bar for you. On the other hand, if you love good bars, good cocktails, and good music, then Chopstix is like a night of being waterboarded.

11 Roy St., Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 270-4444
Building constructed: 1918
chopstixpianobar.com - yelp

#948 - Toulouse Petit, Seattle - 11/21/2009


It's not often that a menu has credits for woodworkers, metal artists, and glass blowers, but the owners of Peso's are justifiably proud of this very attractive, French Quarter style restaurant next door. They also rattle off some of the stats: 712 panes of glass in the windows and doors, 85,000 Italian mosaic tiles in the floor, 40,000 glass tiles in the booth platforms, and 10,000 board feet of hardwood. (My favorite touch is the long, gently bending lamp hooks.) Other numbers I witnessed include about 200 wine choices, 40 vodkas, and around 120 votive candles sparkling on the walls.

The menu is massive and comes with a large wine list and a very large menu of modestly discounted Happy Hour items (4:00-5:30 and 10pm-close). Both my food and my cocktails were very good. Toulouse staff include chef Eric Donnelly, from Sazerac and Oceanaire, and bartenders Shing Chen, from Ovio Bistro and Wild Ginger, and Miles Thomas, from Tavern Law. It is loud -- though not as loud as Peso's, and seems to play the same sort of rock music as Peso's, which seems a bit at odds with the romantic decor. Overall it is a lovely place for dinner and/or drinks, particularly when it is dark outside.

Try the: Katie Mae

601 Queen Anne Ave N., Seattle, WA 98119 - (206) 432-9069

yelp - seattle weekly - seattle magazine - seattlest

#947 - Ascada Bistro, Seattle - 11/21/2009

The former "Perche No" location now houses a small, meat market sort of nightclub, where hapless bartenders try in vain to keep up with drink orders and telephoning credit card bills via a slow, little machine. The drinks are nothing special, but it is a fairly happening little scene, particularly if you like soul/R&B, and it does have a bunch of genuine Jimi Hendrix gold records on the wall.

621 1/2 Queen Anne Ave., Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 282-1018
yelp - citysearch - seattle pi

#946 - Lowell's, Seattle - 11/18/2009


Another honest, old place in the market (next door to the Athenian), with great views of the sound and a pleasant handful of regulars at the bar. The Lowell's location opened in 1908 as the first of Manning's Cafeterias, which eventually expanded to 40 restaurants in 9 states, including the 1964 googie architecture Ballard building (the "Taj Mahal of Ballard") that later became Denny's on 15th and Market. The Pike Place Market location became Lowell's in 1957.

Overheard "And he's been getting shitfaced by closing every day since 1974."

Try the: Seattle 75

1519 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 622-2036
eatatlowells.com - the stranger - the stranger 2- citysearch - yelp - urban spoon

#945 - Castaways, Long Beach, WA - 11/12/2009


208 Pacific Ave S., Long Beach, WA 98631 - (360) 642-4745
castawaysseafoodgrille.com - yelp - yahoo - urban spoon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#944 - Top Notch Tavern, Raymond, WA - 11/12/2009


The Top Notch is just the sort of bar you'd like to find on a gusty Willapa Bay weekday afternoon. The parking lot is all trucks, the interior is woodsy with taxidermy mounts and signed dollar bills tacked to the walls, and strung around the corner of the bar was a grizzled set of regulars that looked like they just rolled off of an episode of "Deadliest Catch." As soon as I entered, a fellow shook my hand and told that he'd been wondering when I'd show up again. When I told him I'd never been in this place before in my life, he informed me that there was going to be a fight, and I was going to be on his side.

A fight did not seem imminent given how comfortably ensconced in their bar stools everyone appeared -- though I've little doubt that the place has seen its share of scraps in its day. I later told Tom, the fellow that greeted me, that I was heading out to Long Beach peninsula, he told me that he used to have some kind of realtor or inspector job in that area and knew "every spot to piss in" up in those parts.

There are not a ton of google results for the Top Notch, but I did find a "Virginia's Resume" that included this:
    "Top Notch Tavern - Bartender - I quit this job because money kept missing from my check."
And I also found this note from "steveni" on olyblog.net:
    "The Top Notch Tavern in Raymond was originally opened by my great-uncle, who had been a moonshiner and bootlegger supreme in earlier years. I believe he died in his 50s of a heart attack during his trial for murder when he beat a business associate to death with a chair in Aberdeen. Alcohol was involved, I'm sure. That is one of the milder stories about my family in Raymond."
Good stuff.



Historical notes: I know the town of Raymond as a sleepy, small community of antique shops and roadside metal sculpture, bisected by Highway 101 on the way to Long Beach.  I believe that the Top Notch is the only bar in Raymond, today, along with Tombstone Wiley's on the outskirts of town. But a century ago Raymond was rollicking. Bars preceding prohibition in town included Kuehner’s Tavern, The Russell Bar, The Astoria Bar, Owl Bar, The Palm Bar, Portland Beer Hall, Office Bar, The Doctor Bar, and the Combination Bar. Local Doug Allen quotes the Pacific County sheriff describing Raymond's 1st Street as a "howling wilderness."

Allen continues:

'Prior to the First World War there were more retail businesses on First Street and its neighboring side streets than in all of modern day Raymond.  In those days there were at least a dozen saloons, squeezed into the single city block, on the street’s south end, between Commercial and Alder.  As late as the 1930s, shopkeepers on the north end (the other three blocks) would warn customers and families to stay away from “that part of town.”
     A series of anti-beer and liquor laws, dating from 1913, and lasting until 1933, began to affect the saloon owners and shopkeepers, especially the European-born.  The prohibition era, combined with the movement of Raymond’s commercial district toward Third Street and beyond, led to significant changes in the 1930s and 1940s, which is more recognizable in the memories of today’s group of senior citizens.
     The days of Prohibition in Raymond, South Bend, and the Willapa Valley is a story unto itself but Raymond’s saloons managed to stay in business as pool halls and “social clubs.” Bootleggers and police were kept busy.  At least one dairy farmer supplemented his income by delivering milk bottles painted white, filled with the product of a secret still.
     The youngsters who grew up between World War II and the Vietnam War recall a different First Street.  By then it was a collection of beer parlors, card rooms, aging rooming houses, and a few fading grocery stores and cafes.  Two or three houses of prostitution, historically tolerated by the city and police, continued to operate, but a corrosive political climate had turned against the “old days.”  People growing up during those years have their own memories of the area, and some may have been told by parents to stay away from “that street.”
     Searching back before the ‘forties, to the period of time between 1903 and 1930, the amateur sleuth can discover a street that had been the city’s focal place of business and social life.  Even in the years immediately following World War II, through the 1950s, First Street clung to its former character, its businesses and social gatherings still reflecting a vibrant role in the life of the city.
     The First Street of Raymond’s early years is a dimming memory; Ray Wheaton’s “Howling Wilderness” is gone.  The few older buildings still standing are the lamentable relics of a more glorious, or possibly infamous, past.  The Cedar Tavern finally closed just a few years ago, a crumbling reminder of what once was.  And as for the glory years, an accurate communal memory threatens to fade and disappear, as the men and women who recall the area’s youthful exuberance grow old and pass on.'  (The Sou'Wester)


425 Third Street, Raymond, WA 98577

#943 - The Spectator, Seattle - 11/11/2009

Take the former Sorry Charlie's and Mirabeau Room, add 16 televisions and remove all personality, and you have The Spectator. The people working here were pretty cool, but if you're not one of their friends, it is not apparent to me why you would ever, ever go here.

529 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 599-4263

thespectatorsports.com - yelp - the stranger - bar exam

#942 - Streamline Tavern, Seattle - 11/11/2009


The Streamline is a bare bones dive bar that was recently acquired by ex-Seattle P.I. writer Mike Lewis and some partners:

    "Lewis' partners include: Lock & Keel owner John Herrmann, former College Inn owner Gary Kelfner (who, incidentally, is former SW editor/current Crosscut columnist Skip Berger's brother-in-law), and Blue Moon bartender Mary McIntyre, who is also Lewis' longtime girlfriend and whose tastefully nude (no nipples!) likeness adorns the sign of the historic U-District bar which currently employs her." (Seattle Weekly 9/16/09)

It appears that the Streamline is applying for a liquor license in order to extend beyond wine and beer, and at least for now it serves as a sort of slow, grandfatherly alternative to neighbor dives like the Mecca and Ozzies.

121 W Mercer St., Seattle, WA 98119 - (206) 283-2923

Seattle Weekly - yelp - the stranger

Saturday, November 14, 2009

#941 - Stumbling Goat Bistro, Seattle - 11/11/2009

My K-Bar stop here was a very pleasant surprise. I expected the food to be good of course, but I also expected the bar to be an ancillary bore. However, at least since the new owners took over, this is a swell bar with some very nice cocktails. Included in this was the best gin and tonic I can ever remember having (with home-made tonic). So even if you're not looking for dinner, this is a very nice little stop.

6722 Greenwood Ave N., Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 784-3535
stumblinggoatbistro.com - tomdouglas.com - seattletimes - yelp - thestranger

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#940 - Prost!, Seattle (West Seattle) - 11/9/2009


This is the fourth in Chris Navarra's locations bringing the German tavern to Seattle (he also owns Feierbend, Die Beir Stube, and the Prost! in Greenwood). These are all fine places if you love German beers, and while they are not my favorites, this location is my favorite of the four. I like the intimate size, the photos, and the crowd here.

3407 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
prosttavern.net - seattle weekly - urban spoon - yelp

#939 - The Bohemian, Seattle - 11/9/2009

Closed 2010

3405 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 938-2646
bohemianseattle.com - yelp - seattlest

#938 - Feedback Lounge, Seattle - 11/8/2009


I know I'm going to like a place when I sit down to find a bottle of falernum in front of me. In chatting with Matt, the co-owner and concocter of fine cocktails, he mentioned that he wasn't sure that type of bar would be successful in West Seattle, or whether the reaction would be "What's that? Give me a jack and coke." He might just as well have asked if the sophisticated drinks would work with the old school rock theme of the place. But he seems pleased with the support so far and whatever the context, these are some drinks well worth seeking out.

The Feedback just took first place for "Best Cocktails" in King-5's Best of Western Washington, and while I do not consider that a particularly reliable guide, it is definitely a worthy contender. And Sundays are a fine day to go: "Each week co-owner Matt Johnson comes up with a drink whose recipe might go back 100 years — or just a month or two. Starting today, Matt will shop at the West Seattle Farmers Market each Sunday and uses those fresh ingredients in a drink that evening." (West Seattle Blog)

Try the: St. Basil (or the drink of the week if it's Sunday)

6451 California Ave SW., Seattle, WA 98136 - (206) 453-3259
feedbacklounge.net - myspace - west seattle blog - yelp - the stranger

Sunday, November 08, 2009

#937 - The Shipwreck, Seattle (West Seattle) - 11/8/2009


Update: The Shipwreck closed Nov 18, 2012.


The Shipwreck is a nifty neighborhood tavern -- and a true tavern, not just because it is limited to beer and wine, but because it has that old, stolid, tavern feel. The curveball is an open upper level with a ping pong table curiously placed over the main bar, which makes the evening vaguely redolent of "Captain Kangaroo" with cascades of ping pong balls popping into your beer at any moment. Yet another pleasant addition to the California stretch of West Seattle.

Historical Notes:  The "Happy Hour Tavern" is listed at this location from 1948 into at   least 1970.  In 1980 it is "Ye Old Hour, " in 1985 "Luther's Pub," and in 1990 it is "TNT's Place."

4210 SW Admiral Way, Seattle, WA 98116
Est. Oct. 10, 2009 - Closed Nov 18, 2012 - Building constructed: 1926
Previous bars at this location: Happy Hour Tavern, Ye Old Hour, Luther's Pub, TNT's Place
west seattle herald - yelp

#936 - Chao Bistro, Seattle - 11/6/2009

Update: Chao Bistro closed in June 2012.

There's nothing particularly wrong with Chao Bistro, and in some neighborhoods, I'd probably seek it out (the owners are affiliate with soul-less Belltown venues Amber and Venom). But in a neighborhood with as many choices with personality as Capitol Hill, it's not clear to me why anyone would choose this place.

1200 Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122 - 206 324 1010
Est. Sep. 25, 2009 - Closed June 2012
Previous bars at this location: Pike's Bar and Grill,  1200 Bistro
chaobistro.com - facebook - yelp - the stranger - seattle weekly

#935 - Quinn's Gastropub, Seattle - 11/6/2009

Quinn's has excellent food (try the wild boar sloppy joes) and good cocktails (try the Missed Opportunity). It's right in the middle of the Capitol Hill nightlife activity, and I probably avoided it earlier only out of personal, sentimental reasons. The space is a little open and the crowd a bit boring, but from now on out, if I am on Capitol Hill and in the mood for some top rate drinks and/or food rather than decor and people, the choice will be Tavern Law or Quinn's.

1001 E Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 325-7711
quinnspubseattle.com = seattle times - seattle times 2 - yelp - sneaky sunday

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

#934 - Mr. Z's Lounge (Zaika), Shoreline - 11/2/2009

Zaikia closed (in 2011?)

Zaika site, via the Wayback Machine


14622 15th Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155 - (206) 306-0880                     
zaikathetaste.net (defunct) - yelp - waybackmachine

Monday, November 02, 2009

#933 - North City Tavern, Shoreline - 11/2/2009


The stretch of 15th Ave NE north of Northlake Mall has a pretty nice string of neighborhood bars, from Boud's Pinehurst to the Caroline to North City Tavern. North City Tavern/Lounge has been around since at least 1945, perhaps since Prohibition, and occupies the oldest commercial property in the area (started 1929). Inside it has all the basics of a neighborhood dive -- woody interiors, yellowing old beer promotion lights, and yellowing old regular patrons.

17554 15th Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155 - (206) 362-1443
seattle weekly - yelp

#932 - Shelter Lounge, Seattle (Ballard) - 10/29/2009


The old location of the Station Bistro has been re-made into a lovely, half-indoor/half-outdoor, mid-century modern lounge that brings to mind Portland's Doug Fir. (And like several Portland bars, they feature a nice, jalapeno-flavored margarita.) The decor is a swanky dark combination of rock, wood, and flame. The central bar serves both indoor and outdoor patrons, and on summer evenings when the garage doors are fully opened, this is sure to be packed. (Opened 10/23/09, owned by Kevin Carlson)

4910 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 829-8568
my ballard - yelp - girl in the city

#931 - Andaluca, Seattle (downtown) - 10/28/2009

Good wine, good food, upscale but comfortable.

407 Olive Way, Seattle, Washington 98101 - (206) 382-6999
andaluca.com - yelp - the stranger