Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,782 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Sunday, May 30, 2010

#1121 #S669 - Tarasco, Seattle - 5/30/2010

Tarasco is one of those restaurant / bars that pops up unexpectedly in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  It is nominally Mexican -- with orange and yellow walls and a couple sombreros hanging from one wall.

And it has some fairly cool signage with a martini glass brand on the flank or replacing the eye of a Bull.  But as a bar -- or as a personality -- there's just not a lot of there there.

seattle weekly - yelp
1452 NW 70th St, Seattle, WA 98117 - (206) 782-1485

#1120 #S668 - Heads or Tails, Seattle - 5/29/2010

Update: Heads or Tails closed Jan 1, 2017.

This place has upgraded from a trash heap to a typical suburban dive.  Its previous incarnation, as the "Lazy Fish Saloon," was depressing in almost every way.  There were stacks of plywood and trash leaning against the interior walls, and 2 or 3 drunks from Aurora Ave leaning toward a fight.  Even the name was a bit shabby and dishonest -- there was a basically a foot-long fish in a two-foot-long tank:  You try being anything but "lazy" being confined in such a space.

The location is said to have hosted bars going back to 1934, although tax records date the building back to 1955, and three people were murdered here in 1994 when it was the "Far Western Pub and Grill."

The new place has cleaned up considerably, adding a back porch area (although granted, this was mainly for the smokers) and the standard dive ingredients -- diner type food, pulltabs, karaoke, and fliers for the local social clubs and semi-pro sports teams ("Seattle Stallions Football," "Ballard Elks Car Show," "9 Ways to Destroy Your Eagles Aerie").  The result seems to be a substantially larger crowd -- and I mean that in more ways than just a higher number of people. At least they must think the food is pretty dang good.

Mind you, all this doesn't mean that you still don't find the occasional dead body in the parking lot ...

12534 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133 - (206) 440-3288
Previous bars at this location:  Herb's Tavern (60s to 80s), Baluga's Tavern (80s), Rex Pub & Grill (90s), Far Western Pub (mid 90s), Ima's Smokehouse Pub (1995), Bitter Lake Pub (2000s), Dawg Tagz (2000s), Lazy Fish Saloon

#1119 #S667 - Circa Grill & Ale House, Seattle - 5/29/2010

This is a little place popular with neighborhood families for it's slightly upscale comfort food.  There is nothing particularly remarkable about the bar, and the selection of beers on tap is pretty small for a place with "Ale House" in their title (although they do have Manny's, which always makes the selection okay in my book), and they have some nice cocktails.

2605 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 923-1102 - seattle pi - seattle weekly - the stranger - yelp

Saturday, May 29, 2010

#1118 #S666 - Vela Pizzeria & Lounge, Seattle - 5/28/2010

Vela is number 666 on my list of bars in the Seattle city limits.  Perhaps I should take something exciting from that.  I did see some references to the "Union Bar" which conjured images of a great old blue collar dive in the basement of this temple to an era where such working people used to command a bit more societal respect.

But Vela Pizza, while in a great old Labor Temple space, is just a pedestrian pizza joint by day, and by night a bar that is a cliche second rate bump and grind club.

2800 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 441-8352 - facebook - yelp

#1117 #S665 - Hunter Gatherer Lodge, Seattle - 5/27/2010

Update: The Hunter Gatherer Lodge is closing after Saturday March 31, 2012.

This is not one of my favorite types of bars and the cocktails are basically of the frat party variety.  However there are at least three reasons to be very happy about the new Hunter Gatherer Lodge, in the space of the previous War Room:  1) It presumably will give us continued access to a fine upstairs patio in the summer months; 2) it keeps an active bar in a structure that was built in 1920 and which has hosted a bar (mostly the Harvard Tavern) since at least 1935; and 3) it has a sweet section of wall with taxidermy heads extending from live ivy.

722 E. Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 328-7666
Est. April 9, 2010 - Closed April 1, 2012 - Building constructed 1920
hglodge.comthe stranger - yelp

#1116 #S664 - Noble Fir, Seattle - 5/26/2010

Update: Noble Fir closed Dec 2022.

This is a pleasant new place on Ballard Ave (it opened to the public on this date), with a quite good beer and wine selection and some interesting food items with nice meats, cheeses and desserts.  The decor is woody and neat, and surprisingly spare for a place with forest sort of theme. 

But don't go if you're not ready to get your drink on -- the wines by glass are a bit on the spendy side and the tap beers are not served in anything less than 20oz imperial pints.

It's not immediately clear to me that this will be enough to make people choose the Fir over various other place along this stretch, but I suppose we'll see.

5316 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107

5316 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 420-7425
thenoblefir.comseattle pi - thrillist - yelp

#1117 #S665 - Ruby Asian Dining, Seattle - 5/24/2010

Update: Sabai closed in Feb 2014

(Now "Sabai") There's not much to the bar here, but they do have a few house cocktails, very much on the sweet side.  I chose the Sabai Sabai (Mekhong rum, lemon juice, sugar syrup, thai basil, soda), which actually looked like the least sweet and sugary option, but it's nothing to write Siam about.

200 Lake Washington Blvd, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 322-7288 - the stranger - yelp

Monday, May 24, 2010

#1115 #S663 - Porterhouse, Seattle - 5/22/2010

Update:  The Porterhouse closed Dec. 3, 2011.

The Porterhouse, in the old Blackbird space in West Seattle, is the sister pub to a place in Mount Vernon of the same name, but is nevertheless owned by a West Seattle native, Silas Reynolds.  As the name suggests, the emphasis at the Porterhouse(s) is beer, and in general they seem to get very good reviews for their numerous west coast brews, with more mixed reaction to their gastropub food.

When the gal at the bar found out that I was more in the mood for an "interesting cocktail," she fetched Kristin, who made me a fairly nice French 75.

2329 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 932-2575 - facebook - westseattleblog - thestranger - urbanspoon - yelp

#1114 #S662 - Brickyard BBQ, Seattle - 5/19/2010

Update: Brickyard BBQ closed in 2012.

In neighborhood bar areas, as in business, it seems to be a general trend that the rich get richer.  For Seattle area bars, the richest for me are Capitol Hill (particularly the stretch around Olive between Broadway and I5), the Georgetown/SoDo area, and California Avenue in West Seattle.  Along the latter, which ranges from great old dives (e.g. Poggie Tavern) to swanky (best represented by the recently demised Ama Ama) to fancy schmancy (e.g. Spring Hill), you can add one of very few barbecue places that really looks and feels like a barbecue place.

The Brickyard BBQ serves quite good Texas-style barbecue in a quirky building (much of it necessitated by quirky building codes) with a decor assembled from various friends, and designed with warm, summer afternoons in mind.  There is currently a fair amount of outdoor seating and a garage door that opens the inner portion in warm weather, and Don Kriley, who co-owns the place with his brother Dan, took me back to see the grassy area in back that they plan to have ready to open this Saturday May 29th with horse shoe pits, fire pits, an outdoor bar, and live music, and I hope to be able to check it out that night.

Thanks to Don's friend David for giving me a bit of history of not only this place, but the Blue Eagle, Alki, and some of the other old bars of West Seattle.  There's not much fancy about the bar or drinks at the Brickyard, but this is place gives me one more reason to look forward to those warm summer days in between the gray ones.

2308 California Avenue Southwest Seattle, WA - (206) 933-3109
Est. 2010 - Closed 2012 - facebook - urbanspoon - westseattleblog

#1113 #S661 - Tilikum Place Cafe, Seattle - 5/18/2010

Tilikum Place Cafe, Seattle, WA

This is a quite nice, somewhat upscale, cafe just up the street from the (in no way upscale, but excellent) Five Point, on a historic corner in Seattle at the meeting of land claims by founders Arthur Denny, Carson Boren and William Bell (of the "Belltown" neighborhood). The menu comes from a chef, Ba Culbert, who previously worked at the Palace Kitchen and The Ruins, and seems to feature fine takes on European comfort food sorts of dishes.  In the evenings the bar is a  pleasant stop with better than average drinks. Best seats in the house are the left-most bar seats, where one can observe the small but finely-tuned kitchen churning out their great looking dishes.

Meals coming out of the kitchen as viewed from the bar
Fried Brussels Sprout Salad

Pan seared chicken with broccolini, mashed potatoes, sauce Normany

Wild boar meatballs

Savory tart
407 Cedar St, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 282-4830                    
Est. October 2008 - Building constructed 1927
Previous bars at this location: None know (printers shop before cafe)
Web site: - facebook
Articles:  seattletimes - belltowninseattle - cornichon - the stranger - seattle weekly - yelp

#1112 #S660 - Coldwater Bar & Grill, Seattle - 5/18/2010

Update: Coldwater Grill closed sometime sometime between December 2012 and Feb 2013.

Not particularly interesting in any way.

1900 Fifth Ave, Seattle, Washington 98101 - (206) 256-7697
Est. Feb 2005 - Closed Dec 2012 - Feb 2013 - Building constructed: 1969
Previous bars at this location:  Trader Vic's/The Outrigger, Roy's - seattlepi - yelp

#1116 #S664 - BluWater Bistro, Seattle (Leschi) - 5/24/2010

I've had drinks at this location before, but didn't have it on my list, and those visits may all have been in the Leschi Lake Cafe days. So I dropped by on a sunny Monday afternoon, which the weather sites said would be followed by four cloudy rainy days.

This *should* be the best of the three BluWater locations, but unfortunately the patio is not on the water side. It's still a very pleasant location and as with the other locations, the drinks are average and the food is better than average.

102 Lakeside Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 328-2233 - yelp -

Sunday, May 23, 2010

#1111 #S659 - Dahlia Lounge, Seattle - 5/17/2010

I'd never had a drink at the actual lounge of the Dahlia Lounge (the food is Tom Douglas -- you know all about that).  The bar doesn't have a lot of character, and this remains much more of a place where you wait for your table than a destination bar.

Nevertheless, the "Thai Basil" cocktail I had was delicious.  "Those are basil seeds, not fish eggs, at the bottom," the bartender noted, apparently anticipating a common assumption.  When the drink is that tasty, I don't really care.

2001 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 682-4142 - yelp

#1110 #S658 - Blueacre Seafood, Seattle - 5/17/2010

Update: Blueacre Seafood closed in early 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and announced their permanent closure Nov 18, 2020

The emphasis is on the seafood at Blueacre, the new place from the Steelhead Diner folks in the space of the former Oceanaire.  While I didn't eat, the fellow next to me had one of the most sumptuous looking pieces of salmon I've ever seen.  But the cocktail menu is not a mere afterthought, featuring a number of interesting drinks named for various legal terms -- "Class Action," "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree," "Hostile Witness," etc.  ("Blueacre" is apparently a seafood version of "black acre," a generic sort of "John Doe" term for a property in legal lingo.)

The bartenders seem to vary quite a bit in their knowledge and experience, but I enjoyed my "Tragedy of the Commons" (Buffalo Trace bourbon, velvet falernum, lime, and Peychard's bitters).

1700 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 659-0737
Est. 2010 - Closed Nov 18, 2020 - Building constructed: 2000
Previous bars in this location: Oceanaire - facebook - seattle times - tom douglas - thestranger -

#1109 #S657 - Blu Water Grill, Lake Union, Seattle - 5/17/2010

This was my first visit to this version of the BluWater Bistro (after being to the Leschi restaurant a couple times and the Greenlake version several times). 
I visited on a hazy, weekday afternoon, and after seeing the cabana, I'm eager to check it out on a warm summer evening, even though I suspect it doesn't tend to draw a sort of crowd I prefer.

The cocktails are pedestrian, but the food is pretty good and the view is excellent.

1001 Fairview Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 447-0769 - thestranger - yelp

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#1108 #S656 - Cellars, Seattle - OOO

2132 First Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 448-8757 - yelp

#1107 #S655 - Angelina's, Seattle - 5/15/2010

A nice Italian restaurant with a fairly good bar.  The "Admiral's Kiss" (pear vodka, St. Germain, and citrus) is quite refreshing.

2311 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 932-4550 - facebook - yelp

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#1106 #S654 - Benbow Room, Seattle - 5/15/2010

Admiral Benbow Room, West Seattle
Update: The Benbow Room closed March 22, 2015

2nd Update: After a period hosting Vidiot, the Benbow Room was opened once again by Mark Fuller in July 2022

The Benbow Room, the bar associated with the old Benbow Inn since 1950, has thankfully been resuscitated by new owners in conjunction with the new Heartland Cafe restaurant. The direct entrance to the bar is from an alley -- I already like it! But the real pleasure is inside, where the bar takes on the interior of an old Spanish galleon, complete with the (fake) sunlight streaming through the aft windows.

The bar also features a rather bizarre in-floor koi pond -- bizarre because it is small, half covered by a table, and split by a wall.  This must have been quite different in the original configuration -- e.g. it must have been at least partially uncovered based on a story from a friend about how she once accidentally threw up in it.  The fish are now safely shielded from patron vomit (and virtually from sight), and the quirkiness of the current structure seems to fit in -- it's a dive-bar sort of koi pond.

The cocktails are appropriately focused on rum, and strongly on the sweet side.  The beers are biased toward the Wisconsin origins of the owner.  The staff is fun and the atmosphere a bit funky -- while we were there the television was playing a 60s Danish porn film that looked like the model for Austin Powers (and inspiring animated reactions from those at the bar).  Our party reported no sightings of the legendary Benbow Inn ghost.

Admiral Benbow Room, West Seattle
There are some better photos available here and here.

Historical Notes: According to Clark Humphrey's Vanishing Seattle, the "Admiral Benbow" operated here from 1950 to 2002, when owner Neysa Longmire passed away. The current owners apparently had to recover various auctioned off parts of the old bar to restore it.  (Note that while the current operation shares the 4210 address with the Shipwreck Tavern next door, the Admiral Benbow used 4212.)

4210 SW Admiral Way, Suite A, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 922-3313 - thrillist - - seattle weekly - westseattle blog

Sunday, May 16, 2010

#1105 #S653 - Lombardi's, Seattle - 5/14/2010

Update:  Lombardi's to be closed after Oct 9, 2010

 The Italian food, not the bar, is the focus at Lombardi's, but they do have a good happy hour and some better than average cocktails. But while this blog is not about the food, that is what will bring me back. It's nothing particularly fancy, but it is tasty, and they take full advantage of my weakness for bruschetta with six different kinds to choose from. For my 4 item sampler, I chose the traditional, the goat cheese, the fig, and the crab, enjoyed them all, and plan to test the remaining two in fairly short order.

2200 NW Market St., Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 783-0055 - seattle weekly - the stranger - seattle dining - yelp

Saturday, May 15, 2010

#1104 #S652 - Carnegie's, Seattle - 5/14/2010

Update: Carnegie's will close at the end of January 2011.

Carnegie's is set in a great old Carnegie library that opened to the public in 1904 and was the first major branch of the Seattle Public Library system.  It served as a library until 1963, and after various subsequent occupants, its current incarnation as a French restaurant commenced in 2003.

Carnegie's has a completely prix fixe menu, with a $12 lunch course, and a choice between a $35 course and $45 course for dinner.  The menu sounds fairly enticing, and I do plan to come back for lunch, but their bar -- beyond their wine -- is uninteresting and virtually nonexistent.

2026 NW Market St (Ballard), 789-6643 - wikipedia - the stranger - yelp

Thursday, May 13, 2010

#1103 #S651 - Venik Lounge, Seattle - 5/11/2010

The Venik Lounge is a romantic, little place in the south Lake Union area that is about to experience an explosion of restaurants and lounges.  Venik is associated with Banya 5, the "urban spa experience," and features a long, mahogany bar shaped like the f-hole on a violin.  They have a small menu of quite good food, and serve pretty good cocktails to boot. 

I can't recall the particular drink I had, as it was good enough, but eclipsed in my memory by the meat and cheese plate, which included an excellent smoked shallot and an extremely tasty truffled goat cheese from Pike Place market. Their specialty is their vodka infusions, and since I did not sample these on this night, I must return and try one of their three shot samplers.

Venik would be a fine choice particularly if you are on a date and would like some place with slightly upscale food and drinks and a romantic setting, but off the beaten path and not overrun with other people.

Oh yeah, and a venik ("veh-nik") is a "leafy, fragrant bundle of leafy birch or oak tree twigs" that is an essential part of the Russian Bath experience.  So now you know.

227 Ninth Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 223-3734 - facebook - the stranger - seattlest - seattle weekly - yelp

#1102 #S650 - Clam Digger Lounge, Seattle - 5/11/2010

Who doesn't like Ivar's? The Clam Digger is the lounge at the Elliot Bay location ("Ivar's Acres of Clams"). I'd never previously gone to the bar there.

1001 Alaskan Way, Pier 54, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 624-6852
Est. 1946 - Building constucted: 1900 or earlier - facebook - yelp

#1101 #S649 - Wann, Seattle - 5/8/2010

The fact that Wann's bar generally sticks to the basics is reflected in the bartender's answer to my question about his favorite cocktail:  Ketel One, rocks.  As the web site explains, and then seemingly contradicts itself, "[Izakaya] restaurants are often informal and have a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere....  WANN have brought class, sophistication and refinement to match the modern people of today."

I don't know if I count among the "modern people of today," but as I understand it, izakaya (literally "sake place") are basically places for drinks and upscale small plates, i.e. another tapas bar for Belltown, and the decor of Wann is apparently quite redolent of the Tokyo versions.  It does seem to provide a crush of subcultures, with a minimalist, woody interior -- and booths floating over rock gardens -- but a bar that ends with a view of a wildly colorful mural by a tattoo artist.

2020 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 441-5637 - seattle times - seattle weekly - yelp - the stranger