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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (2,641 bars; 1,284 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#1032 - Urban 7 Martini Kitchen, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/19/2010

Drinks were pretty good, not great.  Decor appeared to be by Abercrombie and Fitch.

4151 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 - (480) 548-6327
azurban7.com - azcentral.com - yelp

#1031 - The Coach House, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/19/2010

The Coach House is Scottsdale's oldest tavern (est. 1959), and provides a pleasant, divey alternative to the other clubs in the area, with just the basics (I was advised not to try ordering any drink with more than two ingredients). It was unpleasantly packed on the Friday evening I dropped by during Spring Training and Spring Break, but I eventually managed to squeeze in to the bar for a drink and squeeze out for some air and enjoyable conversation.

The Coach House also has a reputation for over-the-top Christmas lights during the holiday season (see image on their Facebook page).

7011 E Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 - (480) 990-3433
coachhousescottsdale.com - facebook - yelp

#1030 - Trader Vics, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/19/2010

I love Trader Vic's, of course, and this particular visit had the benefits of being on the patio on a warm March night in Scottsdale, where the ubiquitous scents of jasmine and fire pits make the evenings all the more pleasant.  Also, this one is associated with the swanky Hotel Valley Ho, which makes a fine additional stop.

6850 E Main St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 - (480) 248-2000
tradervics.com - hotelvalleyho.com - yelp

#1029 - Howl at the Moon, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

I happily missed the dueling piano session.

7419 E Indian Plaza Dr., Ste A, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 - (480) 994-4695
howlatthemoon.com - facebook - yelp

#1028 - Crown Room, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

7419 E Indian Plz., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 - (480) 423-0117
myspace - yelp

#1027 - American Junkie, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

This is a sports bar combined with punk rock images (Iggy, Nirvana, etc.) and overly sweet cocktails that appear to have been designed for 13-year-olds.


4363 N 75th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85252 - (480) 990-3000
americanjunkieaz.com - myspace - yelp

#1026 - Loco Patron, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

4228 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 - (480) 874-0033
locopatron.com - facebook - myspace - yelp 

#1025 - Geisha-a-go-go, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

7150 E 6th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85250 - (480) 699-0055
geishaagogo.com - yelp

#1024 - Stingray Sushi, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

A fairly swanky bar and sushi restaurant with in-floor aquariums.

4302 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85250 - (480) 941-4460
stingraysushi.com - yelp

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#1023 - Saddle Ranch Chop House, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

This was a sedate, steakhouse the last time I visited, but now is a sprawling, packed center of attention of younger crowds for whatever reason, with a mechanical bull, giant martini glasses filled with cotton candy, and fire pits where they encourage you to roast smores.


4321 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 - (480) 429-2263
srrestaurants.com - yelp

#1022 - Shotgun Betty's, Scottsdale, AZ - 3/18/2010

The standard cowgirls-dancing-on-the-bar bar -- only it's in Scottsdale, so the women are hotter.

7330 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
NewTimes - yelp

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

#1021 - Lucky Silver Tavern, Tacoma, WA - 3/14/2010

A nifty old dive just down the road from the Java Jive that has been owned and run by the same family since 1966.  It was bingo night when I attended -- I played in for three games and won nothing.  Prizes included a can of sweet corn, a box of Ritz crackers, a battery lighted magnifying glass, and a box of Bodyform panty liners.

I wish I knew how old this place is, but city guides show that it's been around since at least the 50s.

2605 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA, 98409 - (253) 472-0360
myspace - waymarking - clubplanet

#1020 - Adriatic Grill, Tacoma, WA - 3/14/2010

4201 S Steele St., Tacoma, WA 98409 - (253) 475-6000
adriaticgrill.com - seattlepi - yelp

#1019 - Garbe's Tavern, Chehalis, WA - 3/14/2010

This place is a little like The Star up the road with an extra room and two pool tables added. A little less divey (they didn't have any Rainier can wind chimes) and they have a DJ and live music on weekend nights.

313 NW Chehalis Ave., Chehalis, WA 98532 - (360) 748-4288
virtualtourist - urbanspoon - clubplanet

#1018 - Star Tavern, Chehalis, WA - 3/14/2010

Google Maps listed this place as "closed permanently," -- which was news to the customers and the pleasantly sassy bartender I found there. It's a nice old dive that's been around for a long time (current owners family have run it since the 60s, I was informed). When I visited on a Sunday afternoon there were six customers, all drinking big cans of Busch Light.  I opted for a Dick Danger Ale (brewed in Centralia).

I was a little early for the big Twin Cities Sertoma Club olympics, which spanned Chehalis and Centralia bars with various contests -- pool, darts, shuffleboard, etc.  (Sertoma is a civic group that raises money for deaf youngsters and other charitable causes.)

242 NW Chehalis Ave., Chehalis, WA 98532 - 360-748-4222
urbanspoon

#1017 - Widmer Gasthaus Pub, Portland - 3/14/2010

Pretty good beer, pretty good food, bricks and brewing vats -- pretty much what everyone now expects in a brewpub.

955 N Russell St., Portland, OR 97227 - (503) 281-3333
widmer.com - facebook - yelp - beeradvocate - barfly

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

#1016 - Big Red's Western Cafe, Beaverton, OR - 3/13/2010

I had lunch here, which provoked grave concerns for my health among some of the locals, though my meal was fine and uneventful and the service friendly and good.  But it was when I slipped into the bar for a quick gin and tonic that I really started to get the lowdown from some of the locals.  There was some kind of big to-do down at a slough by Wanker's Corner -- we're dressing sexy, so you should dress up, the woman at the bar was telling the big guy with a large walrus mustache and worn, tilted baseball cap.  Then she asked if he'd heard about the midget at Stars?  The midget stripper?

Unfortunately I departed without an invitation and spent the evening in a less exotic portion of Beaverton.

11485 SW Scholls Ferry Rd., Beaverton, OR 97008 - (503) 579-4292
yelp - urbanspoon

#1015 - MVP Sports Bar & Grill, Portland - 3/12/2010

This place doesn't like sports enough to actually have the sound on, and I would find no reason to go here if I were not seeking to catch some sports event.  But unlike Champions, MVP has some fairly lively patrons and also adds ample server cleavage.

yelp
110 SW Yamill St., Portland, OR 97204 - (503) 327-8219

#1014 - Veritable Quandary, Portland - 3/12/2010

From the mawkish name you might gather that this is more of a cafe than a bar, and while that is true, the narrow bar in front does feel like a "real" bar, of course with the emphasis on wine.  It's a cozy little alternative for a glass of wine or scotch, and with it's small gardens on the riverside, the patio must be very popular place with the downtown professionals when the weather heats up.

1220 SW 1st Ave., Portland, OR 97204 - (503) 227-7342
veritablequandary.com - barfly - yelp - boorah - urbanspoon

#1013 - Jake's Famous Crawfish, Portland - 3/12/2010

Step into Jake's and it is instantly recognizable to anyone who has been in one of the 85 or so McCormick & Schmick's around the country.  That means pretty good food (usually an emphasis on seafood), excellent happy hour deals, pretty good service, and a friendly, decent bar that looks -- and often is -- 100 years old (Jake's Authentic has been around since 1892).  You won't find interesting, craft cocktails there, but these are more stolid, meat and potatoes, elderly gentleman sorts of bars, so that would almost be inappropriate.

401 SW 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 - (503) 226-1419
mccormickandschmicks.com - barfly - yelp - urbanspoon

#1012 - The Gilt Club, Portland - 3/11/2010

This is a pretty swanky place with some fairly swanky cocktails. I especially liked the Tracy's Wild Ride (Sauza Hornitos tequila, Parfait Amour, muddled cucumber, fresh lime & agave nector) -- and I ask once again: Has there ever been a bad cocktail with cucumber in it?

The web site can be found at both giltclub.com and guiltclub.com, and both seem quite appropriate.

(Picture: Megan, Hannah, and Joe the bartender)

306 NW Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 - (503) 222-4458
giltclub.com - facebook - barfly - yelp - pdxplate

Monday, March 15, 2010

#1011 - Teardrop Lounge, Portland - 3/11/2010

Wow.

The Teardrop came with several rave reviews from friends with reliable judgement of fine cocktails and I was still impressed on my first visit there. I had a traditional Chauncey and a Between The Sheets, and both were as well-made, balanced, and tasty as any cocktails I've ever had.

Portland already had a great richness of neighborhood bars with character, and now they are piling on with great stops for the best quality cocktails. At Teardrop, one wants to drop by regularly, working your way through the menu, the bartender's recommendations, and the massive arrays of bitters and tinctures aligned in little blue bottles like the mad scientists they are.

The decor is spare and elegant and the bartenders were friendly and engaging. I don't think I'll ever visit Portland again without trying to make it there at least once or twice.

1015 NW Everett St., Portland, OR 97209 - (503) 445-8109
teardroplounge.com - cocktailia - yelp - barfly

#1010 - Fez Ballroom, Portland - 3/11/2010

Of course how enjoyable these old ballrooms are is almost entirely dependent on the individual event there on any given night.  The Fez is perfectly serviceable -- and I'm biased in favor of any place with "fez" in the title.  In addition, the event the night I attended ("Shadowplay" goth night) was pleasant and fairly well attended, despite goth interest declining in some areas (not necessarily a bad thing, as such movements tend to be most robust when confined to a fairly underground scene).  I have little idea what other nights hold, but I like this Fez better than the Red Fez in Austin, so right now it's my favorite fez bar in the country.

316 SW 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 - (503) 221-7262
fezballroom.com - barfly - yelp

#1009 - Kelly's Olympian, Portland - 3/11/2010

426 SW Washington St., Portland, OR 97204 - (503) 228-3669
kellysolympian.com - barfly - yelp - citysearch 

#1008 - Rock Bottom Brewery, Portland - 3/11/2010

The Portland version of this national chain has something I haven't seen in the Seattle version -- a packed crowd on a weekday night, along with live music.  It wasn't exactly my kind of crowd and it certainly wasn't my kind of music, but at least the place was pulsing.

206 SW Morrison St., Portland, OR 97204 - (503) 796-2739
rockbottom.com/portland - ratebeer.com - yelp - barfly

#1007 - Champion Sports Bar, Portland - 3/11/2010

Meh...

Barfly calls this "The only dedicated sports bar in downtown ..." Portland is my favorite bar town on the west coast, but as a dedicated sports bar (a fairly low standard to begin with), this is a FAIL.

On the weekday evening I attended, a home state college team was playing in the conference tournament, and the hometown NBA team was also playing. But you could not hear either game because they preferred dumb top 40s music. That's not a serious sports bar in my book. The food is standard sports bar nachos and burgers type fare, the drinks are the standard sports bar beer and bad cocktails, and the crowd is standard medium quality hotel boring salesmen (the bar is in the downtown Portland Marriott).

marriott.com - yelp - barfly 
1401 SW Naito Pkwy., Portland, OR 97201 - (503) 499-6393

#1006 #S623 - Avila, Seattle - 3/10/2010

Update: Avila closed in July 2010.

Judging wine bars as simply bars can be a bit problematic. Since I exclude the restaurant/food portion, you're left basically with the ambiance, service, and a tiny fraction of a taste of the wine they have, when you can now get very good wines at virtually any grocery store. And the decor of wine bars is, of course, highly formulaic -- there are going to be servers dressed in black, modern exposed-concrete and steel surfaces, rolled up towels in a basket in the restroom, a touch of abstract art, votive candles on the tables, and small, halogen lamps hanging over the bar.

So setting aside the eclectic and adventurous dinner and appetizer menus at Avila ("AV'-ill-uh"), I'm basically left with a fairly typical wine bar, but with unusually friendly servers (and none of the attitude I've experienced at Smash, just up the road a bit). That makes this a pretty nice little stop if you feel like a couple glasses of wine (and an even better one if you feel like a bite of some interesting food).

1711 N 45th St., Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 545-7375
avilaseattle.com - seattletimes - thestranger - yelp

#1005 #S622 - Bottleworks, Seattle - 3/10/2010

For a moment I was not sure whether to count Bottleworks as a bar, since it is focused on retail of bottles, and the limited bar area was largely covered in boxes as the staff busily stocked the refrigerators that line the walls and maintain said bottles at temperatures tastefully maintained below the standard grocery store section dedicated primarily to your Bud Light fans picking up a half rack at halftime. But there are some good beers on tap (as well as the great selection of approx. 1,000 bottles to enjoy in the shop, if you'd like). And the table I sat at provided one perhaps the most important feature of all in a bar, which was good conversation -- this one between four people who'd never previously met.

So cheers to Matt ("Vern" to his friends), one of the strangers, who turned out to be the owner, and to cute Emily, and to the bicycling guy whose name I forget. It's a great little place for anyone who likes good beer, and I'll definitely be back.

bottleworksbeerstore.blogspot.com - yelp - bsbrewing - beermapping.com
1710 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 633-2437

#1004 #S621 - Blu Water Bistro, Seattle (Greenlake) - (OOO)

One more bar that I've been to plenty of times but missed from my list.  A nice restaurant with a bar that is fine, but nothing special.


7900 E Green Lake Dr N., Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 524-3985
bluwaterbistro.com - yelp

#1003 #S620 - Palace Kitchen, Seattle - (OOO)

Another place I've been to many times (the bar, not just the restaurant), but somehow missed on my list.  The Palace Kitchen is, of course, a Tom Douglas place, which means the cocktails are not up to the level of the food, but that's a very high bar (everyone in Seattle already knows about the food at Douglas's places, so no comments necessary on that front).  The bar is pretty much the basics, but it tests your self-discipline with those dang bowls of pistachios sitting around the bar.

2030 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98121- (206) 448-2001
tomdouglas.com - yelp

#1002 #S619 - Marie Callenders, Seattle - (OOO)

I decided to belatedly add this because Marie's does have a whole separate room for the bar and people clearly go there just for the bar (most dependably one big guy in a hockey shirt who appears to go there every single day). For several years this was a fairly regular haunt for myself and several co-workers at a small software company due to its location (we referred to it as "Murray's," since "Marie's" is not a fit name for a bar). If it's not the most conveniently located bar for you, I really can't think of any other reasons you would go.

9538 1st Ave NE., Seattle, WA 98115 - (206) 526-5785
yelp

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

#1001 #S618 - Rat & Raven, Seattle - 3/7/2010

The new owners of this space have made some very nice remodeling changes and made a good effort to change the vibe for the better.  It used to be the Emmigrant, supposedly an Irish bar, which was big and boring and suffered enormously by comparison with the Galway Arms right across the street.  The Galway is small and lively, overflowing with interesting people, and remains a bar of considerably more character.  But thanks to the new ownership (expanding from Clever Dunne's on Capitol Hill), the Rat and Raven is now at least a pleasant change of pace.

The R&R now includes a very nice, open, upstairs area, and hosts people playing not only pool and darts, but also shuffleboard, Scrabble and Texas Holdem.  The drinks are unfancy, as you'd expect in the a university district, and the crowd, if not as interesting as across the street, is tad more pleasant than the previous one.


5260 University Way Northeast Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 524-3166
Est. 2009 - Building constructed: 1926
Previous bars at this location: Irish Emigrant, Century Bar/Cafe/Tavern (Boom Boom Room)
ratandraven
seattleweekly

What's next for Project K-Bar?

Though I have now reached the "K" in "Project K-Bar" (and no, I am not nerdy enough to question whether a K is actually 1024 bars), the project will continue apace.  The next goals are to:
  •  Have a drink in every bar in the Seattle city limits
  •  Have a drink in 1,000 different Seattle bars

From here on out, each entry in this blog for a Seattle bar will contain, in addition to the total count of bars documented, an #Snnn number indicating the count of Seattle bars.

(Graffiti from the Streamline Tavern)

Identifying and counting all (of what I would count as) bars in Seattle is problematic, but here's my general approach:
  • Download the list of all Washington state on-premises liquor licenses (available from the liquor control board here)
  • Eliminate all non-Seattle entries
  • Eliminate all places that I have already been
  • Eliminate all places that I can immediately reject as a "bar" (e.g. for some reason Walmarts have on-premises licenses)
  • Determine by visiting each remaining place or other means whether they have an actual bar (as opposed to just restaurants)
  • As I approach either goal, download the latest lists of licenses to identify new bars

I've just barely begun this effort, but here are some numbers for the sake of trivia (license info based on December 2009):
  • 216 - Number of bars I visited for the first time in 2009
  • 617 - Number of the first 1,000 bars in Project K-Bar that are/were in Seattle
  • 13,190 - On-premises liquor licenses in Washington state (5,080 off-premises licenses)
  • 7,880 - licenses in Washington state that may be bars (this still includes things like private clubs, yacht clubs, legion halls, restaurants that may serve liquor but have no actual bar, and bars that I do not count as "destination bars" such as airport bars, Appleby's, Red Robin, etc.)
  • 1,526 - licenses in Seattle that may be bars (see criteria/caveats above)

Monday, March 08, 2010

#1000! - Visions Lounge, Seattle - 3/5/2010

Visions Lounge closed in 2012 and was replaced by RView.

Project K-Bar is about hitting all bars, not just great bars -- and the K-Bar final four event was all about a group rolling into unexpected places.  In that way, the Visions Lounge was fairly representative.  To be fair, our group of 20-some strange-looking people arrived en masse just as they were closing.  On the other hand, the fact that they were closing before midnight on a Friday night pretty much tells you everything you need to know about how interesting the bar is.

The main attraction of Vision Lounge is not a regular clientele of optimologists, but rather the large set of windows looking out from the 28th floors onto... well, not much.  You have a great view of I-5, and you can kinda see the Space Needle, and kinda see Elliot Bay between two buildings, and you can definitely see one of the less attractive angles of downtown buildings.  Columbia Tower Club it is not.  More realistically, given the boring decor, uninteresting drinks, and sorry reputation of the food, the main attraction is that you are staying in the hotel and don't have to walk all of a couple blocks to get to much better bars (poor tourists can be pitied that no one told them that Sip is just around the corner).

Nevertheless, with some heavy cajoling we convinced the grumpy bartender to stay open an extra 20 minutes to experience the dubious joy of being the 1,000th bar on Project K-Bar.  For pictures of the momentous event, plus the visits to bars #997, #998, and #999 and the bus ride in between, see here, and here and here, and (if you have a facebook account) here.


515 Madison St., Seattle, WA 98104 (28th floor of the Renaissance Hotel) - (206) 583-0300
marriott.com - thestranger - seattle met - yelp - citysearch
(Photos by Kym A. & Larry J.)

#999 - The Barrel Tavern, Burien, WA - 3/5/2010

The Barrel is a semi-divey bar built in an old 1963 XXX Root Beer Drive-in in Top Hat, the neighborhood between Burien and White Center (there's a nice summary of the history in the B-TownBlog). So it's the big barrel facade that really grabs you.

The menu and drinks are the basics. The Barrel has blues nights and biker crowds, so I think our group arrived at one of its down moments, and I'm interested to see what the crowd is like when it is more full of regulars and less full of K-Bar not-so-secret agents. (Picture is a Larry J. photo of one of the regulars reacting to our group.)

Technical Note: Despite most places listing this with a Seattle address, it doesn't technically count as a Seattle bar, as my best efforts to place it relative to the crazy Seattle southern city limits line puts it a tad south of the city.

11051 1st Avenue S., Burien, WA 98168 - (206) 244-7390
thebarreltavern.com - b-townblog - city-data - seattle weekly - yelp

#998 - Mac's Triangle Pub, Seattle - 3/5/2010

This is one of four "Triangles" I have been to in Seattle, along with the old Triangle Pub in Pioneer Square, the Ould Triangle in Greenwood, and the Triangle Tavern (sometimes "Triangle Lounge") in Fremont, now closed.

This Triangle was the highlight of the of the K-Bar final four event.  The space is nice, the bartender was great, the patrons were varied and having a highly entertaining karaoke night.  (You can see a video of one of our party singing -- after another member getting serenaded for an ersatz birthday -- here).  The Triangle is also the only bar I can remember ever visiting that has a dedicated Men's Room (i.e. not unisex bathroom) that does not a have a urinal.

(Larry J. photo)
9454 Delridge Way SW., Seattle, WA 98106 - (206) 763-0714
facebook - seattle weekly - yelp - urbanspoon

#997 - Tug Tavern, Seattle - 3/5/2010

"The Tug has been known as a dive bar that is full of violent and crazy drunks.  This reputation is entirely false."  -- The Tug web site


As some of the yelpers make clear (and by all rights should have known, before going there and complaining), if you don't like dive bars, don't go to Uncle Hal's Tug Tavern. I do like dive bars, and while it's hard to judge a bar when you're rolling in with an unexpected party of 20-some people in black spy-wear, this one seemed like a pretty good one. There are the ramshackle personal touches -- a brown couch facing a corner, an R-rated puzzle on the wall, and a picket-fenced patio extending into the parking lot -- and there were colorful regulars.

The entourage of people in black was due to this being the first stop on the bus to celebrate the final four bars of the count to 1,000. Said one regular, who was on the phone as we arrived, "I've got to go. The Blues Brothers just came in."   (Larry J. photo)

2216 SW Orchard St., Seattle, WA 98106 - (206) 768-8852
yelp - seattle weekly - the stranger - flickr/mural

Saturday, March 06, 2010

#996 - Hard Rock Cafe, Seattle - 3/4/2010

Being a Hard Rock Cafe, this place is primarily yuppie-ish 20-year-olds mingling among artifacts of the rock icons of 50-year-olds.  There is, of course, the nod to famous locals -- Hendrix, Cobain, etc. --
and among this stuff you'll actually find some items less than 50 years old.  The wood decor and lights are pleasant, the staff were all unusually nice, the bar is serviceable, and the food is fairly good.  It also looks like they're trying to book some bands that are a little more hip than Top Forty homages on the walls (with the friends of the band standing out sharply from the preppy regulars) .  It's not the sort of place I'll go often, but if you react to the term "guitar god" with reverence rather than rolling your eyes, you'll enjoy it.


116 Pike St., Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 204-2233
hardrock.com - yelp

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

#995 - Still Liquor, Seattle - 3/2/2010

Still Liquor follows the speakeasy fashion, but does so in a simple, timeless way. The large space feels fairly isolated, despite it's Capitol Hill location, thanks to the space in the old, half underground BMW paint shop, down a narrow alley, and a minimalist but elegant treatment.  Just one subtle sign tells you you're there -- no blaring neon giveaways from liquor and beer companies give away the dark windows -- Still has the self confidence to present an exterior that no one would ever find if they weren't looking for it.  And the cocktails are artful without being flamboyant -- you'll want to work your way through the entire menu of special drinks.

P.S. Has anyone EVER had a bad cocktail with muddled cucumber?

1524 Minor Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 467-4075
stillliquor.com - the stranger - yelp