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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (2,591 bars; 1,273 bars in Seattle):

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Friday, July 23, 2010

#1185 #S723 - The Copper Gate, Seattle - 7/15/2010

Update: The Copper Gate is closing after June 30, 2013.

The Copper Gate dates back to 1946 and when it went under it was one of the last beer and wine only taverns in the city and one of the more intimidating dives.  It was picked up by the owners of Thaiku and La Carta de Oaxaca sometime shortly after 2000, and its bawdy theme not only preserved but accentuated (Seattle's only surviving "scandalnavian" lounge, they proudly proclaim).


The drinks are like none you'll find anywhere else in the city, centered around their home-made variations of aquavit.   The food is inspired by Scandinavian traditions, which naturally means that it ranges from tasty to disgusting.

But the best reason to go to the Copper Gate is the place itself.  The bar is a replica viking ship, with a sail formed of vintage porn images.  An original column with bas-relief naked woman has been nicely restored.  There are various mild porn dioramas, including a Barbie-orgy version in the women's room.

And then there is the Pussy Room. You enter the Pussy Room through an entry shaped like a vagina, pass a case large case of champagne, and turn into a shabby/swanky room with a stage, stripper pole, high-backed, red velvet seats and room for about two dozen people.

Ostensibly for the jazz band that plays there, and not simply the pun, there is an organ in the back of the Pussy Room.  But you do not simply enter it any time you feel the urge; currently the room is open to the public only from 8pm-10pm Tuesday nights.  At these times they host the impressive jazz drumming of Mike Peterson, a partner on keyboards whom I do not know, and often a guest artist to sit in for a few.

It is a living tribute to the unvarnished, old Ballard, and a must-visit for any lover of unique bars and cocktails.

Try the: Stor Agurk

6301 24th Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 706-3292
Est. 1946 - Closed July 1, 2013
thecoppergate.com - seattle times - the stranger - seattlest - seattle weekly - seattle weekly 2 - seattle weekly 3 - yelp

Thursday, July 22, 2010

#1184 #S722 - Red Lantern, Seattle - 7/15/2010

The food in this modern Northern-Chinese/Korean restaurant gets quite good reviews, but I wasn't eating this visit. It is much more elegant than the sign outside would lead you to believe.  The bar portion is pleasant, but unremarkable, and the bartender pours wine with a heavy hand.

520 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 682-7211
redlanternseattle.com - the stranger - yelp

#1183 #S721 - Bush Garden, Seattle - 7/15/2010


As I've noted, I tend to classify the dive bar lounges attached to Chinese and Asian restaurants as either the "classic" kind or the "slapdash" kind.  This one is definitely in the classic school.  No quick trip to the 99 Cent store decor here -- the bar is happily dark and old school.  The drinks are the very basics, except for some Asian beer choices, and the (Japanese) food is mediocre.  But it's a nice, retro American-Japanese joint with bamboo, tatami rooms, sushi bar, and gin on tap. (And it's a shame my good camera was in the shop during this visit.)















614 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 682-6830
bushgarden.net - yelp

#1182 - Joey, Bellevue, WA - 7/13/2010

Even the Lake Union Joey seems pretty Bellevue, so I didn't expect to like anything about the actual Bellevue version except ogling some of the women. But the night I went there, the bartenders and crowd were both actually pretty cool. I can't say its cocktails are particularly good -- although also not as bad as some places like this (e.g. the Bellevue Earls), and the food is pretty decent. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, and I certainly wouldn't trade the Lake Union view for the mall-ish Bellevue setting, but it's not altogether unpleasant either.

800 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004-4229 - (425) 637-1177
joeyrestaurants.com - facebook - yelp

#1181 - Earls, Bellevue, WA - 7/13/2010

I have zero interest in ever going to Earl's for a drink again.  If you like top 40 dance music blaring, lots of hair product, and cocktails designed for sorority girls on spring break, maybe you'll like it better.

700 Bellevue Way NE #130, Bellevue, WA 98004 - (425) 452-3275
earls.ca - yelp

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#1180 - Naga Bar, Chantanee, Bellevue, WA - 7/13/2010

Very good cocktails, very good Thai food, and hand-carved baseballs of ice to dilute and cool at just the right rate.  Mike McSorley has replaced Andrew Bohrer behind the bar, and the Naga Lounge remains the home of the best cocktails on the East Side.  (Photo by Neil C.)

601 108th Avenue Northeast #100A, Bellevue, WA 98004 - (425) 455-3226
chantanee.com - facebook - bellevue reporter - seattlemet - seattle timesthe stranger - seattle mag - seattle weekly - yelp

Sunday, July 11, 2010

#1179 #S720 - Van's 105 Tavern, Seattle - 12/31/2009

Update:  Van's was sold and renamed "Tim's Tavern" in late 2011.

This is a pretty standard neighborhood dive bar.  The decor is the same old beer-company paraphernalia, but the bartender and some of the regulars give it a good dose of personality.

I'd missed getting this on my list earlier, but I've been there two or three times, the last time on New Year's Eve, 2009/2010.  Don't ask me why.

Historical Notes:  This bar was said to be established in 1937 as "Jack's Tavern."  The first listing I've found is for Mackey's Tavern in 1948.  By 1970 and into the 1980's it was simply the "105th Street Tavern," and by 1990 it was "Van's 105 Tavern."  In late 2011 new owner Tim Arnot renamed in "Tim's Tavern."

602 N 105th St, Seattle, WA 98133 - (206) 789-9005
yelp - seattle weekly - citysearch

Friday, July 09, 2010

#1178 #S719 - re:public, Seattle - 7/8/2010

What a welcome change after coming from Citrus.  The decor here is warm and interesting, the lighting excellent, the cocktails very good, and the staff friendly and competent.  The garage doors make it a great stop on a warm summer evening.  I wasn't eating on this stop, but I took a look at the menu and am eager to go back.

429 Westlake Ave, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 467-5300
republicseattle.com - yelp

#1177 #S718 - Citrus, Seattle - 7/8/2010

Update: Citrus closed April 2013.

If your car is not a present from your dad, it's not likely you'll enjoy this place.

I read one review describing Citrus (in the old TGI Fridays space on Lake Union) as "ultra swanky," and the web site describes it as "a premium dining establishment."  It is really not quite either.

But it does have some nice bubbles, and there are lots of attractive women to look at- although your odds of finding an interesting conversation are about as likely as getting a good reading tip from Sarah Palin.  The bartender herself noted that their cocktail list is "all girly drinks."  But if you like popping your collar, hanging with groups of people who all dress alike, and drinking cocktails with enough sugar to hide any hint of the liquor, then it's highly recommended.

1001 Fairview Ave N, Ste 2000, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 402-6364
Est. 2010 - Closed 2013
citruslakeunion.com - myspace - yelp

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

#1176 #S717 - Bricco Della Regina Anna, Seattle - 7/7/2010

Update:  Bricco closed Sep. 13, 2011

The emphasis is on the wine here, and in sharp contrast to their sister establishment Moshi Moshi, the cocktail menu is tiny.  It's still interesting though, and the bartender is willing to improvise off your wishes.

It also has a very nice happy hour menu, if a confusing list of happy hours (Mon-Thurs: 4:30-6:30pm, 10-11pm, Fri: 4:30pm-6:30pm, 11pm-1am, Sat: 4:30pm-6pm, 11pm-1am, Sun: 4:30-6pm), and a wide open feel on a sunny day.

1525 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 285-4900
briccoseattle.com - seattle weekly - the stranger - yelp

#1175 #S716 - How to Cook a Wolf, Seattle - 7/7/2010

I recently had the good fortune to stumble upon the particular combination of rarities in which A) it was a sunny, warm, Seattle afternoon; B) I was not working; and C) How To Cook A Wolf was not at all crowded.  They do not have a very interesting cocktail menu at HTCAW, but if you challenge the bartender, he will fix you something good, and if you are not fond of the hoity toity attitude, you can get a minimum of it by showing up shortly after they open.  The food, meanwhile, a selection of mostly Italian-inspired small plates, is very much worth it.  I had the heirloom tomato salad (very good) and the tuna bruschetta (excellent).

2208 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 838-8090
ethanstowellrestaurants.com - facebook - seattle weekly - seattle pi - seattletimes - seattlemet - yelp

#1174 #S715 - Hudson Public House, Seattle - 7/5/2010

The Hudson New American Public House is a nice neighborhood pub with a good beer selection and an interesting, fairly upscale menu, from the owner and the chef of Collins Pub in Pioneer Square.

8014 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115 - (206) 524-5070
hudsonpublichouse.com - seattle times - yelp

Monday, July 05, 2010

#1173 #S714 - Highway 99 Blues Club, Seattle - 7/3/2010

Wow, this place has so much more character than I had envisioned.  It feels like suddenly you're in Texas.  Notwithstanding what must be the largest posts to obstruct a stage view in the city (well over 2 feet wide beams), it's a fun place to grab a drink and some grub and watch blues, or, as it was on this particular night, rockabilly.

1414 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 382-2171
highwayninetynine.com - facebook - myspace - seattle weekly - yelp

#1172 #S713 - Bad Monkey Bistro, Seattle - 7/3/2010

I regard with suspicion anyone who does not love monkeys and monkey things. I'm also wary of sports bars, so who knew what awaited in the new Bad Monkey Bistro in South Lake Union?

The bar choices seemed pretty standard, and my Hendricks & tonic was fairly weak. But their menus have a number of unusually interesting snacks. E.g. their nachos are root chips w/condiments of kidney beans, guac, sour cream and slices of flank steak; and they have a "Seamonkey Burger" a seasoned mixture of rock lobster, shrimp, halibut and salmon formed into a patty, served with lettuce, red onions, tarter sauce and tomatoes on a Kaiser roll. Their brunch menu includes choices of omelette ingredients including lobster and crab; I went with an option with pesto mixed in the eggs and quite liked it.

The decor seems fairly spartan for a monkey theme -- perhaps I associate monkey's too much with jungles, but it would be nice to see them accrue a few more in theme decorative touches. As all right-thinking people know, you can't have too much monkey.

400 Boren Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 467-1111
badmonkeybistro.com - yelp

#1171 #S712 - El Norte, Seattle - 7/2/2010

I hadn't heard of the Rose Garden Tavern until the local papers started publishing stories about its imminent loss of its liquor license due to drugs and other problems.  Apparently it was the heart of a part of the Lake City neighborhood that locals and police knew as "Little Beruit."  Owned at the time by a retired drug-enforcement agent, in less than a year there were 10 assaults reported at the Garden, one stabbing of a bouncer, one patron returning to a fight with an axe, and undercover cops were apparently 5 for 5 in attempts to buy crack inside.

The stories warned of the license expiring by the end of the month so I hurriedly added it to my to-do list, but the Rose Garden actually closed just a week later, thus precluding my chances of ever getting it included in this project.  I'm not sure how long this building has hosted a tavern, but it was built during prohibition (1921) and was "Chuck's Tavern" by 1948, "Chuck and Mary's" by 1980, Dorsey's by 1985, and the Rose Garden by 1990.

When I visited El Norte in the old Rose Garden space, there was nary a hint of its gangster past.  It's now a club that hosts soft jazz, of all things, with new ownership (of Mr. Villa) serving Latin small plates and drinks.  For a while the city fought the new owner's desire to insert another bar in the space, but the new venue has been praised by many of the neighbors for the vast improvements.  The only possible vestige I saw was a boarded window in the men's room, blocked by a 2x4 as if expecting an attack by injuns.  The decor, the bands, and the patrons are all seemed exceedingly genteel now.

Historical Notes:  The building currently holding El Norte was constructed in 1921 and the first bar I have found at this address in city guides is one (name unknown) owned by Fred Amos in 1939.  Since then names of bars in this location include Chuck's Tavern (1948), B&E Tavern (1970), Chuck and Mary's Tavern (1980), Dorsey's (1985) and by 1990 the Rose Garden.

13717 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98125 - (206) 954-1349
Est. 2010 - Building constructed 1921
 mapleleaflife - seattle pi - seattlecrime - yelp

#1170 #S711 - Industry Lounge, Seattle - 7/2/2010

Another very pleasant SoDo area dive bar.  The Industry Lounge, as the name implies, is a working man's bar, with a nice mix of African-American, Latino and white patrons, several wearing union logos and factory card keys.

Even the karaoke was fine for a few moments, with a stocky black guy belting out Mustang Sally and a middle-aged blonde woman doing a serviceable impersonation of Peggy Lee through Fever.  It was only when the DJ and a patron decided to do a duet of "Islands in the Stream" that I realized I really wouldn't be able to get nearly drunk enough for this bar unless I was going to be taking a cab home.

6601 E Marginal Way South, Seattle, WA 98108-3239 - (206) 762-3453
facebook - myspace - the stranger - yelp

#1169 #S710 - Bezt Lounge (Mr. D's Greek Restaurant), Seattle - 7/2/2010

Mr. D's Greek Restaurant and Lounge -- AKA "Philoxenia," AKA "Bezt Lounge," and not to be confused with Mr. D's Greek Delicacies now located in what was once the Montana Horse Meat Market -- is a first rate neighborhood dive.  I was exhorted to visit by my friend Frank, who had a fairly comic adventure ordering a Manhattan here.  Unfortunately Frank violated Pete's First Rule of Dive Bars, which is never order a drink that doesn't include all ingredients in the name.  Gin & Tonic, Jack & Coke, Bud Lite -- these are fairly safe bets.  Newfangled and obscure concoctions such as this "Manhattan" thingie -- not so much.  And don't even ask about the time my friend Ray aspired to order a White Russian at the Baranof.  (Okay, by that I really mean do ask, if you haven't already heard the story.)

The lounge at Mr. D's contains all the essential elements of a great dive.  The interior is decorated with a crazy hodgepodge of styles from various decades (check out the wood burning stove and standup piano in front of the brushed steel). 

The hand-done signs fall charmingly short of a recognizable stylistic goal.  It's dark and not too overly dominated by big beer corporation paraphenalia.  And most importantly of all, it has a set of earthy, chatty workers and regulars.  During my visit the elderly female bartender was arguing with the elderly female off-duty employee about the exact twist needed to coax one of the beer taps to work.  The conversation was convivial, but animated with many f-bombs and a few threats of imminent violence.

I like this place.

97 S Lander St, Seattle, WA 98134 - (206) 624-9851
seattle weeklyyelp

Sunday, July 04, 2010

#1168 #S709 - Denny's Lounge, Seattle (Northgate) - (OOO)

Okay, this was many years ago, but I didn't get it on the list yet and I clearly remember having a drink here just for the absurdity of it. There used to be a Denny's on Northgate Way (current "Saffron") and this Denny's had a lounge.

Just think of that for a bit. Who decides to have a nice night out, considers all the options for having a drink or two, and concludes that the optimal place to go this evening would be Denny's? (Yes, yes -- I did it a couple times. But there aren't that many people like me out there, are there?)

2132 N Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98133

#1167 #S708 - West Seattle Bowl Lounge, Seattle - 6/30/2010


It's a lounge in an old bowling alley.  I think any additional description would be superfluous.

4505 39th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 932-3731
westseattlebowl.com

#1166 #S707 - Christo's on Alki, Seattle - 6/30/2010

The bar here is tiny and utterly typical.  But it did have a full house (that would be about eight people) when I visited on this Wednesday night.

2508 Alki Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 923-2200
christosonalki.com - facebook - yelp

#1165 - Roanoke Inn, Mercer Island - 6/30/2010

What a swell place for the inhabitants of Mercer Island (those poor suffering bastards).  Originally built as a "chicken-dinner inn" in 1914 and named the "Grandfather Inn" by 1916, it has apparently served as a hotel, brothel, and speak-easy (with "illegal booze served in coffee mugs") in the interim before becoming a tavern sometime after prohibition.  Nowadays the food and liquor are pretty standard pub fare, but it's the setting that makes the Roanoke a fine place.  In contrast to the dreary, multi-use strip mall abodes of most other island businesses, the Roanoke has a cozy, almost lodge-like interior that makes it a fine place for wet weather, and an expansive set of outdoor patios for sunny days.  (And as if to emphasize the preppy surroundings, they'll loan you a croquet set in the Summer.)


1825 72nd Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 - (206) 232-0800
facebook - mihistory.org - examiner.com - seattle weekly - yelp

#1164 #S706 - In the Red Wine Bar, Seattle - 6/29/2010

"In The Red" (get it?) was designed as a wine, light plate, and coffee shop with affordable prices to reflect the post-financial collapse times.  One happy side effect of this is that it avoids the formulaic decor of most wine bars -- the modernist furniture and hanging halogen lights are replaced by a hodgepodge of collected chandeliers, a bar designed like a skateboard halfpipe, bar chairs from the Hit It Here Cafe, and a wainscot made of doors.  These all give it a much more comfortable personality.  And while I didn't see any at the relatively late hour that I dropped in, right now the entire place, including the bar, is open to children as well, though they are likely to portion off the bar area when they eventually get liquor.

Neither the food nor the wine selections are particularly interesting -- it appears most of both come directly from Trader Joe's -- but that's not really the point of In The Red.  It's more like a slightly more modern version of good diner, providing decent wine and lattes at a decent price.  I had the cheese plate and the (tomato-based) bruschetta, along with a Sawbuck Malbec and then a Substance Syrah.  Again, none of these were particularly remarkable, but they were agreeable, as was the conversation with co-owners Chad and Brian, though they were slightly exhausted from the recent opening festivities and long days.

6510 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 420-8992
intheredwinebar.com - queen anne news - seattlemet - thrillist - yelp

#1163 #S705 - Saffron Grill, Seattle - 6/27/2010

This seems like a nice Indian and Mediterranean restaurant, from the management of the well-regarded Cedars in the U District, and I do plan to come back for dinner.  As a bar it's quite mediocre.  They do have their own cocktail menu, though most the drinks tend to seem like what you'd find at a college bar, rather than balanced and finely crafted mixology we're getting all too used to these days.  If you're happy with beer and a bar setting without any particular character, it might do for you, as they apparently have 100 different imports available.

2132 N Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98133 - (206) 417-0707
saffrongrillseattle.com - urbanspoon - the stranger - yelp

#1162 #S704 - Stanford's, Seattle - 6/27/2010

Stanford's is a fairly typical modern mall steakhouse sort of restaurant and lounge. The "work of art" cocktails are not in a league with this town's better practitioners, but I did quite enjoy the Huckleberry Raindrop (44 Degree North Mountain Huckleberry vodka, lemon sour, and rosemary infused simple syrup), and my belief that there is no bad cocktail with cucumber was ably supported by the Cucumber Mint Cooler (Beefeater, Stoli, cucumber, fresh lemon sour, and mint).

The dinner, too, was quite tasty -- I had the "Bronzed Cajun salmon" with a jalapeno-lime beurre blanc, and would recommend it. I'm not endeared to the chain feel of the place and I'm not going to be a regular, but if you wanted to go someplace that could satisfy some meat-and-potatoes company, you could do a lot worse than Stanford's.

401 Northeast Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98125-6036 - (206) 834-6277
stanfords.com - urbanspoonyelp

Saturday, July 03, 2010

#1161 #S703 - 2 Bit Saloon, Seattle - 6/26/2010

In light of the inexorable gentrification of Ballard, it was very nice to see The Bit Saloon purchased by someone from The Funhouse.

 Now the "2 Bit" Saloon, it continues on as a sort of refreshingly small and loud end cap to the fine variety of bars between Market and 17th.

4818 17th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
myspace - facebook - westseattleherald - seattle weekly- myballard - yelp

#1160 #S702 - May, Seattle - 6/26/2010

The lounge part of May Thai restaurant is not some squeezed in afterthought, but takes up the full ground floor.  May has some of the better Thai food in the city and I think hands down the coolest decor to eat it in.  The bar area downstairs does not quite have the character of the upper floor, where one feels like interrupting some hidden retreat for Buddhist monks, but it's colorful and elaborate.  The bar features some of their own specialty cocktails which are not bad.

1612 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 675-0037
maythaiseattle.com - seattle pi - seattle weekly - seattletimes - seattlemet - the stranger - yelp -

Friday, July 02, 2010

#1159 #S701 - Iron Bull, Seattle - 6/26/2010

Basically, the old Goldies with a few more TVs and some murals.  A neighborhood bar for watching sports and playing pool.

Historical Notes: This space has hosted a bar since at least 1935 (the building was constructed during prohibition in 1925). City guides list a bar owned by Chas. Wilson in '39, then the Checkerboard Tavern or just The Checkerboard from the 40s to the 60s, The Rat Hole Tavern by 1970, the Iron Bull in the 70s, Goldies by the 90s until 2010, until the current owners, Gerald Simonsen and Bernie McGuire of the Rat and Raven, returned it to the Iron Bull later in 2010.



2121 45th N., Seattle, WA 98103
Est. 2010 - Building constructed 1925
Previous bars at this location: Checkboard Tavern, The Rat Hole Tavern, The Iron Bull, Goldies
theironbull.com - facebook - seattle weekly - yelp - the stranger