Bars where Pete has had a drink

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#1236 #S744 - Big Mario's - 9/15/2010

Most the interest that Mario's holds is from the vibe of the relatively low-key Capitol Hill crowd it attracts with its nothing-fancy, New York style pizza and bar.  Mario himself brings carries the cred for a such a joint, having migrated from Naples and slung pizza in the various burroughs of New York.  But the place is actually owned by Mike McConnell, who also owns Via Tribunali and Caffe Vita.

The place looks and feels like it's been operating in a college neighborhood for 50 or 60 years (they have jager on tap and sell 40-ounce bottles of Olde English).  The cocktails are nothing special, but they have a good selection of beers and sell tasty slices until 4am Thursdays through Saturdays.

1009 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 922-3875
bigmariosnewyorkpizza.com - facebook - all consuming - seattle weekly - the stranger - seattle met - seattle times - yelp

#1235 #S743 - Waid's Haitian Cuisine & Lounge - 9/15/2010

For a Seattle restaurant/bar, Waid's is otherworldly.  It's not just the Haitian food and the worldly variety of music; it's how the the space rises unexpectedly around a Central District corner, and the outsized personality of the man himself (e.g. check out the gorgeous wedding photos on his myspace page).

We had the tasty Ekrevis Lakay ("Using their love for cooking, my fabulous chefs have managed to make lobster out of shrimp (so typically Haitian). Sautéed in shallots, garlic and bathed in coconut milk which produces a curry like sauce that will carry you away to an island that is so dear to me"),  a mango-rita, and a shot or two suggested by the owner/host.


Waid's is currently embroiled in a fight for its liquor license and survival.  This is a great shame, as the place is not only a unique and lovely bar but, in the words of 'LaTanya Horace, who works for a Seattle nonprofit called Neighborhood House that helps immigrants and refugees. "It has become the community center for the biggest, most random and diverse group of cultures you could imagine."'

The unusual reach of the place is also evidenced by the groups that meet there.  "A staggeringly diverse array of groups relies on Waid's as a place to meet and hold fundraisers. To name a few: doctors from Harborview Medical Center; swing-dance groups; the Environmental Law Society at Seattle U; the Jua Lekundu Foundation (for Tanzania); Seattle's Burning Man crowd; Planned Parenthood; a Gay Pride group; a belly-dancing society; a Harley biker club; and African-American fashion designers." (ibid).

With luck, Waid's will still be open when you're reading this and for several years to come.  But if you're not sure, and have never been there, you should check it out quickly.

1212 E Jefferson St, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 328-6493
waidshouse.com (warning: sound) - facebook - myspace - blog - seattle weekly - yelp

#1234 #S742 - King St. Bar & Oven - 9/15/2010

The Seattle Times describes this place as having a "sports-lounge atmo with antique-y touches."  If you use words like "atmo" and "antique-y," then maybe this is a swell place for you.  It offers nothing of interest to me -- the decor, drinks, and food are all utterly boring. But I do commend the owners for shutting down the nightclub portion which brought in large crowds and not a small amount of morons and fights.

170 S King St., Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 749-9890
kingstreetbar.com - facebook - seattle pi - seattle times - yelp

#1233 - Cedar Inn, Olympia, WA - 9/15/2010




9030 Martin Way E, Olympia, WA - Tel: (360) 459-5509
yelp

#1232 - Log Cabin Bar & Grill, Shelton WA - 9/15/2010

Shelton is a town with a number of great old bars, and perhaps the liveliest and oldest is the Log Cabin Bar & Grill. New owner Lori showed me photos not only of the remodeling and fixing they did, but also old shots from the 20s and thereabouts, when the place was a filling station as well as the Ray Mitchell Tavern, on a dirt road.

Lori believes it was a tavern even before December 1933 (i.e. before prohibition ended) -- and who knows, maybe it was?  I do not know when it became known as the "Log Cabin," but it was sometime before 1960.

The attitude at the Log Cabin is brassy, from the menu boards above the bar to the bartenders.  The liquor is pretty much the basics, and the food offerings include affordable steaks and fried sides including "Ugly Sticks" and "Fried Worms."

The "Boys" and "Girls" rooms are in a separate log shack out the back door. The place was fairly buzzing when I went, which was not a typical busy hour for bars.  It seems like a pretty fun place and its great to see someone revitalizing it.

(more photos)

1749 Olympic Hwy S, Shelton, WA 98584 - (360) 427-5646
facebook - yelp -

#1231 - Ernie's Fir Cone, Shelton WA - 9/15/2010

Conversation snippet from Ernie's:
Bartender 1: "I'm going to be thirty."
Bartender 2: "I remember thirty."
Bartender 1: "Well if my birthday goes right, I will NOT remember thirty."

The Fir Cone, now Ernie's Fir Cone, is yet another fine old bar in Shelton -- and a bit of a competitive shuffleboard hub.  The drinks are cheap but generous pours and the bartenders are nice (and Ernie admits he hires women only).  There was an interesting mix of customers the day I dropped in, some appearing rather professorial, and including an old coot of at least 80 in a plaid shirt playing pool with a 20-ish gal in a plaid shirt.



I had a nice chat with Wendell, who doesn't drink, but still hangs out there, and who told me about how the bars crowded the downtown streets back when he was a boy and the town was a thriving logging community (which it was from approximately 1855 to 1975).  The annual Forest Festivale parade was epic, back in the day, Wendell told me, until they clamped down on it due to excessive drunkedness.

When asked what to do in Shelton of today, Fnarf responded, "Probably the most entertaining thing you can do is to to the Wal-Mart up on the plateau and watch the 18-year-old girls with three kids and their mulletted, jams-wearing boyfriends shopping for shotgun shells and cases of soda."  But it seems like you could have some pretty pleasant evenings if you avoid that outer corporate development that has happily left the old downtown area largely intact, and stick to the old bars like the Fir Cone.

I do not know the age of Earnie's, but a tavern and cigar shop named "Smith's Cigar Store" is listed at this address in 1960.

(Second picture = Shelton ca. 1925, University of Washington Digital Collections)


114 W Cota St, Shelton, WA 98584 - (360) 426-2221
Previous bars in this location: Smith's Cigar Store (1960s)
yelp

#1230 - Bob's Tavern, Shelton WA - 9/14/2010

Bob's Tavern is a classic old dive, apparently established in 1942. Contrary to popular opinion, the bartender Dottie has not been there even longer, though she has been there for 30 years, and at 71, can still do a crackerjack job trading friendly barbs with the customers.
In addition to Dottie, the bar interior is dominated by a semi-circular bar, and the outside by a large painting of a chicken. The drinks are pretty standard, and the patrons pleasant and humorous,often with a card game going on in the afternoon.

320 S 1st St, Shelton, WA 98584 - (360) 427-9940
Previous bars in this location: George's Tavern (1960s)
yelp

#1229 - Golden Pheasant, Shelton WA - 9/14/2010

The Golden Pheasant, which is down the road a piece from downtown Shelton and just north of Golden Pheasant Auto Wrecking, was my first clue to the series of antique bars in the area. The main sign is maybe 30 yards west, along highway 101, and can give the illusion that the tavern is actually located in a small storage shed.

Once they got over their suspicions of a city slicker taking photos of the place, the patrons and staff were both quite friendly. In between noting how stupid various projects on the local roads and parks were (they assumed each one was "an Obama thing"), they informed me about the other bars in town and the old bowling alley with floors that shifted when the tide came in.

There's nothing fancy about the drinks, but they are quite reasonably priced and options do include several microbrews on tap.
The bar, I am told, has been around since 1939, though "Uncle Elmer was probably selling liquor someplace" well before prohibition was ended. Some of the patrons recalled when he used to have outboard motors attached to the bar as he worked on them. When I noted that the freezer door looked like it dated back to the origin of the place, they informed me that it was older than that, as it had been relocated here from the city morgue.

930 W Golden Pheasant Rd, Shelton, WA 98584 - (360) 426-2808

#1228 - Starlight Lounge, Shelton WA - 9/14/2010

I took a small trip to Shelton, WA to pick up a craigslisted bearskin rug, and decided to have lunch and a drink at the Little Creek Casino, across the street from the designated bear rug exchange point.  I had never been to Shelton before, and would not have wasted precious drinking time among the lifeless casino denizens had I any idea of what a rich supply of fine, historic old bars the town featured.  I paid a tiny amount ($2.25) for an even tinier gin and tonic -- in one of those micro juice glasses that senior citizens are used to for exotic rarities like orange juice.  In fact, as I later discovered, it was Senior Citizens Day at the casino, which probably took the average customer age up several years over the usual 80.  And even though it was a lazy weekday afternoon, the place was packed, though I suspect it emptied considerably just before the O'Reilly Factor.

In any case, the town of Shelton is populated with several lovely old bars surviving from the 30s and 40s, when a booming logging industry filled a long string of bars along First Street (and a bowling alley on the river, whose angles would change as the tide came in).  So if you ever find yourself in those parts, don't make the same mistake I did -- head straight for the bars with history and character (and characters), and don't waste time and liver space on the gawdawful casino bars.

91 West, Highway 108, Shelton, WA - (800) 667-7711
little-creek.com

#1227 #741 Sonrisa, Seattle - 9/13/2010

Update: Sonrisa closed in mid-year 2013


Again, I'm not particularly fond of bars in malls. But Sonrisa has substantially better than average Mexican food and the Magarita Die Infierno is very tasty.

2614 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA 98105 (U Village) - (206) 524-2242
Est. 2007 - Closed 2013
Previous bars in this location: None known
Subsequent bars in this location: Eureka
sonrisamodernmex.com - seattle weekly - the stranger - yelp

#1226 #740 Viola!, Seattle - 9/12/2010


2805 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112 - (206) 322-5460
Est. 2004 - Building constructed 1925
Previous bars in this location: None known
voilabistrot.com - seattlepi - seattle times - the stranger

#1225 #739 Luc, Seattle - 9/12/2010

Luc is the new, more casual (and less expensive) sister restaurant to Rover's, the James Beard award wining French restaurant from Thierry Rautureau ("the Chef in the Hat"), in a klatch of fancy schmancy French cafes in Madison Valley, of which Rover's is the fanciest schmanciest.  There are even James Beard references in the Luc mens' room graffiti.
Luc, named after the chef's father, was largely funded by selling advance gift cards (Rautureau says he got the idea from Barack Obama).  It is about evenly split between restaurant and bar portion.
I had a nice Manhattan with Punt e Mes in lieu of the regular rosso vermouth, and a fantastic salmon BLT sandwich that I wish was not a special so I could count on having it again.


2800 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112 - (206) 328-6645
thechefinthehat.com - seattlemagazine - seattle times - seattle met - seattle weekly - seattle weekly 2 - the stranger - citysearch - yelp

#1224 - Papa's Pub & Grill, White Center, WA - 9/11/2010

Update: Papa's closed on Feb 5, 2012

Papa's (formerly Brewsky's) is just a few doors down from the Locker Room, and at least on the night that I went, it had a much more diverse and likable crowd.  Like pretty much any really good dive bar, it had cheap drinks, a mix of ethnicities, lots of blue collar folk, and some cocky little old ladies.

9635 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106
the stranger

Monday, September 20, 2010

#1223 - The Locker Room, White Center, WA - 9/11/2010

White Center's "Locker Room" was included in Mike Seeley's 10 Most Intimidating Dive Bars in Seattle (presumably in the top 7 now, as three others have gone out of business in the past 6 months) and The Stranger calls it "feared by locals."  So what is it doing with a rack of Avon catalogs in the window?
On the Saturday night that I went the street was filled with police cars, but the drama was coming from elsewhere -- the liquor-less Evo dance club up the street seems to have been the source of all the excitement and police attention in recent months.

The Locker Room, on the other hand, just had a bunch of heavyset people singing karaoke.

Historical notes:  There was a bar in this building at least as far back as the 30s, with a beer parlor owned by Glen C. Stevens listed in the 1939 city guides. It may go back near the end of prohibition, as the building was constructed in 1933. By 1960 it was the J&W Tavern (J&W Saloon by 1980) and by 1990 it was the Locker Room.

9633 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106-2828 - (206) 762-9805
Building constructed: 1933
Previous bars in this location: J&W Saloon
seattle weekly - yelp

#1222 #738 - Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, Seattle - 9/10/2010

This is a fairly classic jazz club, featuring large paintings of various jazz players from the old Pete's Poop Deck.  You go here for the music, not the cocktails (which are pretty pedestrian).  It was started in the U District in 1979 in what was around the nadir for the jazz scene in Seattle -- a city that once had a rollicking after hours scene that featured 34 jazz nightclubs just along Jackson St between 1st and 14th Avenues, and the likes of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, and Patti Bown bouncing from club to club.  The current Jazz Alley location is swankier than the previous one, with small tables, two levels, and a dinner option.  They tend to get the bigger names in the related genres, and they claim to now be the third longest running jazz bar/nightclub in the country.

2033 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 441-9729
jazzalley.com - myspace - seattle weekly - urbanspoon - yelp
For a good description of the history of Seattle's jazz/swing/bebop scene, see Paul de Barros's Jackson Street After Hours

#1221 #S738 - 35th Street Bistro, Seattle - 9/9/2010

Update: The 35th Street Bistro closed Nov. 29, 2012



This is the French/European bistro in the old Still Life space, with a small separate bar room offering better than average cocktails and appetizers.  I had a Drunken Cherry Manhattan (Makers with cherry juice in lieu of bitters), and a 35th Street Martini (vodka muddled with fresh seasonal fruit and simple syrup) and liked them both.

709 N. 35th St., Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 547-9850
Est. 2004 - Building constructed 1909 - Closed Nov 2012
35bistro.com - yelp

#1220 #S737 - Enza Cucina Siciliana, Seattle - 9/8/2010

This is an Sicilian restaurant, formerly Sorrentino, presided over by Mamma Enza, a classic Italian lady with big, Jacki-O glasses and a tendency to tell you exactly what she thinks.  The bar is small and doesn't offer anything particularly interesting beyond the wine.  But if you're in the mood for some good Italian food and a nice glass of vino, I suggest going in off hours so you'll have a better chance of engaging Ms. Enza in various conversations.

While I was there, her mushroom provider came in, and had trouble convincing her that his delivery was a large as he said it was ("That'sa not'a five pounds").  A bit later, as he stood there eating gelato, she tells me, "Last week he sell'a me truffles.  But truffles not good.  But (sigh), he'sa muh friend."

enzaseattle.com - yelp

#1219 #S736 - The Ram (Northgate), Seattle - 9/7/2010

I'm not a fan of big corporate sportsbars/brewpubs -- particularly when they're in big shopping malls.  But I will say that bartender Brandon made the drinks and this visit enjoyable.


401 NE Northgate Way #1102 (Northgate Mall), Seattle, WA 98125-8538 - (206) 364-8000
theram.com - yelp

#1218 #S735 - Scorecard Bar and Grill, Seattle - 9/2/2010

This place is fairly new, but the style is strictly old school -- it's a bit like stepping into 1975.  There are old school drinks (rum and cokes) being consumed, old school bar food being served, and old school gals working the bar who call every customer "Babe" or "Hon."  And apparently everyone in the place smokes (odd how often that goes together with "sports" bars).

Despite the name, the sports theme doesn't appear to go any deeper than any typical suburban, strip-mall bar.  The interior is fairly large and utterly devoid of any charm or character, but there do appear to be some real characters among the customers and staff.

543 NE Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98125-6155 - (206) 367-2620
yelp

#1217 #S734 - Staple and Fancy, Seattle - 9/2/2010

Staple and Fancy Mercantile is the newest restaurant from Ethan Stowell and crew, with much of the staff coming from the recently deceased Union (and Ethan himself often in the kitchen).  The bar is fairly small and the place is usually packed, like all ES joints.  But the interior is more warm and pleasant of Stowell's restaurants, and one can have a cocktail while hovering for an open bar seat.  I started with a very nice "De la Louisianne" (rye, Benedictine and Pastis), which made hovering quite bearable. A sweet cream ricotta with heirloom tomato appetizer, a second cocktail (a "Caliana" -- gin, Aperol, grapefruit and soda), and some pleasant company at the bar made the wait well worth it.

4739 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 789-1200
ethanstowellrestaurants.com - seattle times - crosscut - seattle weeklythe stranger

Friday, September 17, 2010

#1216 #S733 - Auto Battery, Seattle - 9/1/2010

Auto Battery, from the people behind Po' Dog next door, has a few vestiges of the past captured in its name, which prevents the new Capitol Hill sports bar from being totally generic. But its not very far from that, and will not be of any particular interest to anyone who hankers for anything beyond a beer and sports on TV.

1009 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 322-2886
facebook - seattlemet - yelp

#1215 #S732 - Anchovies and Olives, Seattle - 9/1/2010

Sharing dinner items with three friends provided a pretty good sampling of the food here, which generally lived up to expectations (or as close as reasonable, given outsized accolades such as being in Bon Appetit's best ten restaurants in America).  I didn't like it as much as I've enjoyed other Ethan Stowell places, but I'm not personally a fan of oysters or raw seafoods, so I am probably not one of the better judges of the menu.

The drinks -- some classics and some designed by bartender Kiara -- were better than average, but the bar section is a bit too appertaining and the ambiance of the entire place a bit too open and condo for me to consider it highly when one is looking strictly for a bar.

1550 15th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 838-8080
ethanstowellrestaurants.com - seattle weekly - seattle foodies - thestranger - yelp

Thursday, September 16, 2010

#1214 #S731 - Bandolero, Seattle - 8/31/2010

Update:  Bandolero closed around Oct. 3, 2011

The latest incarnation of the "Pour House," in the old Luau space.  This version seems more likable than the PH.  The Mexican food and drinks were both above average and Ryan the bartender was efficient and funny.

2253 N 56th St, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 633-5828
bandoleroseattle.com - seattlepi - thrillist - yelp

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

#1213 - The Dresden Room, Los Angeles - 8/24/2010

The Dresden Room is a must-see, old school, Rat-Pack-style Los Angeles icon due to Marty & Elayne.  I missed their signature version of "Stayin' Alive," but I did catch much of their act, including various snippets of patter between Marty and our table ("Is Seattle in a different time zone?"). 
The Dresden has been around since 1954, and although they seem like they've been there even longer, Marty and Elayne have been regulars since 1982.  I couldn't put it any better than Laura B., on yelp, "Marty & Elaine are fantastic - timeless LA legends - well maybe not so timeless."

1760 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 - (323) 665-4294
thedresden.com - "Swingers" scene - time - newyorkerinhollywood - yelp

Saturday, September 11, 2010

#1211 - The Bahooka, Rosemead CA - 8/24/2010

This may be my favorite tiki bar I've ever been to.  Yes, the Mai Kai is grand, and perhaps holds an edge thanks to the gardens.  But inside Bahooka Ribs & Grog has the dark, ramshackle, non-corporate vibe that I love in a tiki bar.
The food is fairly plain and the drinks do not compete with the best tiki joints (though they are better than average), but the fact that there is nothing fancy about their food somehow makes it all the more likable.

Then, of course, there are the aquariums (over 100 of them) and the alluring feeling of being lost in the labyrinth hold of a sunken ship.  Each booth is surrounded by fish and seafaring paraphernalia, dark and woody with the tables hanging by a large iron chain.
It is out of the way enough to have a shack ("bahooka") feel to it from the outside, and the small bar, where a turtle paddles under your drinks, preserves the vibe of an old neighborhood joint. 

I love this place.

(More photos)

4501 Rosemead Boulevard, Rosemead, CA 91770-1476 - (626) 285-1241
bahooka.com - critiki - myspace - facebook - tikizone - yelp