The Bridge is a comfortable and sometimes incongruous neighborhood joint, with motorcycles and blue collar vehicles parked out front, but inside a menu of sashimi ahi, crab dip, and chicken caprese sliders. (It also has a tasty burnt creme with fresh berries soaked in Jack Daniels.) They occasionally have live music and even had one of the local high school drum teams in.
The decor is fairly standard but the owners have worked a number of interesting places, so it will be interesting to see if it grows a bit more pronounced personality. But it seems like a step up from the Redline, which itself was a step up from Legends.
My brief stop in at Saigon Nice, which opened in the former location of the Tan Tuu Quan restaurant, was a curious one. I was the only one in the rather large place, and from their fairly limited liquor stock I decided that I better go with my "safe" drink when I don't trust the skills of the bartender, a simple gin and tonic. But this turned out to be not simple enough. The elderly Vietnamese lady behind the bar just pointed at the bottles there and asked, "Which one, you see?"
I didn't see, so I went with a bottle of beer. And for the entire time drinking it, the woman sat right across the bar from me, watching me. She didn't seem suspicious or like she hoped I would get out so she could close -- it seemed like she just had nothing else to do. But it appears that there is no lack of action later in evenings, including multiplestabbings.
4864 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108 - (206) 723-6353 beaconhillblog - yelp
Previous bars at this location: Long time location of the Jolo Tavern (at least 60s through the 90s), Tan Tuu Quan restaurant
Update: The owners of Szmania's sold it on April 1, 2014 and on April 1, 2015 the name was changed to Rogo's Restaurant and Bar
"Jager" is something that can have widely varying connotations in different contexts, but it was still a little surprising to me the neon "Jager Bar" sign over the quaint suburban wine bar in Chef Ludger and wife Julie's fine bistro.
It's a little charming for my taste in bars, but it's a very nice dinner option (I had the curry wurst and prawns saute) and I enjoyed the "Red Vyalin Manhattan" (Knob Creek bourbon, Vya sweet vermouth, Peychaud's bitters, hint of cherry juice, served up with a brandied cherry)
I'm not quite willing to give up the illicit pleasures of heated animal flesh, but places like this remove a lot of my excuses. And with a number of tasty dinner options, they serve some pretty good cocktails as well. I had some bruschetta with a glass of wine, and the Spicy Cajun Mac N Yease accompanied by a Blueberry Basic cocktail (Spiced Cinzano rum, sugar, blueberries, basil, lime, soda).
Horses Cut Shop is only regularly open the first Sunday of the month, insofar as I can tell, but it may just be my favorite venue in Seattle. They have Sunday brunch, chicken shit bingo, and live music in a space they describe (accurately) as "part high octane bad idea, part Ameircana in all it's wooly glory."
Behind the bar was a sign reading "Horses Cut Shop has gone 185 Days Without Someone Throwing Up." They ban civil war reenactments and Marshall Scott Warner. In September they're driving 100 cases of Rainier in a 1974 Ford Camper Special to Austin, TX, where they will swap it for 100 cases of Lone Star and turn around and come back.
Update: The Empire Pub closed in either 2011 or 2012
The Empire Tavern, named for its old location on Empire Way (before it was changed to Martin Luther King Jr. Way), is a classic neighborhood dive. It's been in the current location for about four years, but has a fine collection of old geezers. The walls are filled with Nascar paraphernalia and completed jigsaw puzzles featuring eagles, turkeys, Mt. Rushmore and Thomas Kincade-like cottages. It's a good place to wear your dirty baseball cap and have a beer and some microwave popcorn.
9501 Rainier Ave, Seattle, Washington 98118 - (206) 725-7714
Est. 1948 or earlier, at 5701 Empire Way (later Martin Luther King Jr Way), forced to move due to Sound Transit construction - Closed 2011 or 2012
Previous bars at this location: None known
Subsequent bars at this location: Souvanny's Restaurant and Lounge yelp
There is actually a bar here, and it's a quite pleasant place to have a glass of wine (although it is not open late -- closing by 9pm -- and it is not open Mondays and Tuesdays). However the focus is clearly on the food and people seem to especially enjoy the weekend brunch. It is small and fairly intimate, and feels like some little roadside farm cafe where a fine chef moved after getting sick of the city. There is an emphasis on sustainable, organic, local, and seasonal (hence the "caprice") ingredients. I've seen some mixed reviews of the food but all the items I have had have been uniformly yummy.
Tidbit has some very good (Spanish and Italian) food, some interesting cocktails, and a pretty amazing happy hour with good wines and $1 (!) well drinks (4-6 and 9-close Tues-Fri). I tried the "Esta-te" (gin, rum, Triple Sec, vodka, Chinotto, lime, and lemon) and the "Peach Sangria-tini" (Absolut Peach, tempranillo, Triple Sec, orange juice, muddled oranges, limes, lemons).
The actual bar portion of Tidbit is tiny and not easy to sit at. But it's a fine little stop for tapas, wine, and what has to be the most affordable happy hour drinks on Capitol Hill
This is a classic old American Chinese place with a lounge attached. The lounge portion is integrated into the mirrored wall restaurant slightly more here than the typical darkened room in the back or side of the Chinese place. This was the Lee Chee Garden earlier (into 2005), it was Hope's Hut in the 70s The Tiki Hut ("Exotic beverages from the Shell Room") in the 60s, and Blue Hawaii Restaurant (still featuring the Shell Room) in the 80s.
Rick Anderson writes of more recent days, "The bar tends to attract cops, editors, and other riffraff." But the only riffraff in the whole place on the Sunday afternoon we dropped in were ourselves. It serves pretty much the type of Chinese food and cocktails that you would expect.