The Triplehorn Brewing "Micropub" is an archetypal suburban craft brewery, with a small tasting carved out of the brewery warehouse, with food trucks and various events ("Hordefest") in the parking lot.
The city of Duvall, it is said, was officially incorporated for the purpose of having a saloon (city status was apparently required to establish one in 1913). The Hix Market and the Grange Hall here were moved here from the Snoqualmie riverside in 1909, along with the rest of the town, then called Cherry Valley, to make way for the railroad. It's now a city of about 7,000 people, with a Main Street section that's been gussied up with public art and broad walking space. The Duvall Grille and Tap Room fits comfortably into this modest span between locals and sprinkles of tourists -- nothing fancy, but a homey sort of setting where you can get a good beer, burger or breakfast.
Woodinville is bedroom community northeast of Seattle, where an old logging and farming community now looks like everything was built in the last five years. Today it is now best known for the 80 wineries in the area, their carefully manicured lawns alternating with warehouses and industrial parks. In one of the latter, Kat Stremlau and Jan Newton established a small craft beer bar in December of 2012. The setting is as soul-less as you would expect from an industrial park, but they do deliver on the beer, with 44 interesting choices on tap, along with sandwiches and various small plates.
I love Josh Henderson's Westward, and quite like his Hollywood Tavern, but I just have never understood what all the fuss is about over Skillet Diners. So I could post about how average I have always found the food, drinks, and decor. But given that apparently every single other person in Seattle thinks they're fantastic, I must just be off my rocker on this one, and won't waste your time.
While the horse is well out of this barn, some of my age group would still have us despair of the gentrification and hipification of north Seattle's old Scandinavian shake mill and fishing community of Ballard. But while I prefer dive bars filled with crusty old blue collar workers over faceless condo buildings as much as anyone, bars as good as Percy's simply leave one no option but to capitulate.
Percy's & Co. Apothecary Bar and Restaurant is in an old bar location -- built in 1898 according to the owners and in 1893 according to the Ballard Historical Society -- which first housed Percy Sankey's "Ballard Bar." It has hosted various bars and types of bars since then, including, according to rumor, throughout the years of prohibition.
Seattle hipster hotspot owners Wade Weigel (Ace Hotel, Rudy's Barber Shops) and Jeff Ofelt (Bimbo's, Cha Cha, King's Hardware) upgraded the food considerably and made what had been a fairly attractive bar substantially more elegant, as well as increasing the nods to the history of the location and neighborhood. They host classic movies on the patio and live music from blue grass to garage rock. More to the point, they induced craft cocktailers Kyle Taylor and Joe Petersen of New York's "Apotheke" to join them, and to create delicious and creative drinks with an antique herbal pharmacist spin.
Even with the old Smoke Shop and Hattie's Hat still serving the dive crowd, it is increasingly rare to run into someone like the old fisherman I met in a joint up the street, who used to trade salmon for drinks, and proudly told me that in all his years of walking back to his boat from the bars, he'd only fallen in the water once. And the space that is now Percy's is a world away from the seedy old Silver Spot Beer Parlor, which took over after prohibition. But while the condo buildings rise relentlessly around it, this old avenue has preserved its century-old buildings, even while it has become awash in great places to eat and drink -- unmatched in Seattle outside of Capitol Hill. And damned if Percy's isn't one of the best of them.
For three and a half decades this was a Greek diner with a lounge in back -- the kind that had murals of ancient Greece painted on the walls, belly dancers, and coin operated plungers that sprayed cologne in the mens room. It has now been taken over by Ridgley Kuan, who runs the well-regarded Green Leaf Vietnamese restaurants in Seattle. This location is not another Green Leaf; while it contains some similar dishes it seems to focus on Chinese American dishes, which are pretty good. The lounge is not a major attraction, but my visit was pleasant thanks to very accommodating bartender Peter.
There isn't much to the bar of this little southern Italian bistro, although you can get a nice glass of wine or sangria. But the food is quite good. Early reports had well known Seattle restaurateur Enza Sorrentino (AKA "Mama Enza") as the executive chef, but there was apparently some falling out between her and the owners, sending the latter scrambling and flying to Naples to import another chef. In any case, it's a modest, breezy setting with an open kitchen and offering nice southern Italian plates for lunch, dinner or snacking.
Historical notes: I've found no bars in this space, although there was a pre-prohibition saloon owned by Nick Cunningham in the earlier 1900s next door, in the space currently occupied by the Endless Knot shop. The building is well over 100 years old, though there is relatively scant visible evidence of that after remodels.
2302 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 441-4480
Est. 2013 - Building constructed: 1900 or earlier
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: belliniseattle.com - facebook
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor
For people who've lived a while in the greater Seattle area, all you need to know about Chinook's is that it is part of the Anthony's chain. What this means is that you'll have a very solid selection of seafood, nothing super fancy, not cheap but not expensive, and a really nice view of some body of water. The setting for Chinooks is sometimes called "non-touristy" because it is a more industrial seaport setting than the others, but at the same time it's commonly recommended as a place that will please both you and your elderly relatives visiting from the midwest. The bar too is nothing cutting edge, but reliable on the basics.
Matt Storm (Malt and Vine) owns this small craft beer joint in lower Queen Anne and manages the beer selections, with Lucas Neve (Cafe Lago) handling the small, wood-fired pizzas. Both are pretty good, and the space is a bit spare, but with a relaxed, pleasant crowd.
The Woodman Lodge is set a restored lumberman's fraternal hall constructed in 1902, and now filled with nice wood, antiques, old photos and grand taxidermy. From this very pleasant setting they serve a fairly standard contemporary steakhouse menu, including several seafood choices, along with a good selection of wines and common cocktails. It's a good place for a reliable and satisfying meal and feels like eating in a historical museum. I'd eat here a lot if I lived in this town.
I may get banned from Seattle for saying this, but I don't much like Rachel's Ginger Beer. That amount of sparkly sweet carbonation is just not my thing. I also don't like RGB in my cocktails, as it tends to overwhelm the other ingredients (I don't like most champagne cocktails either). However, I could well be the only person in the greater Puget Sound region that feels this way, as it seems like everybody else loves, loves, loves Rachel's Ginger Beer.
In any case, I do like seeing these local entrepreneurs making it, I like seeing this sort of shop in the market, I like that it has various cocktails made with RGB, even if they are not my favorites, and I love the Montana bar that Rachel and co. run. So I'm still a sort of fan, and my lack of love is not shared by anyone else I know.
This is an airy, woody, two-story building named after the favorite Montana fishing hole of owner/chef Eric Donnelly (Sazerac, Oceanaire, Toulouse Petit), and serving upscale seafood dishes made from ingredients from around the world. I was not overwhelmed by either my dishes or cocktails, but lots of people love the place and I do see some great pictures of their dishes online, so I will need to give it another go.
This modest, ordinary place is one of the older locations for a bar in the Seattle area. There was a Hideaway Beer Parlor listed at 12505 Aurora in 1934 and it appears to have moved to this address by 1935. It appears to have been established in its current form of bar and cardroom in 1976, sitting conveniently just across the street from the Seattle city limits and regulations. It is now dominated by the 7 poker tables, filled with men of all ages and a few little old ladies. The American-Chinese food values are quite good -- e.g. you can get a massive bowl of soup for $3.
14525 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133 - (206) 361-9393
Est. 1935 - Building constructed: 1917
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: hideawaycasino.com
Reviews: yelp - themogh
Lynnwood, north of Seattle, is the 30th largest city in the state of Washington, and I consider it to be the largest city in the state without a single interesting bar. I'm referring to the physical places, food, and drinks, and lots of very boring bar locations can be quite enjoyable because of the fun and interesting people who come there, so I am not ruling that out. But I prefer a place with character -- ANY kind of character -- that adds some kind of personal touch and distinguishes it from hundreds of other bars across the country.
Lynnwood's bars are mostly chains and seems determined to squeeze out what little remaining character there is -- e.g. minimizing the nautical theme of Daverthumps and at least the interesting name of "None Of Your Business" and replacing them with cookie cutter BSSBs (Banal Suburban Sports Bars). The most remarkable feature of BSSBs is that they have no remarkable feature. Like hundreds of other BSSBs, they generally include the following:
All or virtually all decorations and wall hangings are corporate paraphernalia -- Budweiser, NASCAR, etc. No personal items, local photos, etc.
Standard bar food - fried foods, burgers, salads, maybe pizzas and tacos.
Lots of televisions and beer company sports decor.
A good selection of beers
Cocktails that appear to be designed for sorority girls - flavored vodkas, super sweet, Fireball shots, jello shots
A Facebook page dominated by photos from Halloween
A majority of customers wearing baseball caps, often backwards
A hastily carved out smoking area in back, with plastic furniture
Usually in the outer parts of cities, or in medium-sized towns, often in a strip mall
Again, the most important part of a bar is probably the people there, so bar settings with no personality can sometimes be a great bar stop if they attract a fun and unusual crowd. I went at the wrong time of day to know if that's the case with Shots and Scores, so maybe I'd be surprised.
17711 Washington 99, Lynnwood, WA 98037 - (425) 742-0861
Est. 2012 or 2013 - Building constructed: 1945
Previous bars in this location: None of Your Business, Inn Tavern
Web site: facebook
This new instance of the Alibi Room in a small Greenwood strip mall does not have the sexy space of the original off a cobblestone alley under Pike Place Market, but it's definitely a nice addition for people like me who live nearby. They have decent cocktails, good wood-fired pizzas and some simple but very tasty appetizers, including their apple and brie plate.
Downtown Bellevue seems like an odd place for a jazz club, and Bake's is in an odd part of downtown Bellevue. It's away from any considerable foot traffic and away from the malls, but still in the business core at the foot of a pedestrian 8-floor office building. It's not the sort of space that attracts people who don't know where they are going, but that doesn't appear to be a major problem for Craig Baker, who's been pulling fairly large crowds in for music performances in various other unlikely venues, including his basement and the Washougal, WA Grange Hall.
It's pretty sedate when the music is not playing, but that may not be a problem as virtually every evening it morphs into a swanky, relaxed yet formal jazz club, or sometimes blues, R&B or Latin music. It quite intentionally has a vibe similar to Seattle's Jazz Alley, with a crowd and space that emphasize listening to the musicians rather than a steady road of chit chat. The food and cocktails are better than average, and after much negotiation they've become able to use the patio of the building, which is one of the nicer lunch spots in the area on sunny afternoons.