Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,772 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#2436 - Cane & Table, New Orleans - 3/15/2014

Cane and Table, New Orleans, LA

The basement of my house started out being decorated as a goth bar and rather suddenly shifted to a tiki bar. How that happened is kinda a long story, but a similar thing happened to Pravda, this beautifully dark and ornately formal, Soviet-themed space on Decatur Street. I loved that bar and hated to see it go. But if the evil empire had to collapse, one could do a lot worse for a replacement than a "Rustic Colonial Cuisine and Proto-Tiki" joint. And we're not talking some cheesy, overly sweet bastardizations of tiki -- we're talking an ownership team from the highly regarded Cure and Bellocq hiring rum master Nick Detrich to devise a menu of well-balanced, Caribbean themed, pre-prohibition era and tiki style drinks.

The vibe has gone from dark to what feels like relaxing in a sunny plaza in Havana. This is especially true on the back patio, where strange gods mix unobtrusively, from tikis to faded Egyptian figures, all around one of the older buildings in all of New Orleans. There are nights with well known guest bartenders (including Beachbum Berry) and an "all you can drink brunch." It is now a place where it is easy to linger.

1113 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 581-1112               
Est. 2013
Previous bars in this location: Pravda
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: eater - nola - nola10best - yelp - zagat - neworleansonline

#2435 - 3 legged Dog Tavern, New Orleans - 3/14/2014

Three Legged Dog, New Orleans, LA
One of so many bars in the New Orleans that in any other town would probably be your favorite bar in the city, the Three Legged Dog is known for their crawfish, boiled with corn, potatoes, pineapple, sausage, garlic, artichokes, and heaped onto places from a huge bin.

Three Legged Dog, New Orleans, LA
Three Legged Dog, New Orleans, LA
(Photo from bar's facebook page)

400 Burgundy St, New Orleans, LA 70112 - (504) 412-8335             
Web site: facebook
Reviews: hungrycityblog - yelp - tripadvisor

#2434 - The Upper Quarter, New Orleans - 3/14/2014

The Upper Quarter has a nice, genuine dive feel to it. It is known as a big gathering place for New Orleans Saints fans, and one can only assume that its taken them a substantial number of pudding shots to handle recent seasons.

1000 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112 - (504) 523-4111
Web site: facebook
Reviews: bestofneworleans - yelp - tripadvisor

#2433 - Rita's Tequila House, New Orleans - 3/14/2014

This was not a targeted bar but rather one of those we're-ready-for-another-drink-now stops. As a group of youngish women started awkwardly dancing and grinding with each other behind us, we requested a couple of to-go cups. "Yeah, I'd want to leave too," the bartender told us.

417 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130 - (504) 298-8227
Web site:

#2432 - Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, New Orleans - 3/14/2014

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, New Orleans, LA
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is a charming candlelit French Colonial cottage that basically caps the northeast end of the party zone on Bourbon Street. It is very common to hear that Laffitte's is "the oldest bar in the country," the "oldest continually operating bar in the country," the "oldest building hosting a bar," and once the home or business of pirate/adventurers Jean and Pierre Laffitte. Each of the first three claims is manifestly untrue (I recommend Jay Brooks' page for a pretty good assessment of oldest bars in the U.S.) and the latter claim is highly dubious. But the building is very old - variously reported as built between 1722 and 1732 or between 1772 and 1791 (I lean toward the latter since this is the range favored by the History Department of the University of New Orleans). It has certainly not been operating strictly as bar since that time, and appears to have hosted a variety of businesses from a dentist's office to a combination cobbler and oyster shop (nolamyths). A more likely claim to being the oldest continually operating bar in the city is made the Old Absinthe House, which appears to have been officially serving liquor fairly continuously (with a substantial exception for prohibition) since the 1880s.

However, Lafitte's may well have started as a bar in the 18th century, and it appears to have become a cafe with a barroom permit in 1933 (nolamyths), the year federal prohibition ended. It was established then as "Cafe Lafitte" by Mary Collins, Harold Bartell, and Thomas Caplinger, and over the next two decades attracted some famous clientele: "The cafe became a popular night spot that attracted a bohemian clientele, including the gay community and celebrities like Noël Coward and Tennessee Williams. However, Caplinger never held clear title to the property and the building was sold in 1953. He soon opened a second cafe at the other end of the same block named Café Lafitte in Exile, which maintains that it is the oldest gay bar in the U.S." (wikipedia).

Currently the bar is popular with both locals and tourists, still lit virtually entirely by candles, and will serve anything from a nice Sazerac cocktail to one of those horrifically candy-flavored vodka and everclear monstrosities favored by certain tourists aiming to lose their inhibitions.

941 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70116 - (504) 593-9761
Est. 1940s - Building constructed: Between 1772 and 1791
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: link - nola - wikipedia - nolamythsneworleans - roadtrippers - - punch - tebeau - oldneworleanshauntedhouses - yelp - tripadvisor - thrillist

#2431 #S1227 - Din Tai Fung, Seattle - 3/11/2014

Din Tai Fung, Seattle
In creating this blog post for the U Village instance of Din Tai Fung I've noticed that I never created an entry for the earlier Bellevue version -- no doubt overlooked because I did not go to the bar until after I'd eaten there a few dozen times. Had I written about the Bellevue location, this post could have simply referred back to that one, as it is the same serviceable bar, the same small army of cooks methodically hand-preparing dumplings behind a window, the same regrettable, busy mall location, the same long lines to get in (despite room for 230), and the same lovely, lovely food that makes it all more than worthwhile.

Shrimp and pork wontons in spicy sauce
Din Tai Fung, Seattle
The wait is mitigated by DTF's support for the NoWait app, which you can use to reserve a place in line, if you are that prepared, or if you are not, to track the number of parties ahead of you. The latter feature allows you to loll around in Barnes and Noble until you see there are just one or two groups ahead of you. Mark Davis's bar program for the local restaurants is satisfying, and while you won't typically want to brave the mall crowds just for the bar, it can occasionally payoff as a shortcut to a seat for small parties.

Foodies will need no introduction to the Taiwanese Din Tai Fung chain -- they serve what have been called "the world's greatest dumplings," the Hong Kong restaurant has a Michelin star, and the New York Times named them one of the top ten gourmet restaurants in the world. At last count there were only 5 Din Tai Fungs in the U.S., with 2 in the Seattle area, and a 3rd on it's way (to yet another busy mall, alas -- someone needs to convince owner David Yang Wasielewski to build one on a nice waterfront location). The first northwest DTF in Bellevue caused a minor sensation when it opened in 2010, and hopes that eventually you could get in for either lunch or dinner without waiting in line have been futile.

DTF is most famous for its "xiao long bao" soup dumplings, but for my money the best item on the menu is the shrimp and pork wontons with spicy sauce. But you can't go wrong here, so if you are going for the first time it's nice to have a large group that is happy to share many items (and don't overlook the Shanghai rice cakes with pork or the cucumber salad). It won't be a cheap meal and it probably won't be a short wait, but you'll be happy you did it.

2621 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 525-0958
Est. Dec 29, 2013 - Building constructed: 2013
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: - facebook
Articles Ranked: thrillist - seriouseats - seattleweekly - seattletimes - heelsfirsttravelseattlemet - seattlemet - forbesyelp - tripadvisor - zagat - eater

#2430 #S1226 - Traveler Montlake, Seattle - 3/10/2014

Traveler Montlake, Seattle
Update: Traveler Montlake was refashioned into Pub Montlake in 2016 and then closed altogether in 2017. It subsequently housed Purr, which moved from Capitol Hill.

Traveler Montlake is the sort of place you want to pull into after being out in the snow or rain for a while, when you're in the mood for a meal that is well made, not too common but not too fancy, and to sit by the fire with a hot cocktail of some sort. It is very Seattle-y, from the allegiance to the Huskies and local sports teams to the sweaters and jeans crowd. Most of this was probably also the case for several previous joints in this location, from the Montlake Alehouse the decade preceding it back to the 50s when UW students would bring their prime rib sandwiches from Perry Kelly's Big-K Bar-B-Q here to Jilly's East. But this incarnation, from Devlin McGill of the Leary Traveler and Nabob, is more pleasant for adults -- with more creative food (though still centered around American comfort foods), better cocktails, and elimination of the family-friendly conversation-pit area for kids.

Traveler Montlake, Seattle
I chatted with bartender Anna, who designed the bar program, and tried a 1776 Boulevardier (I liked this, though I prefer the classic, which is one of my favorites). I also had a very good Argentinean Roast Pork Sandwich and curry carrot mango soup (which comes around in the rotation now and then).

Argentinan roast pork sandwich with curry carrot mango soup
Traveler Montlake, Seattle
2307 24th Ave E, Seattle, Washington 98112-2606 - (206) 946-6980
Est. Feb 23, 2014 - Closed 2016 - Building constructed: 1922
Previous bars in this location: Jilly's East, Grady's, Bleachers, Montlake Ale House
Subsequent bars in this location: Purr
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: capitolhillseattle - thestranger - yelp - tripadvisor

Friday, December 25, 2015

#2429 #S1225 - Plaza Garibaldi, Seattle - 3/9/2014

A few years ago this was Jalisco, which was curiously right across the street from Jalisco. Just as it was difficult for me to tell the difference between the double Jaliscos, it's difficult for me to spot the difference between this new place in the Jalisco west-side-of-the-street space, as it seems to be mostly the standard, Azteca-style, American Mexican plates and magaritas. So even if you didn't realize Jalisco closed, you will know what to expect, and Garibaldi reliably delivers.

Historical notes: This space, constructed in 1926, was the home of the Footlight Tavern from the 40s into the 80s. In the mid-80s it was briefly the Sea Otter Saloon, and then Taqueria Jalisco from 2007-2012.

129 1st Ave, N Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 397-4088
Est. Aug 9, 2012 - Building constructed: 1926
Previous bars in this location: Footlight Tavern, Sea Otter Saloon, Taqueria Jalisco
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp - tripadvisor - queenannereview - thestranger

#2428 #S1224 - Serious Pie, Seattle (South Lake Union) - 3/3/2014

Sweet fennel sausage pie - Serious Pie, Seattle, WA
The drinks are fairly good at the bar they've added this instance of Tom Douglas's mini gourmet pizza chain. But of course the focus remains the pizza -- one of my favorite meals in the city. Have the sweet fennel sausage choice.

401 Westlake Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 436-0050
Est. Dec 1, 2014 (date bar added) - Building constructed: 1948
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: seriouspieseattle - facebook
Articles ranked: seattlemet - seattleite - seattletimes - yelp - gastronomyblog - absolutelymonicaseattlepi

#2427 - Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, CA - 3/3/2014

You can't visit Santa Rosa without visiting Russian River, but the locals advise not to simply dive into the Pliny. So at the advice of bartender Jeff and customer Gary, I started with a "Row 2 / Hill 56," before moving to the inevitable Pliny the Elder. They were both my kind of beers, and had some pleasant chats with various folks at the bar. Russian River sells over 50% of its beer in this one pub, which was the main reason cited for ceasing shipments to my hometown Washington state in 2013, thus putting an end to the annual Pliny the Younger frenzy here in our thirsty town.  E.g. from the Seattle Times 2011:

"It causes lines around the block and packed houses that would violate most cities’ fire codes. Last year, Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Greenwood blew its Pliny the Younger keg in six minutes."
'Last year, Jamie Butler, co-owner of The Dray in Ballard, nonchalantly noted on Facebook one night that he would tap Pliny the Younger at 3 p.m. the next day. He ran some errands and strolled in at 3 to find a full house with “people slamming their hands on the bar,” he said.'
"The Whisky Bar in downtown won’t announce when it will release Pliny the Younger because, the bartender said, the place would just go nuts." (seattle times)

Of course the delta between Pliny and many other fine, more readily available beers doesn't merit the mania unless you are fairly devoted. But it does add to the gratification of a northwesterner casually sipping Russian River's goods while in town.

725 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 - (707) 545-2337
Est. April 3, 2004
Web site: - facebook
Articles: sfchroniclewikipedia - yelp - sfgate - craftbrewingbusiness

#2426 - Tradition, San Francisco, CA - 3/1/2014

I only stopped in for a quick drink at this place from the people behind Bourbon and Branch, etc. It was packed, and I had not made a reservation for any of the "snugs" -- reservation-only booths decorated in various bar themes (tiki bar, speakeasy, English pub, etc.). The drinks are nice and were I living or working in the area I might be tempted to work my way through each of the booth areas.

441 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102 - (415) 474-2284
Est. June 2012
Previous bars in this location: Club 441, Mister Lew's Win-Win Bar & Grand Sazerac Emporium
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: 7x7seriouseats - thrillist - yelp

Sunday, December 20, 2015

#2425 - Rainbow Cattle Co, Guerneville, CA - 3/1/2014

Rainbow Cattle Co, Guernville, CA

My cousin made fun of me (she is often cruel to me in this way) for being well into my drink and examination of the Rainbow Cattle Co. premises before opining that it may be a gay bar. But really, how was I to know? I was not informed of the cultural history I've now noted in the entry for McT's Bullpen. Of course there was the prominent rainbow on the sign and in the name. And there were the bear-ish patrons around and behind the bar. And there was the flyer for Musical Sundays. And the ones with people who looked like members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. And an unusual number of leather hats. And all the other rainbow pennants and flags. But really, what am I, psychic? Stupid cousin.

Rainbow Cattle Co., Guernville, CA
Anyway, the Cattle Co. seems like a pretty fun place, and I regret I wasn't there to see it on a busy Saturday night. The woody, rustic decor contains various western icons -- painted saws, steer skulls, etc. -- and is only better for multiple pieces being broken. They offer a fairly typical set of dive-bar style cocktails and craft beer selections, with a signature Long Island Ice Tea that comes in a 32oz Mason jar.

16220 Main St, Guerneville, CA 95446 - (707) 869-0206
Est. 1979
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: abouttripadvisor

#2424 - McT's Bullpen, Guerneville, CA - 3/1/2014

Many years ago I proposed a business named something along the lines of Rent-a-Gay-Population. The idea was that desperate, dying towns around the country could, well, rent a gay population, who would live there for a year, open boutiques and bars and antique shops and generally make the place a fun and interesting place, then move along to the next rehabilitation case. Guerneville California seems like it beat me to the punch.

Hard by the Russian River, Guerneville was established as a logging town in the 1850s and has been a vacation spot for residents of San Francisco and the Bay Area since the 1870s. It's a very pretty area, now, of course, in the midst of wine country, and apparently during the 1970s "San Francisco was the gay Mecca and Guerneville was the gay escape from gay Mecca." (

Anyway, it is a charming place and McT's Bullpen seems like one of the more pedestrian bars there, drawing a mixed crowd -- gay/straight, tourist/local, hippy/redneck or whatever you call the modern-day versions of those two. There doesn't seem to be much remarkable about the bar on this slow Saturday afternoon, but who knows what secrets are bubbling under the surface in this community just five miles from the macabre machinations of secretive and powerful Bohemian Grove rituals, where various world leaders practice arcane rituals at the behest of a 30-foot owl, a prequel to either secretly ruling the world or possibly just blowing off steam and trolling Alex Jones.

McT's seems like the kind of unremarkable setting where the character of the place is determined entirely by the people, and I couldn't get much of a sense for that on the lazy Saturday afternoon when I visited. I did, however, have a very pleasant conversation with John, a retired British meteorologist, who is happy to live within walking distance of the bar, and let slip absolutely no hints of what the giant owl has in store for humanity.

16246 First St, Guerneville, CA 95446 - (707) 869-3377
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: yelp

#2423 - Alpine Inn, Portola Valley, CA - 2/28/2014

Alpine Inn, Portola Valley, CA
There are fine old dive bars, and then there are great old dives. The Alpine is one of the coolest and oldest in the country, serving drinks since the 1850s, on the National Register of Historic Places, and steeped in history from the gold rush to the invention of the internet. 49ners drank in this bar -- not football players, actual 49ners. The exact founding date is uncertain, but it was sometime during the 1850s and commonly placed at 1852, two years after California became a state. And some patrons still arrive on horseback. Nestled in the Portola Valley trees hovering over Los Trancos Creek, seemingly a thousand miles from civilization -- but actually only seven from Stanford University -- it's easy to get the impression that little has changed such then. (Indeed, stepping inside and glancing at the taxidermy heads and bric-a-brac on the walls, one might wonder if it has been dusted since the 1850s.)

"Beginning of the Internet Age" marker, Alpine Inn, CA
The Casa de Tabletla ("house of cards") drinking, dancing, and gambling roadhouse was built and run by Felix Buelna, former mayor of San Jose, catering to Spanish-speaking Californios and their horses along the Old Spanish Trail to the coast. In 1868 Felix relinquished the place to Scotch-Irishman William Stanton, apparently losing it in a poker game, and under Stanton it becomes an English-speaking joint. Over the years the joint had many owners and many names -- it was  and "Chapete's Place" under Rodriguez "Black Chapete" Crovello, and later "The Wunder" under Charles Schenkel in the early 1900s. It's most abiding name dates back to 1940, when Enrico and Teresa Rossotti purchased it and renamed it "Rossotti's." Officially Rossotti's last only about a decade, but after half a century, locals still refer to it as "Zott's," and the sign out front still says "Formerly Rossotti's."

Alpine Inn, Portola Valley, CA
When Stanford University was founded a few miles away in 1885, it became popular with the students, who have helped sustain it ever since. This was not necessarily with the approval of the university provosts: '1908 - 'Stanford president David S. Jordan writes San Mateo County supervisors complaining that "The Wunder has a reputation for being vile, even for a roadhouse, a great injury to the university, and a disgrace to San Mateo County." The county, however, does not close the saloon.' (unknown article posted in the bar)  Over the years it benefitted from various prohibition measures. Palo Alto went dry in the 1890s; nearby Mayfield closed 23 saloons in 1903; and one can safely assume that the owners did not complain when a state law prohibiting the sale of alcohol within a mile and half of Stanford University was put in effect from 1909 to 1970.

And then there is the start of the internet. The event most commonly considered as the first internet message is when UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock and student Charley Kline sent a two-letter message from UCLA to the Stanford Research Institute (the two letters being "l" and "o," since the system crashed while trying to send "login." But a key to the "internet" is the ability to link dissimilar networks. Thus when SRI researchers parked the SRI Packet Radio Van next to a picnic table behind the Alpine Inn on August 27, 1976 and transferred a message from the table via the van's equipment to SRI and then on to Boston via ARPANET, it is natural that Computer Science Division Vice-President Don Nielson called it “the first internet transmission" and that many people mark it as "the beginning of the internet age."

Today the bar hosts a broad variety of patrons from Hells Angels to Stanford physics professors. The Mercury News notes "It's one of the few places where landscapers and technology CEOs, Little Leaguers and retirees, Stanford students and bikers -- of both kinds -- brush up against one another." I chatted with customer John, who fondly remembered when there lines out the door in the 70s and 80s, and girls from Stanford in bikinis. The food is old school bar grub -- cheeseburgers and basic sandwiches -- and there are 17 beers on tap. Virtually every wood surface has many decades of names carved into it, and outside is a large, shady beer garden. "Are you going to buy the place?" John asked me out of the blue. Well, I'm not in a position in life where I'm ready to buy a bar. But if I was, I can't think of any that would be more fun to own.

3915 Alpine Rd, Portola Valley, CA 94028 - (650) 854-4004
Est. 1959 (1852 under different name) - Building constructed: 1852
Previous bars in this location: Casa de Tableta (1852-1868), Fernando's, Philpott's (1870-1875), Stanton's Saloon (1875-?), Chapete's Place, The Wunder (1904-?), Rossotti's (1940-1959)
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: paloaltoonline - beaucamera - atigerinthekitchen - sutromedia - mv-voiceyelp - tripadvisor - findery