Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,835 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#2372 #S1195 - Joey Kitchen, Seattle - 12/12/2013

You might at first glance think that the business model at Joey pretty much started and stopped at hiring pretty, tanned women to serve customers in tight black dresses. It's plain that they are not hiring based on a blind assessment of resumes. But the menus of the Vancouver based chain are headed by Chris Mills, "a contestant on the original Japanese version of Iron Chef, two-time headliner at James Beard House, and competitor in the French Bocuse d'Or," (cornichon), the food is quite good and the cocktails are better than average. My personal biases against the U Village setting were laid out in my post on Liam's, and the greater part of the tragedy for Joey in Seattle is that they recently departed a ravishing setting on South Lake Union.

Nevertheless, this version of Joey seems to have a less annoying crowd and a more intriguing menu. It has been devised as a test kitchen for the other Joey restaurants in the state, includes a sushi bar, and what looks to be a pleasant patio in warm weather (although it traded a view of the Space Needle over sailboats for a corner of shopping mall). The food menu seems be slightly upscale versions of American and Japanese standbys. The cocktail menu leans toward the fruity and sweet, but I had a an excellent Old Fashioned, served by super friendly bartenders Sam and Christie,who, yes, are pretty, tanned women in tight black dresses.

2603 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 527-6188
Est. Dec 9, 2013 - Building constructed: year
Previous bars in this location:
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: cornichon - seattlemet - yelp - tripadvisor                                                  

#2371 #S1194 - Liam's, Seattle - 12/12/2013

Update: Liam's closed New Years Eve 2017

I should begin by confessing that any bar located in University Village begins with a handicap in my assessment. Adding to my normal demerits for a shopping mall location and banal retail architecture, a visit to U Village involves a dispiriting hunt for parking spaces in what seems like 25 acres of Bellevue plopped discordantly down the hill from the leafy confines of the university. 30 years ago shops were at least local chains, and the shopping transfixion was mollified by an actual bowling alley. Now the location is dominated by the same methodic Pottery Barns and Banana Republics of hundreds of other indistinguishable squares across the assimilated country.

But like downtown Bellevue itself, while it is short on personality, there is no denying that you can get some good stuff there, and over the last two years the good stuff has increasingly included food. Din Tai Fung is definitely worth the trip, and a number of other new restaurants have tried to assert their individuality. Liam's Bistro is owned by a man who runs a bistro on Mercer Island (Bennett's), a cheesery and bake shop in Pike Place Market (Beecher's, Sugar Mountain), a barbecue food truck shaped like a giant, iron pig (Maximus/Minimus), and take-out pasta shops located, well, in Bellevue and in U Village across from Pottery Barn.

Like Bennett's and Maximus, Liam's is name for one of Kurt Dammeier's sons. He stresses local ingredients and has described the food as "upscale homestyle — mostly dishes that are familiar or reasonably familiar to a suburban crowd, but made better." This seems pretty much spot on, and you would be correct to infer that "made better" implies "priced higher." E.g. the Liam's Burger is $17. The decor of Liam's makes a half-hearted attempt at rusticity, seemingly a lost cause in a large concrete space of 150 seats in a new mall building. But if you're in the mood for large, loud spaces and better than average food, Liam's delivers. I passed on the vaunted Mac and Cheese options and had the Liam's Burger, a juicy and tasty six ounces of pork and beef, with crispy prosciutto taking the accustomed place of bacon. I also enjoyed a "Son Dodger" cocktail from bartender Kim, who has also worked at my neighborhood favorite Oliver's Twist.

With all the options in the city and my U Village biases laid on the table, it is unlikely that I would make the trip here just to go to Liam's again. However, if I was here for other reasons -- esp. if Din Tai Fung is overflowing -- Liam's would make the visit more pleasant, esp. on a warm day when their patio is open.

2685 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 527-6089
Est. Nov 26, 2013 - Building constructed: 2013
Previous bars in this location: None
Web site: - facebook -
Articles ranked: seattlemet - seattletimes - seattlemageater - eater - urbanspoon - culinaryfool - yelp

Friday, April 24, 2015

#2370 #S1193 - Union Bar, Seattle - 12/10/2013

'First homesteaded by M.D. Woodin in 1863, Hillman City as a community originated in the 1890s, with a stop on the Rainier Valley Streetcar line as its nucleus. The neighborhood was named after Clarence Dayton "C.D." Hillman, who platted the area and built himself a house there just off of Rainier. Hillman was a real estate developer, and while business practices ranging into the fraudulent eventually landed him in a federal penitentiary, he did bring this neighborhood into existence. Hillman City resident Mikala Woodward, director of the Rainier Valley Historical Society acknowledged at the time of the centennial of the neighborhood's annexation by Seattle, "We were named after a sleazy charlatan."' (wikipedia)

It seems like a pretty safe bet that most the residents of Seattle don't even know there is a "Hillman City" neighborhood. But as gentrification plows southward through Columbia City, locals can expect to see the distance from the big city seeming to shrink, including a steady stream of gussied up new bars, restaurants, and other businesses taking over the retail core along Rainier Avenue. The stolid Union Bar ("Where labor rests") fits in comfortably here, with a nod to the area's blue collar history, and with a style often described as "no frills."

But there are frills. Sure it's a down-to-earth neighborhood bar that serves burgers, sausages, and sandwiches, but these dishes are a cut fancier than your old school dives. There's a grilled cheese option, but it features ingredients like "cream cheese, bacon, and marionberry jam" or "sauteed mushrooms and onions, ham, American cheese and Sriracha mayo." Or you can snack on steak sliders with horseradish aioli, or perhaps the spinach and goat cheese dip. It's all a far cry from the old joints like Mel's. The food and drink quality are substantially higher; the shabby charm and depth of character significantly less. But if every new business that moves in over the next many years blends the old and new as comfortably and inconspicuously as Union Bar, Hillman City will be lucky indeed.

5609 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98118 - (206) 258-4377
Est. Oct 23, 2013 - Building constructed: 1915
Previous bars in this location: Orcas Landing
Web site: facebook
Reviews: yelp - thestranger - tripadvisor -

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#2369 - Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA - 12/8/2013

Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA
North Bend, about 35 miles east of Seattle and known outside of these parts most as the setting for Twin Peaks and the damn fine cup of coffee at the Double R Diner (Twede's Cafe), has been feeding humans for thousands of years. In the years before Europeans came pouring in during the middle 19th century, the Snoqualmie tribes came to the meadow here from their villages downstream on what we now call the Snoqualmie river to pick berries and wild onions, occasionally setting the prairie on fire to push back the encroaching forest.

Mt. Si Pub, North Bend, WA
The first permanent white settlers in the area started when farmer Jeremiah Borst moved from New York into an abandoned US fort to farm the area and maintain the wagon road bringing settlers over the Cascades to Seattle. In the early 1860s his niece followed with her husband Joseph Fares, the first white settlers in the actual North Bend area, as did Josiah Merritt, who everyone called "Uncle Si" and soon gave his name to "Uncle Si's Mountain," or just "Mount Si." In 1889 the first railroad came through, and then the Milwaukee line in 1909, followed by a growing lumber industry. A half a century later, after a lively debate, the city council reversed its position on having the new Interstate 90 cut through the middle of town and instead had it skirt south, though of course North Bend subsequently expanded around it.

Mt. Si Pub, North Bend, WA
If all this seem entirely distant and inconsequential to the Skechers Outlet, the Chang Thai Cuisine, the Chaplin's Chevrolet and the modern homes and strip malls that now comprise the bedroom community of North Bend, such is not the case for the Mount Si Pub, on the eastern outskirts of town. Just visible from the highway, the tavern's log and pitch interior feels like your grandpa's log cabin, much further from the developed areas than it really is, with old cowboys warming their backsides before a roaring fire. The Facebook page for the bar places its start date at 1923, in the middle of prohibition, and the bar itself features old photographs of what appears to be the current building before various modifications, with labels of "1935" and "1938." The building is flat-roofed and smaller in the first photo, and has a no-longer present porch in the second, but a few apparent consistencies in the structure and landmarks confirm the underlying continuity with the current structure, and one assumes it was likely a (legal) bar sometime shortly after the Beer and Wine Revenue Act in April of 1933.

Mt. Si Tavern, North Bend, WA (photo in bar)
Nowadays, the bar hosts a nice mixture of locals and skiers, hikers, hunters and other sportsmen headed to the snowy Cascades, or the old Snoqualmie fishing and hunting grounds roughly tracing centuries old foot trails. There is free soup during Seahawks games, and good natured banter with the server Ange and the various patrons. The fire and cozy, graffiti-covered wood interior make one pine for snow, though the extensive beer garden allows for a fine game of horse shoe throwing on warmer days, sometimes with live music on the patio. The grub and booze are pretty much what you'd expect from a joint in the mountains that warms the bellies of snowmobilers and hikers, and it's well worth the trip from Seattle just to grab a pint and a bite in a casual, rustic setting.

45530 SE North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045 - (425) 831-6155
Est. 1935? - Building constructed: 1923?
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: facebook
Reviews: seattleweekly - yelp

Saturday, April 18, 2015

#2368 #S1192 - Shiku Sushi, Seattle - 12/7/2013

bacon wrapped scallops skewers and Yakitori chicken skewers
Shiku Sushi, Ballard, Seattle
You would not want to trust me on sushi, but I am told that both the traditional and new styles at Shiku are pretty good, and I did enjoy a couple items off the Izakaya menu, which also includes a mix of traditional and creative choices. And while most of the fruity cocktail menu does not cater to my tastes, I quite liked my "Shogun," which is basically a Boulevardier with Yuzu.

The vibe is fairly romantic, even on a sunny afternoon. Regretably, I missed the bathroom, with its 'toilet with the control panel, heated seat, and "adjustable cleansing wand."' (thestranger)

5310 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 588-2151                   
Est. Sep 28, 2008 - Building constructed: 1904
Previous bars in this location: Divino
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: seattleweekly - myballard - thestranger - yelp

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#2367 - Next Door Gastropub, Port Angeles - 12/2/2013

The Next Door is the first bar/restaurant from a brother and sister with limited experience in the business, named after their Dad's furniture store up the road where he met their mother, and offering mostly standard items of the contemporary neighborhood bar menu like wings, burgers, tacos, salads and sandwiches. All of this, set on a main drag of Port Angeles, would have led me to expect a nice place with a really mediocre menu in a boring setting -- but the Next Door delivers much more than that. Of course Of course I'm irresistibly biased toward any joint that prominently features a silhouette Bigfoot on a bicycle, but even if that were not the case, I would be quite happy with their inventive and tasty takes on pub food staples and the fun and friendly vibe of the place. It's a swell little stop.

113 W 1st St, Port Angeles, WA 98362 - (360) 504-2613               
Est. Sep 14, 2011
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: peninsuladailynews - urbanspoontripadvisor - yelp

Sunday, April 12, 2015

#2366 - Bard & Banker, Victoria, BC - 12/2/2013

Large, gilded, and ornate, the Scottish gastropub "Bard and Banker" inhabits an ornamented, 1885 bank building, and takes it to new levels of grandiosity. It is owned by Matt McNeil's Victory Pub Company, which owns additional lavish pubs Penny Farthing and the Irish Times. They feature 30 taps, a 16-bottle Enomatic wine storage system, and boast the best selection of Whiskeys in Victoria. If you are in the mood for chandeliers, polished brass, etched glass, framed pictures of the old country, and cover bands singing 70s pop songs, this is the place in Victoria for you.

1022 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W - (250) 953-9993                
Est. June 2008 - Building constructed: 1885
Previous bars in this location: None known
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: eatdrinkvictoria - nomsscornichon - twohungryblokes - victoriainperson - urbanspoon - yelp - tripadvisor

#2365 - The Guild Freehouse, Victoria, BC - 12/1/2013

The Guild is a newish, tony, British style pub with a formal sort of setting, and somewhat upscale takes on familiar comfort foods from the UK and Canada. You can choose Welsh Rabbit, Scotch Eggs, Bacon Poutine, or Beef and Mushroom Pie. Or a glass of bacon.

While wondering why every meal doesn't just start with a glass of crispy bacon strips, we were there for only a (liquid) cocktail, and were pleased to find that they make a reasonably good one. They also have 12 pretty good local beer choices on tap along with about 40 bottle choices.

1250 Wharf Street, Victoria, BC V8W 3H9 - (250) 385-3474
Est. 2013
Previous bars in this location: Chandlers
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: victorianfoodurbanspoon - yelp

Sunday, April 05, 2015

#2363 - Big Bad John's, Victoria, BC - 12/1/2013

What does one say about Big Bad John's? One thing that we probably should not say too much about -- for anyone who might be still to visit for the first time -- is that every table has a potential surprise. But you won't be thinking about that when you enter -- you'll be staring at the amassed notes, bills, IDs, bras, and collected gallimaufry of hillbilly bric-a-brac that covers virtually every inch of the place (including the floors if you count peanut shells).

BBJ's has been like this since 1962, when the owner figured a joint that looked like it was run by Li'l Abner's trashier cousins would seduce visitors up from the Seattle World's Fair. The manufactured dive is actually the lounge of the Strathcona Hotel, and started its life as the swanky Strathcona Lounge, the first post-prohibition cocktail lounge in British Columbia.

Big Bad John's, Victoria, BC
What it is now, well, you really just have to experience. And if you haven't yet done that, uh, just take a look at the pictures. Some folks criticize the place as not "authentic," which seems to make about as much sense as using that argument against Disneyland. Others say it is not a real "dive," which just make me curious about their definition of the term. They've been selling cheap booze in a shabby setting for over 50 years. Whatever it is, if you like dive bars or just joints with a lot of character, it is the can't-miss bar stop in Victoria.

Big Bad John's, Victoria, BC

Favorite yelp review opening line: "I have a hard time being objective when discussing BBJ because every time I go there, they kick me out!"

Big Bad John's, Victoria, BC
Big Bad John's, Victoria, BC
Big Bad John's, Victoria, BC
919 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2C2 - (250) 383-7137
Est. 1954 - Building constructed: 1912
Previous bars in this location: The Strathcona Room
Web site: - facebook
Articles ranked: timescolonist - timescolonist - horsingaroundvictoria - 20somethingcollegelife - dinehere - stylusmagazine - yelp - tripadvisor - your-restaurant-sucks - mygola

#2362 - Irish Times Pub, Victoria, BC - 12/1/2013

Irish Times, Victoria, BC
Since I told you about the murder of the owner of  the Garrick's Head Saloon across the street, I might as well pass along the story of architect of the grand old Bank of Montreal Building, which now houses Victoria's Irish Times Pub. From the City of Victoria's Self-Guided Walking Map:
'One of British Columbia’s most famous architects, Francis Mawson Rattenbury, designed the Bank of Montreal building (now the Irish Times Pub) and Victoria’s Parliament Buildings. Rattenbury divorced his first wife Florence in the 1920s after commencing a scandalous affair with a much younger woman. Shunned by their friends, the new couple married and moved to England where she soon fell in love with their 19-year-old chauffeur. One night not long after, her new lover took a carpenter’s mallet and clubbed Rattenbury to death! Though charges against her were dropped, she committed suicide a few days later by stabbing herself and falling in a river."'
Undissuaded by the bloody history of our neighbors to the north, Matt MacNeil (Bard and Banker, Penny Farthing) has installed here an opulent palace of gleaming brass, etched glass and dark wood which was recently named one of the top 12 Irish bars outside of Ireland by the paper that inspired its name.

I have never been to Ireland, but when I imagine the sort of Irish pub I would most enjoy, it is a cozy, timeworn, little place far removed from the grandiosity of this kind of place, with its two country clubby floors hosting 190 seats (80 more on the patios in summer). Nevertheless, they have some very nice beer choices, sufficient food options, and it appears to become a fun place when thanks to the crowds and live music seven days a week. The Irish Times article cites the "craic" of the place, i.e. the air of mischievous merriment. I'd still prefer a small neighborhood joint myself, but any bar with craic makes the world a better place.

1200 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1Y3 - (250) 383-7775
Est. 2004 - Building constructed: 1896
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: timescolonist - - douglasmagazine - yelp - urbanspoon - beeradvocate 

#2361 - Garrick's Head Pub, Victoria, BC - 12/1/2013

Garrick's Head Pub is said to have been established in 1867 and to be among the 12 oldest bars in Canada and the second oldest in British Columbia. Given the typical inaccuracies in such articles for the one area I know fairly well (Seattle), and considering the complexities often overlooked  -- Was it under the same name? Was it always in this building? How long were the interruptions to business as a bar? Etc. -- and having seen no primary sources and no strong historical sourcing, I accept these claims with caution. However it does appear that a Garrick's Head Saloon was established here December 31, 1867, remained that until at least 1914, and operated under various other names until fairly recently. (Interruptions as a licensed bar would have minimally included prohibition in British Columbia from 1917 through 1921.)

In November 2012 the small pub hidden in the back of the building expanded into the large, bright space between itself and busy Government Street. Another bar downstairs has closed -- this was Churchill's, which we were informed was a biker bar known for drugs and underage drinking. These days Garrick's is a locus of the craft beer community, with 55 choices on tap and a standard bar food menu of burgers, salads, nachos, etc.  The staff are casual and friendly.

In back the old wood burning fireplace still burns below a mounted elk head, and like every respectable building of its age, it has been found to harbor ghosts. One of these is said to be the spirit of Mike Powers, onetime owner of the joint, "a big, hard-drinking, loud-talking Irish immigrant who spent a fair bit of time in Victoria brothels." (timescolonist) At 3am on the morning of October 1, 1899 Powers was clubbed and beaten, and he died 4 days later. Unlike the many criminals hung here in Bastion Square after a final meal across the street from court house in Garrick's Head Saloon, the attackers of Mike Powers were never identified. But they were described as a man and a woman dressed as a man, the latter said by some to be an ex-wife of Powers' and by others another man's wife whose fidelity Powers had publicly disparaged.

In any case, we saw no ghosts on our visit, and with the expansion of the cozy little room into a bright, high-windowed, tourist-beckoning hub of beer sophistication, it's hard not to believe that the spirit of old Mike Powers has not finally moved on.

1140 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1Y2 - (250) 384-6835
Est. 1867
Web site:
Articles: timescolonistmojdehsami - flickr - dinehere -