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Bars where Pete has had a Drink (3,240 bars; 1,489 bars in Seattle):

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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 - hillmancity.org

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