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Seattle’s Noble Fir Opens Tonight in Ballard

The Noble Fir: Ballard's New Spot For a Tall Pint

I wanted to take a moment and let everyone know that a new bar is opening tonight in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The bar is located right on Ballard Ave., in the heart of Ballard’s beverage district.

The Noble Fir is a bar focused on the beauty of our Northwest wilderness, and the even more enticing booze crafted here. The owners are an ex-lawyer and her husband, an ex-REI guy.

From there site:

We’ve brought together two things we love – the great outdoors and delicious beverages.  Our vision began with a desire to create a neighborhood tavern where we could share our wilderness experiences and learn from yours.  We feature craft beers, unique wines and hard ciders from the puget sound and beyond.  We hope that your experience at The Noble Fir will leave you invigorated, whether it is renewed inspiration for that hike you’ve been wanting to tackle, or a new favorite beer.

The initial tap list went up today and I am very impressed. They have managed to get a lot of the Oregon newcomers that evade many of Seattle’s other great bars. Oregon taps include Double Mountain, Terminal Gravity, Laurelwood and of course, Deschutes & Rogue.

The Noble Fir will also showcase some local Washington favorites, such as Elysian, Fremont Brewing, Fish and Diamond Knot.

The best news: They are serving 20 oz pints!!! I love it when bars buckle up and drop the imperial pint glass in your lap. That’s just good business.

The menu is very Belgique. It is essentially what you are accustomed to seeing in a visit to taverns in Belgium, Holland or France, focused on light meat and cheese fare. They will also serve a few NW sandwiches and a bevy of intriguing sweets. I am very impressed with the offerings on their Spring menu.

The Noble Fir can be found at 5316 Ballard Ave. NW Seattle, WA 98119. The bar is situated nicely between some other Ballard favorites. You can get more info on how to get there by visiting their webpage.

Needless to say, we will be there soon to check out the new digs! Let us know if you visit and your opinion of the decor and service.

52 Weeks, 52 Places: 8 of 52 – The Copper Gate, Seattle, WA

The Copper Gate entryway in Seattle's Ballard Neighborhood

8 of 52

Copper Gate

6301 24th Avenue Northwest

Seattle, WA 98107

Rank: #4 of 8

Type of Establishment:  Scandinavian Cocktail Lounge/Restaurant

BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —> Copper Gate has no (0) beers on tap; however, they do have 13 bottles available, 11 beers, 1 non-alcoholic beer, and 1 cider.

Clausthaler – Germany, non-alcoholic

Amstel Light – Holland

Carlsberg – Denmark

Heineken – Holland

Maritime Pacific Islander Pale Ale – Ballard

Full Sail Amber – Oregon

Grimbergen Abbey Blonde Ale – Belgium

Orkney Skullsplitter Ale – Scotland

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde – Canada

Sinebrychoff Porter – Finland

D. Carnegie Porter – Sweden

Cidre Bouce Fermier E Dupont Cider – France

Kostriker Schwarzbier – Germany (Seasonal Selection)

FOOD OPTIONS:  A large number of “small” plates with Scandinavian names that I can’t pronounce.

STAFF OPINION:  Very serious and business like, but knowledge of the offerings that approaches encyclopedic.

A mere 2 to 3 neighborhoods north of the Beer Blotter Headquarters, within the confines of Seattle’s Nordic center, Ballard, lies an establishment that its members had never before set foot in.  This day, that was changed.

Reasons to go to Copper Gate:

- The bar is a freaking Viking Ship!

- There are boobs everywhere!

- It’s practically a museum!  I imagine one could visit on many occasions and still         find new nooks and crannies each time full of trinkets of wonder and delight.

- It smells nice and clean

- The copper bar top is pretty and feels nice

- They have a private room through a magical door that appears to be an entrance to an elf’s quarters (open on Tuesdays to the public with Jazz music!).  Red light peaks out through the cracks like some strange séance is being performed behind the door, or the Wizard of Oz is hard at work just a room away.

- Strange cocktails, namely, Aquavit!

Reasons not to go to Copper Gate:

-       To drink beer

24th Ave in Ballard has a few hidden gems of dive-i-tude.  Both The Viking and Wingmasters are within stumbling distance from each other.  If fancy cocktails are a sign of class, then the Copper Gate is a small, respectable blip on the radar on this seedy strip.  Expensive cocktails and foreign named dishes may just be where the classiness ends though, for flagrant nudity, Viking grittiness and fantastical, cinematic kitsch rounds out the Copper Gate experience, and in my humble opinion, that’s awesome!

This place has serious personality.  It’s Ballard to the core.  I want to just…be there all the time.  I want to get to know all of those intriguing artifacts personally.  If I have to settle with a Maritime Pale Ale in a bottle while I do it, life could be much worse.

Hell, if I’m feeling a bit fancy and loose with my wallet, I might even sip on some not-so-commonly mixed cocktails.  There are 6 aquavit-based drinks on the menu.  Aquavit means “water of life” and is a Scandinavian schnapps like liquor distilled from mainly grain or potatoes and spiced with caraway seeds (the spice of rye bread).  We didn’t try it on this visit, but we are determined to venture back and give it a whack, along with some food items that looked really appetizing.

Our conversations with the bartender told of the determined stance of Copper Gate to not reproduce the “shitty dive” feel of the address’s previous occupant.  This being one key reason to the “no beer taps” stance.  That, the fact that they are a self proclaimed “cocktail bar”, and the fact that they couldn’t get the Scandinavian specialty beer that they would like to serve in kegs.  Click Wholesale Distributing helps them out with the more rare bottled offerings, which, according to my research, are mainly Calsberg products.

One of which, the Sinebrychoff Porter, was sampled this evening.  It was a bit steep in price, $8 for a 12oz bottle, but I don’t believe I have ever seen it before, and at the time, a Finish dark beer seemed ever so appropriate.  The Sinebrychoff website (Calsberg Group) is actually quite informative when it comes to this beer’s stats.  They call it an imperial stout, at 7.2% abv, brewed with pilsner, Munich, brown and caramel malts and Saazer hops.  It was enjoyable.  Dark, roasty, toasty, chocolaty goodness, though clearly a non-craft, European imperial stout if you like to call it as such.

Though I did not question the bartender for fear of being perceived as hatefully pretentious, I cant help but wonder how such a place could go without nary a Mikkeller (Denmark), Nogne-O (Norway), Nørrebro Bryghus (Denmark), nor Bryggeriet Ølfabrikken (Denmark) offering on the menu, all of which are highly respected Scandinavian craft breweries and available in bottles here in Seattle.

Maybe Beer Blotter should open their own Scandinavian Beer Bar in Ballard…nah, you can’t compete with Viking ship bar and boobies.

Part of the very cool decor inside is this crazy carpentry

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