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52 Weeks: The Traveler, Seattle, WA

November 5, 2010 1 comment

The sign beckons the traveler in all of us.

Written by Jess R.

Week 40 of 52

The Traveler (ak.a. The Leary Traveler)

4354 Leary Way NW

Seattle, WA 98107

(206) 783-4805

Rank: 4/5

Type of Establishment: Chill beer bar, brunch spot

Visit: After writing the Beers in the Hood: Ballard, I was accosted by my dear, close friends about The Traveler. How could I have left this gem off my list? Simple- I had never been there. This weekend, I changed that with back to back visits.

Sorry Photo: Yikes. Sorry for the poor quality. A night time shot via iPhone is not so hot. My apologies to the good people at the Traveler, because this place is a beaut and deserves a better shot.

 

Beers on Tap (at time of visit):

 

PBR

Ommegang Hennepin

Trumer Pils

Guiness

Manny’s Pale Ale

Maredsous 8, Belgium

—The top 6 are a constant on tap here. The bottom 4 beers are constantly changing–

Allagsh Black Belgian Stout

Glacier  Brewhouse IPA (AK)

Full Sail Lupulin, Fresh Hop

Sierra Nevada Tumbler

Bottle List:

A glorious refrigerator with at least 35 bottle varieties from Russian River to Port Brewing. The Traveler also carries a seasonal selection, which makes things interesting and switches it up. It appears that the owner puts a lot of thought into selecting his bottles and rotating taps–this is all we ever ask of any and every bar owner.

 

Food Options:

 

The first visit occurred on a Friday evening. We had already indulged in a home-cooked meal, so we only perused the menu but man, does it look delicious.

The menu is served from lunch time through dinner and includes mini-burgers with crispy prosciutto and chipotle aoli and The Irish Interloper made up of house made Painted Hills corned beef (seriously made it the back of the house), sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Gruyère on rye bread with a side salad. Belgium mussels and frites showcase The Travelers’ European inspired fare.

The next morning, around 10:30AM we rallied the troops and headed back to try the food. Saturdays and Sundays until 3PM, brunch is served.

French Toast, an open-faced egg, cheese and prosciutto sandwich as well as all of the lunch options made our food choice an agonizing one. Bloody Marys and a Mimosa (served in a pint glass) started us off as we each ordered: corned beef (remember, made on site) hash with two over easy eggs and the steak and eggs were the highlights. The Bloody Mary bar is a never before seen treat – don’t miss it.

The corned beef hash was steamy, rich, chewy and the perfect start to a day and a hang over cure. The steak and eggs doesn’t sound all that exciting, but the cut of the steak was top-notch and it was cooked to perfection, making the eggs just an added bonus. The food is great, no dispute.

 

Bar Opinions:

 

A small space and barely noticeable from the busy street in Fre-lard (the small area between neighborhoods Ballard and Fremont), I present to you The Traveler. As you walk up to this bar, you can peer through the floor to ceiling windows and see the candle lit tables with the patrons laughing and drinking.

A quaint place with exposed brick, hard wood floors, an open kitchen and a chalkboard full of glory, The Traveler can accommodate a cold winter night or a steamy summer day out on their back patio.

Glacier, Allagash, Ommegang - oh my!

Tonight, in honor of Halloween, The Traveler was holding a pumpkin carving contest. As people were busy fashioning faces and scenes into these over-sized gourds, we found a standing table by the exposed wooden columns.

A quick glance at the beer board and I was instantly intrigued. I ordered the Allagash Black Belgian Stout which had a roasted flavor complemented with a silky, chocolaty mouth-feel and had a bitter coffee nose. My companion ordered the Glacier IPA (which I had at brunch the next day) which was a pleasant surprise from a small brewery in Alaska.

With a tap list guaranteed to have a several good choices (Ommegang Hennepin is always on the list which makes this bar Ommegang’s largest Washington state account), killer food and a cozy atmosphere, I would hit up the Traveler any day. You simply can’t go wrong.

Those of you passing through from Ballard to Fremont or vice-versa should consider the same! If you have been there and have something to say – post a comment below.

 

Beers in the Hood: Ballard, Seattle

October 26, 2010 4 comments

An ariel view of Ballard's ship yard.

Over the past three years, I have done my share of research on beer spots in Seattle. Every neighborhood has a beer bar, a bar with a decent tap list or a bottle shop to offer those that search the land for all that is fermented yeast. One of the things I love most about Seattle is the variety of neighborhoods (reminiscent of Manhattan) where you step out of one and into the next…almost immediately it becomes obvious that you’re in a whole new world.

Tonight: Ballard.

I’ll start with a nice wiki excerpt:

Historically Ballard is the traditional center of Seattle’s ethnically Scandinavian seafaring community, who were drawn to the area because of the salmon fishing opportunities. In recent years the decline of the fishing industry, and the addition of numerous condo buildings, has decreased the proportion of Scandinavian residents but the neighborhood is still proud of its heritage.

Ballard is situated by so many unique landmarks: the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (a facility that move boats from the water level of the lakes to the water level of Puget Sound, and vice versa and is the location of a salmon ladder); the Ballard Farmer’s Market; the Ballard Bridge and historic Ballard. This neighborhood was Redhook Brewing Co.’s first home, has colorful public art works as well as restaurants with the freshest ingredients. With all of this going on, spending a day in Ballard will keep you entertained. Stopping at these places will satisfy your beer needs.

Old Peculiar

An Irish pub, Old Peculiar has a large wooden bar with a mirrored bar back lined with whiskeys.  Cozy nooks and an outdoor patio make this a versitle space while killer tater tots and at least 10 microbrews on tap nurture a bar patron’s desires. A place where the young and the old co-exist, I’ve seen Ninaski, Dogfish head and local brews such as Hales on tap.

During happy hour, food items such as Irish nachos, tater tots, chicken strips and chips are $4 with microbrews clocking in at just $3. When does this amazing deal occur? So glad you asked– during the hours of 4-6 pm and 10 pm-midnight ANY DAY of the week.

Its been awhile since I have visited Old Peculiar. Located on the main drag, Market St. NW, you step in and immediately your past journeys melt away. The space is a good size- not so big that you have trouble navigating and not so small that you are sitting on a stranger’s lap (unless that is your thing, then don’t let us stop you). There are plenty of regulars and some wildly entertaining people watching.

The Jolly Roger Taproom

This taproom is home to Maritime Pacific Brewery and is a new space. Before this newer, much bigger space, the Jolly Roger Taproom was located right across the Ballard Bridge in a small warehouse. The old warehouse was used for brewing with the taproom there for us to enjoy the fruits of Maritime’s labor. That’s what beer drinking is all about, right? It was a quirky space that felt as though you were on a shipwreck which fits with the whole Ballard, fisherman, Maritime, pirate theme.


Maritime's taproom is shiny and new.

Then one day, we were riding past the space and it was empty with a FOR LEASE sign. Oh no! Soon after, we found out that they were just moving to a larger space, but we would have to wait, as the space was being remodeled.

I honestly can’t remember how many months past before the new space opened, but when it did, we were the 4th and 5th people in line to experience Maritime’s new dwellings. The new space still alludes to the fisherman, pirate, sea captain theme except the boat is way nicer with bright, finished wood, plenty of natural light and amazing food and beers. I’ll start with some food recommendations: the fried pickles are delicious, as is the dipping sauce they come with, the onion rings are massive and tasty and the mahi sliders are killer– add some of the homemade hot sauce that is on the table.

BEERS: Maritime is more or less the staple local microbrew. Even bars that don’t focus any energy on beer will have a Maritime beer on tap and is usually my saving grace. Their dark amber ale, Nightwatch is a personal favorite- it is bitter, smooth and hoppy with that roasted flavor. Maritime has a good line up of beers that will appeal to any beer drinker, so check it out.

Old Town Alehouse

If your looking for something a little more sophisticated, a little more upscale, but still want some damn good beer then stop by the Old Town Alehouse. Their food and beer prices are not outrageous by any means, but the motif lends itself to the low key evening. Every time we walk by here, we pop in to see what they have on tap and generally there is at least one intriguing option.

Their beer selection says they are trying to keep a diverse tap list, but aren’t willing to do the research to get the rarer, more innovative beers on tap.

Great looking menu, a wide selection of beers - a place I need to visit.

For example, currently they have three Belgium beers on tap: Hoegarden Wit, Chimay White Label and Lindemans Framboise. All good beers but commonplace compared to several other Belgium breweries. In looking at their current tap list, it appears that the Old Town Alehouse tries to keep one of every style pouring. Port Townsend Brewing Co.’s Straight Stout, Georgetown Brewing Co.’s Georgetown Porter and Boundary Bay IPA is enough to make me stop in and wet the whistle.

I am very intrigued by their menu and its making me hungry. Your average appetizers such as fries, onion rings and hummus are followed by many affordable and delicious sounding options: gumbo, the spicy fried chicken sandwich (smothered in hot wing sauce- SOLD), the Ballard Beef Dip Sandwich (lets see if it rivals Chicago) and fish and chips. All sandwiches are $10.75 and most of the appetizers are under $9. So those of you that have experienced this joint, please leave a comment and let the world know!

So that’s Ballard’s beer scene in a nutshell. If you have a place that you love in this neighborhood (I can’t cover them all), leave a comment or email me at jess@beerblotter.com.

Next up: Belltown.

52 Places: The Pub at Third Place, Seattle, WA

The entrance.

Week 25 of 52

The Pub at Third Place

6504 20th Ave NE

Seattle, WA 98115

Rank: 4.5/5

Type of Establishment: Pub

Visit: A lazy, summertime, Sunday evening called for a cold beer at a new bar.  We found the perfect one for ultimate relaxation.

 

BEERS ON TAP —>

North Coast Old Rasputin
Hale’s Cream Ale
Guiness
Mac & Jack’s Amber
Rogue Dead Guy
Three Skulls Blood Orange Wit
Odin Ruby
Maritime Pacific Hefe
Stella Artois
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale
Diamond Knot IPA
Boundary Bay IPA
Hacker Pschorr Munich
Diamond Knot Possession Porter
Chuckanut Pilsner
Ninkasi Tricerahops

The choices.

 

BOTTLED/CANNED BEER:

None

 

FOOD OPTIONS:

It’s all explained, in detail, below.  Read on.

 

BAR OPINION:

Just over five and a half miles north of the Beer Blotter home base, in the beautiful neighborhood of Ravenna, lies a wood-clad fantasy land that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.

So here’s the deal – the building is owned by a guy.  The guy owns Third Place Books.  The bar beneath Third Place Books is called The Pub at Third Place.  The Pub at Third Place is owned by a different guy.  The restaurant attached to Third Place Books is called Vios Cafe.  Vios Cafe is owned by the same guy as The Pub at Third Place.  Vios is a Greek restaurant.  You can order food from Vios while at Vios.  You can order food from Vios while at The Pub at Third Place.  There is a small “library” in The Pub at Third Place that has books.  Third Place Books has books.  Third Place Books has really nice wood shelves.  Vios has really nice wood furniture.  The Pub at Third Place has really nice wood EVERYTHING!  Do you follow?

This place is amazing!  This place is beautiful and majestic!  This place defines comfort!  This place epitomizes the Northwest!  This place may have once existed in The Shire!

Can you tell I liked it?  With this inaugural visit, I immediately placed it in my top 10 bars in Seattle.  I can’t believe I didn’t visit this place ages ago!

The moment I approached the door (the freaking door!) I knew I loved it.  Look at the picture above and tell me that’s not inviting.  It looks like it should be the entrance to a grand tree house mansion of some kind.  Once I opened the door and stepped in…it was all over.  My mouth dropped and all of my senses tingled.  I felt like a visitor in a Hobbit Hole.  So much elegant wood, from floor to ceiling, back to front, top to bottom.

I headed straight for the bar and pulled up a very comfortable, leather-clad stool with a back.  I was immediately greeted by the bartender and I ordered myself a Boundary Bay IPA.  Honestly, I was surprised that the beer wasn’t delivered in a wooden mug.  I soon came to realize that the bartender was the only one working the entire establishment, which wasn’t dead by any means.  He was on top of his game, yet incredibly relaxed…tis the way of The P@TP.

Just behind me, a large bookshelf full of classics, reference books, atlases, board games; all sorts of goodies to keep the lonely drinkers occupied.  Obviously, this element plays allusion to the bookstore just above.  On the top of the bookshelf sits the one and only item in the bar that doesn’t belong: a big screen T.V. showing a baseball game.  Luckily the sound was off, and since my back was facing it, I was able to keep its intrusion in the very back of my mind.  In place of the play-by-play – the soothing tunes of Blonde Redhead – pretty much perfect for the mood of the place.

Yeah, it's real.

Most of the gorgeous wooden tables that fill the “dining” area between the bar and the front door are designed for anywhere between 2 to 6 people, with the exception of 2 epic banquet tables.  One in the very front as you enter (slightly fenced off from the rest of the room) and one in the back, behind the bar toward the bathrooms (also a bit removed from the main area).  These tables are long and thin and seem to be a single piece of wood cut from one massive, gnarled tree.  The one in the front seems to seat 8 and the one in the back, 12.  My goal is to one day visit P@TP with a large group and eat at one of these tables.  Quite possibly I’d nibble on some Lembas bread.

Speaking of food, I didn’t partake in the Mediterranean delights offered via Vios, but the menu looked good enough to lure me back in the near future.  Babaganoush anyone?

Ultimately, words can’t describe the serenity of this place.  To be wrapped up in wood like that, well, it’s something you have to experience for yourself.  Head to Ravenna, buy a book upstairs, take it down to the bar, grab a local cold one and sip while you read in a wood cabin forged from the mighty forests of the Pacific Northwest.

 

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