52 Weeks: Buckaroo Tavern (The Buck), Seattle, Washington
Week 26 of 52
4201 Fremont Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103-7221
(but not for long; look for their new address on N 36th Street starting in late September!)
Type of Establishment: Straight up – bar. no fancy stuff.
Visit: Wednesday evening from 9:00 PM-12:00 AM.
BEERS ON TAP
Wow. I was quite surprised to see the bevy of beers. As I will explain below, it used to not be this way. They have really stepped it up.
Diamond Knot IPA
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout
Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale
Deschutes Black Butte Porter
Elysian Immortal IPA
New Belgium Fat Tire Ale
….and plenty of others. We would estimate that there are a total of 25 taps.
Beers are either 3.50 or 4.25 – yep even the good ones.
Again, I was surprised to see the bottle options. Nothing rare or shocking, but a lot of good options. Specifically, Chimay Red & White, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Duvel, & Unibroue Trois Pistoles.
If you are going – stick to the tap list, though. Its damn good.
HA! You wish I would just say: “none.” But alas, I cannot. The Buck has a monstrous jar of hot pepper pickled eggs behind the bar. This is a necessity for any bar, in my mind. If you don’t have a jar of something pickled back there – you might as well be a bistro. Try these guys out.
They also have some snack items, including free popcorn!
Out of nowhere last night, my buddy decided we should walk down to the Buck. Now, I have to give full disclosure: I have been here before. Unfortunately, I do not really remember my visit and it had been quite some time. Based upon my new perspective, it really fit the mold for discussion here on 52 Weeks.
The Buck is a legendary institution. If a friend says: “lets go to the Buck,” you should freaking go. It has a similar aged luster to it that can make you feel at home, comfortable in your inebriation.
The Buck first staked its ground over 72 years ago! This truly makes it one of the oldest bars in all of Seattle, and certainly the most aged in Fremont (we believe).
The remains of nights gone awry are visible on the Buck’s walls, booths and wooden bar back. They have not changed it; they have not improved it. It remains the same wondrous place it was many years ago.
The Buck is a place where locals remain and ponder their days. This is the quintessential “regulars” bar. If you were to take a time-lapsing photo of the movement at the front door, you’re quite certain to catch the same case going in and out each day. This is how the bar has thrived for over 7 centuries.
So, when I woke up today and saw that even Voracious had caught wind of the sad news that I am about to report – I knew it was time for a write up here on Beer Blotter. Wait for it: The Buck is closing. Relax: it will return.
The Buck has lost its lease, after two rich kids decided to use family money to purchase the building and turn it into – an Eastern European Restaurant!?!? The concept alone boggles my mind. Have these owners actually been inside of the Buck? No building could personify the term “bar” better than the spot on Fremond Ave N. But alas – they made up their mind and the Buck is being booted in mid-September.
One of the worst parts of the article that was run today on Voracious is that it omits the uplifting news: The Buck is returning.
What’s best is that its returning in full force, complete with all of the booths, wooden wall coverings, and bar back. In fact, it appears that much of what makes the Buck so wonderful will actually be transported to the new venue. The new location is rumored to be on N 36th Street, somewhere between Stone Way and Fremont Ave N. Can’t wait to check the new digs.
But for now, the Buck is rolling on, serving cocktails, great beer and amazing service. We had an excellent time at the Buck last night. Our bartender went above and beyond to serve us; he even poured us a few on the house.
One of the troubling parts of the Buck is that its cash only (don’t forget that!). What makes it a bit more of an issue is the fact that the ATM was broken and there is not another one for a few blocks. But do not despair – our wonderful bartender let us relax, order beers, have a pickled egg, and enjoy our surroundings – all while not getting paid. I love a bartender who trusts his clients. A good bartender can spot the guys who will pay and the guys who will be a problem. We weren’t the latter, and he gave us a great honor.
So the progress went like this – Union Jack, Diamond Knot IPA, Old Rasputin (at this point we think we are leaving). Then some great conversation with the bartender about the Buck’s future, and another Union Jack (at this point, I’ve told my wife on heading home). Additional great conversation ensues – and its met with a Union Jack on the house (thanks guys).
The atmosphere was great, filled with oodles of kickballers, fresh from another game. The bartender could not have been better and the price was impeccable. We love it.
Take some time in the next 6 weeks and get over to the Buck before it moves. You will need to get a glimpse of the greatness before its replaced with a heartbreaker.
The Buck will be having a big going away party lasting 3 days. The party will likely center around the September 17th “move out” date. So keep your eyes peeled and chat up the bartender. Hope to see you there.