Great news for all of us Belltowners (Seattle, WA) who have been seriously depressed by the shutdown of bars in the neighborhood – and even those shutdown elsewhere.
Seattlest is reporting that three local bar vets have formed together to revive the long lost Belltown Pub that once existed on 1st Avenue. Utilizing the same old space (2322 1st Ave), which was once taken over by BluWater Bistro, the threesome expect to be ready to open next month.
There is not a lot out there about this place, yet. But, I can tell you that I walk by it each day and they are hard at work to get the place ready to open. Today, I noticed that all exterior painting seems to be completed.
The Seattlest article mentions the three new owners and their dream:
The three newcomers are Dave Tolan, who’s tended bar at Gordon Biersch and Paragon, and two gents from The Rock in Tacoma, Erwin Arceo and Zack Nethercutt.
They think there’s room for an informal pub that’s neither fine-dining nor nightclub, where you can watch sports on the big screen, drink craft beer and order sophisticated (but not too sophisticated, rainbow trout sort of thing) pub grub.
Needless to say, this is relieving to most of us in Belltown, who have been watching places shut down or move out. There are not too many options for patrons to grab a good craft beer here, close to downtown. Bars, Frontier Room, Two Bells, Buckleys, and Cyclops offer options – but not an extensive or rotating list.
We are excited to see the new place open next month. I would believe we will be there for the grand opening!
Wow we need to catch up. With the trip to Belgium, we started slacking a bit on this end. But alas, the 52 Weeks articles return.
By my count we have missed the past three weeks. But, we certainly visited countless new places over that time. For weeks 9 and 10, we will have some Belgium venues to review in the coming week. Stay tuned.
For week 11, which was last week, I visited the Columbia City Alehouse in, believe it or not, Columbia City, Seattle, WA……..
11 of 52
4914 Rainier Ave S.
Part of the Seattle Alehouses trio that includes 74th St. Alehouse in Phinney Ridge and Hilltop Alehouse in Queen Anne
Rank: #9 of 11 (only because i know the two Belgium spots are better)
Type of Establishment: English Alehouse/Pub
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>Columbia City Alehouse has about 20 taps to choose from:
Diamond Knot IPA
Odin Brewery Freya Kolsch
Pike Tandem Dubbel
Snoqualmie Steam Train Porter
Maritime Pacific Old Seattle Lager
Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale
Ninkasi Oatis (Oatmeal Stout)
Boundary Bay IPA
Various other lagers, pilsners, and ambers…..
BOTTLE OPTIONS: Columbia City has a few bottles, including some of the usual business.
But, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had bottles of New Belgium Ranger IPA and Port Brewing Panzer Imperial Pilsner. Both are very good ales.
FOOD OPTIONS: A large number of pub items. Actually, the menu is incredibly appetizing for those of us with bar food brains.
You can check the menu online by visiting this link. However, I must say that I saw someone’s Cod Tacos and the Gumbo and almost wet myself. They both look great.
Having our New Orleans connection, we always get excited to see Gumbo on the menu. Aside from nice places (Kingfish Cafe & Steelhead Diner – two of the best places in Seattle) and a few bars (Frontier Room), you just do not see it on the menu.
STAFF & BAR OPINION: Extremely casual and low concern. Bartender was essentially just “hanging out” and reading a newspaper. Not much, if any, of a beer atmosphere to the crew here.
However, the bartender was incredibly attentive and kind. Being a Sunday afternoon – you never need to expect to much liveliness and activity out of any bar folk. This is a day for decompression and hair of the dog.
I was thrust into Columbia City because the wife had a day of volunteering at the NW African-American Museum, where she assists with administration. So, we grabbed a bus and meandered through the neighborhoods of Seattle’s south region.
People don’t come down here much. This is not the travel and visit hub of Seattle. Its an incredibly ethnic neighborhood that some classify as dangerous. Dangerous how? Looks great to me. In fact, Columbia City is essentially the best place to see culture in the City of Seattle. This is the one place where I can grab a bowl of gumbo at about 5 different places – at 5 different prices. I can also grab some of the best BBQ (Jones BBQ), best Ethiopian (Tagla Cafe), and some damn good Caribbean cuisine (Island Soul).
The fact is Columbia City has grown into a hot piping bowl of eclecticism. Many of the city’s youth have moved in for affordable housing and cheap entertainment. Plus – maybe they just wanted to get away from the “Seattle freeze” because it really does not exist down there.
In any event, I was left to stumble around the town looking for a beer to cure my Sunday blues. I was left with nary a choice – Columbia City Alehouse.
Really, the owners did a good job of sniffing this place out. There isn’t another decent beer within spitting distance (unless you count Verve Wine Bar where I once enjoyed a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA). This is my beer stop. done.
Upon entry, nothing fancy. Its simply a pub with light decor and moderate lighting. The tap lineup is immediately in your face and a sense of delight crossing my slowly operating brain as I see Ninkasi Oatis, Diamond Head IPA and Boundary Bay IPA. Today, I will settle for a Diamond Head – been awhile since I have tasted that fruity pulp they call an IPA. (thats a good review by the way)
I saddle up at the bar, right in front of a TV playing the Michigan State v. Tennessee game (go Big Ten). I order my sugary goodness and it arrives in a wide-mouthed English-styled 20 0z glass – HALLELUJAH! This is the way of Seattle Alehouses. All three pubs serve their pints in imperial pint glasses – 20 oz for $5.00. I’ll take it. This way my malty wonder can warm up and I can taste it open up all the way to the last drop.
As I sit there, I notice the climate. A couple of locals popping in to catch the game and quick bite. Nothing spectacular, but again notice the Sunday 2-3 PM time period.
The food smells amazing. But, I am hung over and thus most things smell amazing today (except vomit, feces, or urine). I bypass the food today, because I have big plans with the wife for later on.
In any event, I hunker down, sip my beer and take in the newest Stranger to check the music scene. Its been so long since I could commit an hour to sitting at a bar and reading through an entertainment piece. In recent months, my busy meter is off the deep end. Trying to start a business is taking a toll, but I relish in my saturated in hops peace and quiet. I take it all in.
As I wrap up, Michigan State wins and half the bar top is pissed – the other half ecstatic. This is purely due to the bracket system, not actual fandom. I appreciate that, though I like to see a fan every once in a while.
In all, the bar does what its supposed to do: serve beer, where we cannot find beer. On top of that it does it with good food and a peaceful demeanor. Nothing to complain about.
That being said, the bar just does not stand out. Though the offerings are good, they aren’t noteworthy. The menu is not epic, the bottle list pedestrian and the decor non-existent. These items do not kill a bar, they just hurt its chances for high marks.
The conclusion: If you are in Columbia City, go here for a beer. There really is nothing else in its category and it will treat you well on a cold, rainy day.