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Gastropubs in Seattle

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We'll be visiting later this month and are looking for some great bars/taverns to enjoy local brews with some of the most excellent local fare Seattle has to offer... the kind of place where you can belly up to the bar in jeans and a flanel and get poached egg and lardons on organic greens.

Also up for great restaurants that have excellent happy hour deals-- We'll be staying at Hotel Max and Red Fin seems to have a great happy hour every day of the week with special on their small plates. Anyone been there?

Will have a car and are willing to travel.

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  1. The Latona Pub might be up your alley...


    On the whole, though, I 'm not sure that bars and pubs are where you should look to find "the excellent local fare that Seattle has to offer." There are a ton of places that serve better than average pub food, but not quite the level of what you're looking for (is there any US city that has very many gastropubs like you are describing?). That you will find in restaurants.

    2 Replies
    1. re: christy319

      I had dinner at Latona pub this past weekend & was unimpressed. The menu seemed to shoot higher than the kitchen could reach. I had a pasta dish which sounded great but lacked flavor all together, the cheese plate probably sounded great on paper but the condiments didn't partner with the cheese on the plate, the grilled bread was a nice touch though. My friends entrees were just just OK, we all confessed that the descriptions far exceeded reality. I've not found a true "gastropub"in Seattle ... I'd recommend a visitor eat in the bar of a better restaurant but also since xtian seems to wants to just dress casually for dinner ... well, then Seattle is pretty wide open!

      1. re: oliveoyl

        Thanks for the review. I haven't eaten there since the new chef took over and the paper's review sounded almost too good to be true.

    2. around the corner from HOtel Max is Barolo which has a good happy hour w/ veal carpaccio, buffalo burger, heirloom tomato salad (burrata if you're lucky) etc (get there early though if you want seats). a couple blocks from your hotel is Taphouse Grill (get the kalbi (grilled beef short rib, 3 thin steaks for $11). Union also has a small-plates happy hour menu. You might also check out Licorous or Vessel if you like foofy snacks with your cocktails. Umi Sake house has a good happy hour if you're in the mood for Asian.

      4 Replies
      1. re: barleywino

        Barolo isn't really a place that you can "belly up to the bar" though.... Very tasty food, but not somewhere you go in jeans and a flanel like they were looking for...

        1. re: nseattlefoodie

          i've been there at happy hour and seen guys in baseball caps and jeans looking like they just got off a construction site eating at the bar...along with the usual fashionistas and posers too, of course...it seems to be a mix of people who are there for the cheap food/drink and people who are there for the scene

          1. re: barleywino

            ok, myabe I'll have to try again. I've been twice now, and both times it was so packed with people trying to look cool that we couldn't stop laughing. But, I have always said their food was amazing if you could stomach the people afraid to eat cause they would ruin their outfits...

            1. re: nseattlefoodie

              lol...i think if you can get there early, it's less crowded and the clientele are more casual types

      2. 74th Street Alehouse is kind of like that - you can get a pint of great local beer with an organic salad with goat cheese and truffle oil, or a blackened salmon sandwich. I think they make a fantastic reuben and my husband likes their gumbo, and the beer list is good. I like the Tangletown Elysian pub pretty well, too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Freida

          74th St. Alehouse is in my neighborhood, so I go quite a bit. IMO, their food has gone downhill somewhat over the past couple of years - an inverse relationship with their prices. The last time we went, my SO ordered the fish tacos. They were tacos, all right, but filled with shrimp. No mention of this when she ordered. Ummm....I think it is kind of a stretch to consider shrimp "fish." We rarely go there for food anymore - just beer.

        2. Rumor has it that Scott Staples of Zoe is opening (has opened? I haven't been keeping track) a gastropub in the Capitol Hill area called Quinn's. Sounds like it might be what you are looking for. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/food/33...

          1 Reply
          1. re: ssusu

            Vessel is not what you seek. Dont' get me wrong, I like it, it has great small plates, but it is sleek and modern, not gastro-pub.

            Hill Top Ale house is same owner as 74th, so if Queen Anne suits your itinerary better. Maybe Brouwers, a belgian ale house would be of interest? Or Tangletown ale house?

            Any of the Chow restuarants would be good. Not necessarily a bar, but good food in a casual setting. http://www.chowfoods.com/

          2. Red Fin is fantastic! I went for their set menu offering during Seattle's 30/30 new restaurant showcase in May. Their late-night happy hour looks delish, I've been meaning to get back there. Love it.

            As far as gastropubs -- check out Elysian brewery in Capitol Hill. http://www.elysianbrewing.com/Elysian...
            Offers lots of local brews and great food. Also try Smith Pub & Grub; I haven't been there yet but have read great reviews.

            For restaurants, hit up the Tom Douglas spots. http://tomdouglas.com/

            1. The Palace Kitchen.
              The Elysian Fields (much better food than the other elysian brewpubs IME).

              1. I agree that places like 74th St, Elysian, Brouwers, and some other mentioned have better than average bar food, but do you guys really think they fit the OP's description-"the most excellent local fare Seattle has to offer"?

                I wouldn't advise a visitor to seek out ANY of those places, unless watching sports and drinking microbrews is more important that the food (and it very well may be, in this case).

                1 Reply
                1. re: christy319

                  Well, he did say "some of..."

                  If he wants the best of the best food wise, he's going to have to compromise somewhat on the beer selection. The bar at Union immediately comes to mind - fabulous food, limited beer selection (3 taps, IIRC. Granted, they're usually good local micros.)

                  I also think the Palace Kitchen stands out, food-wise.

                2. Smith is a "gastro pub" that just opened on 15th. It's totally unpretentious and the food is original and exectued perfectly. Pig feet, head cheese and handmade linguine are some of the dishes my fiance and I have had. Flannel is mose definitly welcome and you'll fit right in with the mountain tavern decor.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: boopll

                    Hmmm ..I ate at Smith last night, it wasn't busy (only 4-5 tables taken) we ordered dinner & appetizers ... the menu is rough, the concept of olde english pub was extended to the menu, there are no descriptions, which leaves that onerous task to the waitstaff (young cool not foodies) we ordered deviled eggs (unimpressive), trotters ,braised pigs foot on a bed of lentils (OK but needed something, it was an almost) I ordered the burger and the green salad,. a friend had the fried duck leg I am not sure how they managed but my burger was completely flavorless, it tasted parboiled, I ordered on the rare side of MR it was dull grey through ... overall I'd give them another try BUT it again seems a case of the menu exceeding the abilities of the kitchen, though that doesn't explain the burger at all.

                    1. re: boopll

                      Pig feet and head cheese are unpretentious?

                      I love the space, the vibe, and the frites, but the rest of the food feels overpriced and nothing special. A green salad (for around $7) is nothing more than field greens lightly dressed in olive oil. Not a hint of vinegar or any other veggies. Linguine Arrabiata (for something like $12) is a clump of thin, handmade pasta with a bit of tomato sauce, no spice, no chunks of tomatoes, no garnish, no flavor.

                      I really hope they edit the menu to something a little more realistic, on prices and choices. Whenever I'm there, I feel like I see nothing but burgers coming out of the kitchen. I think they need to make some tough choices about who their customer base actually is vs. who they think it is.

                      1. re: boopll

                        We finally at there for the first time last week and would definitely go back. I loved the atmosphere and the beer list was pretty decent. My wife had the pot pie and I had flank steak, both very pretty darn tasty. Also had the first appetizer on the menu, forget what it is called but it was dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in panchetta and fried. It was awesome! Cheers.

                        1. re: landguy

                          Devils on Horseback. People seem to love it or downright hate it.

                          1. re: dandelion

                            I was there last week and curiousity got the best of me and I had to try the duck tongues. I am glad I did, they are really tasty

                            1. re: dandelion

                              That's it. Haha, I could understand this reaction. They are definitely "unique"

                        2. Brouwers, in Freemont, is heaven for beer geeks. It is a hang out for local brewers and craft beer aficionados. I have only had the cheese plate and the fries but I am always impressed by the food selection and quality. Definitely a notch above standard pup fare.

                          1. I am suprised that no one mentioned the Black Bottle in Belltown. Great food and wine

                            1. Black Bottle is the only place I know in Seattle which advertises itself as a Gastropub. Almost every place in Seattle is casual, though. For good local food, not a pretentious atmosphere, I would consider Sitka & Spruce, Tilth, maybe Betty, Palace Kitchen. None of these are pubs, For a pub, I really like the Hill Top and 74th Street, good food--try any of the specials.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: cocktailhour

                                Black Bottle is a gastropub? Having been there numerous times I never would've applied that label.

                                On a geographically unrelated note, I had a delicious dinner at a gastropub in London last week named Britania in Kensington. The pork and leek sausages on top of a creamy, rich mash was amazing. The pork belly I had days later was also delicious... Those are the kinds of things I think of as gastropub...not flatbread pizza and cocktails

                                1. re: eternalX

                                  I don't disagree with you. When Black Bottle first opened, that's what is called itself. I don't know if it still does. I haven't been there in a long while.

                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                      The more I think about it, the more I 'guess' it is true. I associate the place with drinks and appetizers though, not mains.

                              2. if you need a break from hoppy NW ales, you can always stop at Feierabend (a couple blocks north of REI) for some German bier and food (schnitzel, weisswurst etc and occasional specials like schweinhaxen or sauerbraten) Order a Bee Sting from the bartender while you're there.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: barleywino

                                  I've heard that a new gastropub should be opening shortly. Don't know if it will be complete by the EOM, but it's called "Queens Tap" and will be located on Capitol hill. The chef that is opening the restaurant is currently at Restaurant Zoe.

                                  1. re: jmarchun

                                    To clarify, it's "Quinn's". Chef/Owner Scott Staples has two children, Zoe and Quinn, they couldn't let the big sister have a restaurant and leave out the little brother.

                                    Corner of 10th & Pike, where La Puerta used to be.

                                  2. re: barleywino

                                    I really like Fierabend. It's a cool space, has great beer and decent/good German food (though nothing amazing). I just wish it wasn't located in SLU...

                                    1. re: barleywino

                                      Just went to Feierabend last evening. A nice place for a beer, but the food wasn't anything to write home about. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. About all I can say is that it went great with the beer! I'm still looking for a great German place in town.

                                      1. re: FoodDoog

                                        Way to heavy and greasy. I know what you are saying. Great beer though.

                                        1. re: landguy

                                          I have to agree, the beer is great, but the food is just not there...

                                        2. re: FoodDoog

                                          Guess I have to sound a note of skepticism about just how good German food gets in general. To me, Feierabend is pretty near tops in a genre that doesn't aim real high, and I get better German food there than I ever got in Germany.

                                          Their Jaegerschnitzel in a mushroom gravy with red cabbage and spaetzle is darned tasty. So was the Rouladen special with the same sides I had a few weeks ago.

                                          Have never had anything there I thought was greasy.

                                          1. re: FoodDoog

                                            My favorite German place has always been The People's Pub in Ballard (haven't been for a few months, need to get back there) - with the exception of their specials and late night menu, they are more Schwabish German than Bavarian German in food though (rouladen, maultaschen, schnitzel, goulash, etc). When the newer Prost/Bierstube/Feierabend mini-chain opened up a few years after the Pub set up shop I tried them but never quite got the same vibe there that the Pub has.

                                        3. Surprised nobody has mentioned The Barking Dog Alehouse in Ballard. I haven't been there for a couple of years (I assume it IS still there), but they were a great "gastropub". I loved those Scotch Eggs. Man those were awesome.

                                          1. So, xtian, where did you go while in Seattle? Close the loop!

                                            1. Oliver's Twist, on Greenwood has tasty plates and good drinks. A tad spendy, but nice. Also Sambar, on Market street.
                                              Good ales and some above-average pub grub at Hale's Ales on Leary.

                                              1. I love Brouwers! I love the dark wood, and the 2nd story and the bazillion beer choices and the cheese plate!

                                                Smith is cool -- I liked, not loved the food. But at least it's interesting. I like the pub atmosphere there.