Strange Pub Crawl Request
OK Gang, now is the time to come to my aid! I will be in Seattle 6/3-6/8 to visit my grandmother who is in an assisted living facility in Ballard. One of the crazy schemes we have come up with is a day out pub crawl. She is 95 years old, no kidding, and in a wheelchair. We will be taking public transit on this adventure. Last visit we took the ferry to Bremerton and back. This time we will are going to try and stay on the #5 bus from downtown out to Phinney Ave around the zoo to keep things simple, and I need 4-5 or heck 10 if you have them, suggestions as to where to get off, roll in, have a cold one and then go back to the bus stop and repeat the process. I am a big micro-fan, and she is a "whatever" fan. We don't have to start at the market, Pioneer Square is another option, and we don't have to stop necessarily at the Zoo, a trip on to downtown Ballard is good if recommended. Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks in advance, and if anyone wants to join us, we might be up for that as well. I am looking forward to wearing my grandmother and my Orca card out!
Let's see. As the #5 does not run through Ballard, the likely way to the #5 route, on Phinney/Greenwood is the #44, especially since pushing a chair up Market street is a non-starter.
It's hard to see where you will be, in Ballard, which is bigger than it might look on a map, and more hilly:
But first, while you've still got the energy to make the 1/2 mile jaunt, take the #18 up 24th, to deepest Ballard, to find Ray's Cafe, at 6049 Seaview Avenue NW, for a great view of Puget Sound, and iconic Seattle seafood.
Then drop back down to The Viking, 6404 24th NW. This crusty old neighborhood joint has the old-school vinyl booth thing going on and what must be one of the very few long-table shuffleboards in the state. This is the real deal - no cushions, just a gutter. I played this board 30 years ago, so it's a safe bet it is idiosyncratically un-level by now (for even more delight in the skill). I do not remember having eaten there (it's a bar, in the oldiest-timey sense...), but I'm lately told they do feature the only smoked baked potato I've heard tell of.
A block down, at 6301 24th NW, the Copper Gate is said to be one of Seattle's oldest bars, with a deeply wack update - The bow of a boat dominates the space and boobs are everywhere. Oil paintings of boobs, watercolors of boobs, velvet paintings of boobs, archeological artifacts of boobs, sculptures of boobs, antique photos of boobs (and all so tastefully presented, don'tcha know). Though the "Bromkalsuppe" ("spiced cauliflower soup") was disappointingly non-spicy (even for me, a Norwegian), others have recommended the "Kjottkaker" (Swedish meatballs), and the "Pannekaker" (Norwegian pancakes with lingonberry and whipped cream).
Back down 24th to Market Street, and the meat-market realm of historic Ballard Avenue,
The People's Pub, 5429 Ballard Ave NW, offers tasty German (or at least Germanish) food, and, of course, beer. Spatzle was good, but the fried pickle disappointed.
Along Ballard Avenue, also, are The Sunset Tavern (often good music; little else), Bad Albert's, 5433 Ballard Ave, which offers the "Dock Street Burger," that some adore, and Cajun Crawfish. I had my first draft pint of Hop Trip there.
Bastille, 5307 Ballard Ave NW (very French) may not qualify for a crawl, but the staff would get a kick out of your project, and might enjoy presenting some roasted beets, Moules Frites, or a sweet crepe for the honored one.
Next in line, The Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave, is the alt music palace of the town. Slide guitar, bagpipes, Irish Step-dancers, LA singer-songwriters, Local Folkies, accordion ensembles, you name it. the weeks around Folk-Life (Memorial Day, what luck) often produce some excellent acts.
Down the road a few blocks, hard-by the Northern ramp of the Ballard bridge, at 1447 NW Ballard Way, is MIke's Chili parlor, with a classic view over the canal. In my life, Joe Canavan served the truly great chili of this town. We'd have all been even better-off if he'd been able to present his amazing fare in the most truly great chili-parlor building of all time. Though Joe is gone, Mike's Chili Parlor continues to occupy that Deco-Fabulous building, and, on a good, day, the chili beats Hormel to pulp.
Next, the Jolly Roger Taproom, at Maritime Pacific Brewery, 1111 N.W. Ballard Way, (what luck you are tripping in Seattle early summer weather - if it rains, it isn't anything, really, and it'll be over in a few minutes, so have another beer). Good pub-grub is here. An order of onion rings in Panko serves 3 for dinner and, tasty as It was, I almost hesitate to mention the deep fried bacon. The real draw, of course, is the ales. The Imperial Pale Ale is a highlight, but a sampler is probably in order (bring a designated pusher).
A few blocks further, at 4301 Leary, is Hale's Ales, the taproom for Hale's Brewery. I'm partial to Red Menace. I like to order this one by its original name, "Moss Bay Extra," even thought the bartender is usually too young to remember it was renamed to honor the statue of Lenin a few blocks away, in downtown Fremont.
If Diving toward Fremont isn't it, the #44 along Market Street offers the High Life, 5425 Russell Avenue NW, with decent happy-hour mac & cheese.
If dive is the word. The Old Peculiar features CHEAP (nuff said).
If you take the #44 up Market to Phinney and hop a #5 past the Zoo, there's Sully's Snowgoose at 61st. In the dismal smoking-in-bars days, this tiny box was a horror, but lately it's searching for a certain charm and sometimes comes close enough. I liked a smoked porter, and, I think, a little pizza. These things change.
For an upscale twist, at 6822 Greenwood, try Oliver's Twist, a nifty little cocktail bar with tasty noshes and quality beverages. though it'll cost ya'.
Market Street Cafe
609 Market St, Kirkland, WA 98033
If you take the #5 past the Zoo, you open up several more options for places to stop at:
- Sully's Snowgoose at 61st - kinda cramped inside, but if it's a nice day out, you can sit out on the patio
- Oliver's Twist for cocktails
- Prost for some german grub (at 73rd)
- 74th St Alehouse - a solid fall-back option
- Naked City Alehouse at 86th - if you like microbrews, you should check this place out. It's one of our favorites! 20 or so rotating handles.
- Pillager's Pub (across from Naked City)
7311 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
Great idea! If I had a chance, I would bring Betty White and join you. Two of the best prospects are both nearby in Fremont. El Camino offers great margaritas and excellent food. Next would be Brouwer's Cafe for an outstanding selection of beers and well crafted food. (They make their own sausage in-house; very tasty.) If you love great beer, order one from Oregon's "Hair of the Dog" Brewery. (You can check out their beer selection on their website.) Have a great time!