Ballard Craft Beer Crawl

With the growing number of craft breweries that have opened up in Ballard recently, Thrillist has created a Ballard Craft Beer Crawl that you and your friends can follow. Where else in the Seattle are you able to try 8 different breweries all of which are within walking distance from each other?

Here is the order of breweries that Thrillist suggests you follow.

  1. Hale’s Ales
  2. Jolly Roger Tap Room
  3. Hilliard’s Beer
  4. Reuben’s Brews
  5. Urban Family Public House
  6. NW Peaks Brewery
  7. Populuxe Brewing
  8. Peddler Brewing Company



If you are looking to try out freshly made local beer, give the Ballard Craft Beer Crawl a try and let us know which place is your favorite. For more information about this as well as a short description of each brewery please visit the Thrillist website.

New Ballard Restaurant: The Gerald

Ballardites, add a new restaurant to your radar. The space at 5210 Ballard Avenue will now be known as The Gerald, a restaurant/bar tapping into our desire for American comfort food. In an effort to fill the void created when Denny’s was torn down, The Gerald will be offering classic American diner options, such as Mac ‘n cheese. For the full menu options, please check out its website.

Perusing the menu, you know that I’ll be checking this place out in the next few weeks for three reasons:

  1. Poutine –  The heart attack-inducing food, poutine, is fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Slowly but surely, the Canadian classic has been sneaking down south in to the States. So, I cannot wait to taste The Gerald’s poutine creation.
  2. Swedish Meatballs– Despite living in the Nordic capital of Seattle, it is surprisingly difficult to find a place that serves Swedish meatballs. The only place I know that serves Swedish meatballs in Ballard is The Copper Gate. Besides that, the only option to satisfy my craving was to hop in a car and get lost in a Swedish maze of modern home furnishings that is IKEA. Now that The Gerald is open, you can bet I will order the Swedish meatballs. Thank you, The Gerald, for honoring Ballard’s Nordic roots.
  3. Cocktails – The Gerald offers an intriguing cocktail menu, inspired by the 50s and 60s. Highlights include the numerous gin cocktail options (the Ruby Gin Fizz, the Gimlet, and the James Bond-inspired Vesper), various ginger options, and more. I cannot wait to sip on a Silent Third while enjoying a sunny afternoon. Wouldn’t you like to try a “sexy coupling of lemon & vanilla,” otherwise known as the Sidecar? Oo, I’m thirsty!

The Gerald looks like a restaurant-bar hybrid. In the sea of restaurants and bars in Ballard,  it will be interesting to see how this one succeeds, as there are a few other restaurants that offer the comfort food options. It opens tonight, but an official grand opening will happen in the next few weeks. If you stop by, tell me what you think!

Don’t forget to check out The Gerald’s Facebook!

Top Ten Restaurants and Bars in Ballard of 2011

As a Ballardite who lacks an inner Julia Child, I find myself eating out a lot. Fortunately, Ballard is home to a large variety of restaurants, so I’m never bored. One Ballard couple took it upon themselves to eat and review every single restaurant and bar in Ballard. This is quite a feat, as our neighborhood has a lot to offer. One year later, they had made their top 10 list. Here is the list with links to each restaurant:

10. Tie between Flying Squirrel Pizza and Bastille
9. Copper Gate
8. The Boar’s Nest
7.Pasta Bella
6. Thai Thani
5. The Sexton
4. Ocho
3. La Carte de Oaxaca
2. The Walrus and the Carpenter
1. Plaka Estiatorio

So, Ballardites, what do you think? Do you agree with this list? What did the Seattle couple leave out? What adjustments would you make?

I’ve reviewed La Carta de Oaxaca and agree that it is absolutely delicious. Looking at this list, I’m honestly embarrassed that I haven’t been to many of these delicious places! Where have I been eating? It looks like I have a mission!

Amber Den to Open in Ballard in February

Amber Den is opening in Ballard in February. Located at 1556 N.W. 56th St., the Amber Den will focus on serving fine wine, craft beer, and Mediterranean small plates in a comfortable atmosphere. Owner Nick Simonton is hoping to allow people to appreciate fine foods while in a relaxed atmosphere. For more info, please visit its website, Facebook, or Twitter.

In my opinion, this is a fantastic idea for a Ballard restaurant. In a city where we wear gortex to the nicest Seattle restaurants, Amber Den epitomizes the personality of Seattleites. I’m excited to see this place open up in my neighborhood and can’t wait to try it out. It’s also in a nice, developing area of Ballard that currently has a lot of open spaces. Neighboring spaces will be important to Amber Den’s success, as a way to draw people away from Ballard Avenue and toward this location. To see the open spaces, view them here.

Courtesy of Ewing & Clark


Ballard’s Going Down Under: Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub Moving to Ballard

Great news, Ballardites! Ballard is getting a little dose of Southern Hemisphere action, as the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub has plans to move to Ballard in April. According to the Ballard News Tribune, the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub will occupy the ground floor of the Old Carnegie Library, filling the 3,000 sq. ft space with a restaurant, wine cellar, and even a backyard patio.

This is an excellent fit for Ballard. I’ve been to the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub in Green Lake and enjoyed the tone. It has the “down undah'” vibe without being kitschy. If you’re looking for a place that plays Phil Collins non-stop and has fighting kangaroos, this isn’t the place. Instead, it honors the culture with Australian and New Zealand cuisine, like lamb sandwiches and vegemite! It also offers import beer options beyond Foster’s, and plays rugby, cricket, and football matches on the TV.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, Ballard is turning into a 21+ version of the EPCOT World Showcase. I can’t wait to check this place out in April!

The Scots are in Ballard! New Scottish Pub on Ballard Ave

Although Ballard is known as lil’ Scandinavia, it has a diverse group of restaurants and bars. Saturday night in Ballard is like going to a 21+ version of the EPCOT World Showcase. Along with having a German pub, an English pub, and many Irish pubs, Ballard is now home to a Scottish pub – MacLeod’s Scottish Pub, located at 5200 Ballard Avenue. It opened for business yesterday.

MacLeod’s is in the hands of the Bastille owners, James Weimann and Deming Maclise, as well as an Edinburgh native, Allen MacLeod, to make it authentic. As expected, the Scottish pub serves primarily scotch – 50 different varieties for now. Pair your single malt scotch with a food offering, like its soup, savory pies, smoked salmon, and various meat and cheeses.

MacLeod’s Scottish Pub takes the place of Ballard’s Harlow Saloon. It is located in the Junction building, a gorgeous brick building on the corner of 20th and Ballard, near Second Ascent, the Tractor, and Conor Byrne. I think it’ll be a great fit for the Ballard crowd.

New Businesses Opening Up in Ballard

Keep your eyes out for new restaurants and businesses to frequent. There’s a few that opened this week or will soon that I cannot wait to check out. Here’s a list of what you can expect to see in Ballard. Let’s support these local businesses:

The Highliner Pub & Grill

The Highliner Pub & Grill has reopened! While it’s not exactly located in Ballard, it is only a hop away, located at Fisherman’s Terminal. Stop by if you want some of the freshest seafood or tasty burgers and sandwiches. It also has 15 craft beers on tap, which I cannot wait to try, along with 20+ bottled beers. While it closes a bit early on the weekends, it sounds like a great place to catch a Sounders game. Here’s the basic information:

  • Address: 3909 18th Ave West
  • Phone: 206-261-1254
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 10am-11pm, Fri – Sun 10am-12am
  • Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 4pm-6pm
  • Website
  • Facebook

Po Dog

Po Dogs are much more appetizing than this

The local, late-night, hot dog spot, Po Dog, is expanding and coming to Ballard. While the location and hours have not been announced yet, it has been confirmed by the PoDog founder, Laura Olson. Thank you, Laura, for expanding your business to Ballard. I’m already dreaming about eating a South of the Border Dog on Ballard Ave.


Read more to find out about Full Tilt Ice Cream and the Ballard Auction House

Old Ballard Firehouse Turns 100!

Ballard is an old Seattle neighborhood. To prove it, the old Ballard Firehouse is turning 100 years old this Saturday. While it’s no longer a firehouse, it is a restaurant and a popular one at that. The Hi-Life will be celebrating the building’s centennial birthday in proper style!

To honor the old Ballard Firehouse’s rich history, The Hi-Life will have a Pancake Feed Saturday morning until noon, according to MyBallard. It will also make its signature Firehouse Bloody Mary’s. For lunch, The Hi-Life will be offering a firefighter’s traditional favorite meal: chili. In proper firemen style, there will be a Chili Cook-off later in the day till 5pm. You can purchase it that evening. To make you feel extra great about celebrating the old Ballard Firehouse’s birthday, all proceeds throughout the day will go to Seattle’s Bravest Charity.

Although it’s no longer a firehouse, I’m happy to see The Hi-Life recognize the Old Ballard Firehouse’s history. Personally, I always love eating at The Hi-Life because of its historic charm. There’s even more opportunities for businesses to take advantage of a firehouse’s historic charm. Two Seattle firehouses are on the market. Additionally, I always love buildings that are in historical, charming buildings, such as converted churches and more. For example, The Old Spaghetti Factory in Seattle leases out office space. Here’s more info. I can only imagine how creative a business space would be in the old Ainsworth and Dunn fish and grain warehouse buildings.

Harlow’s Saloon on Seattle’s Old Ballard Avenue

Ballard Avenue has a new bar to a cold beer, drink, or even a TV dinner.  It is in the triangular Junction Building on the corner of Ballard Avenue and 20th Ave NW – basically across from the Tractor.  The building is old brick building like most building on the street, and the bar is kind of a Ballard-hip dive bar with tallboy beers with such beer as Schmidt, Olympia, and Milwaukee’s Best.  The bar is not the biggest space, but it is a fun place to hang with friends.

I went on the opening weekend (about a month ago) and had a good time.  I have heard from a friend that they have added some board games since then and there was talk of adding a table top video game which would be cool: hopefully it will be Ms. Pac-Man.  Also, I heard they may have guest bartenders on Tuesday night.  Maybe just a rumor, but if they do it, I try to get first in line and invite all my friends.

If you are on Ballard Avenue and need a beer, check out Harlow’s, another cool Ballard bar.

Ballard Art Walk – Saturday (Dec 11th) 6-9PM: An Excuse to See New Bar

Ballard Art Walk is this Saturday from 6 – 9 PM.  We will be there this weekend taking pictures so look for those next week.  Click here to see the Ballard Art Walk Map.

Ballard Ave

Ballard Ave - Junction Bldg

Also, there is a new bar opening up on Old Ballard Avenue, I believe tonight (Thursday).  It is in The Junction Building (the triangle building) across from the Tractor at the corner of Ballard Ave and 20th: 5200 Ballard Avenue.  This is located near several of the Art Walk stops: Senor Moose, Earthues, Conor Byrne, and Cugini Cafe.  I am going to use the Art Walk as an excuse to stop by and check out the new Ballard Ave establishment!