after4ever (287) Brier, Washington | March 28, 2016
- AMBIANCE 5/5
- SERVICE 8/10
- SELECTION 14/15
- FOOD 10/10
- VALUE 7/10
- OVERALL 14/20
Been meaning to try this place for, well, over two years now, and finally made it in. One of our servers told us their third anniversary is coming up this summer, and I canít believe itís already been that long. Tempus fugit.
First and foremost, you donít have to be a beer geek to like their beer program, and you donít have to be a foodie to love their kitchen. You can wander in just because you like pizza and beer, which is about as individualistic as driving on the freeway. But if you do happen to be really interested in unusual beers and ambitious cookery, these guys can for sure take care of you.
Back to the beginning: you walk in past a little sidewalk patio that seats about 4, and into a room with a short bar, a medium-sized communal highboy table, and a few 2/4-tops down the side. The walls are all done up with graffiti-esque murals, and the light fixtures are all recycled beer bottles. The tables are sturdy wood and lightweight metal frames. Itís informal with style. Thereís a big beer bottle cooler that the servers manage, and thereís a display kitchen with a big wood-fired brick pizza oven smoldering away. They leave printed menus and beer lists on the table. They have crates of vinyl behind the bar, and they cranked everything from John Coltrane Africa/Brass to the Stones to newer stuff over the course of a few hours. We even got to hear the first 12 bars of "Jumpiní Jack Flash" at 45 RPM.
The beer program here is highly specialized, but they clearly gets lots of locals who are just happy to knock back a flagon oí suds. I heard people at other tables getting names wrong and knowing nothing about what they were ordering, but the staff were super welcoming and patient with them, and they ended up loving what they were drinking. I really appreciate beer places that take the time and effort to be nice like that. We went through the beer list and caught some rare treats; those ended up being sold out. They offered some even rarer treats from off the menu, so no hard feelings by any means.
They host all kinds of special events centered around beeróbrewerís nights with tap takeovers, and mini-fests centered around a country or region or style, with all kinds of rare stuff pouring and cracking. I hate packed sweaty crowds, but if you donít mind them, you should check those out.
The food here, thoughódamn. This place could stand on its own just by the merits of the kitchen. We had the beer clams, which were probably the best clams Iíve ever had. Iím trying to be as objective as I can about this, and I just canít remember having better ones, or even equally good ones. A little bitterness (beer) in the broth, a little richness (butter) but not too much, celery, leeks, fennel, seasonings, a little kick, and dozens of fresh butter clams. Mmmmm-hm. We had the yam gnocchi, which was not as sweet as youíd think, and had nice smoky counterpoint from chopped bacon, and good seasoning otherwise. Perfect heavy chew to them without being doughy mush. The pizza was incredibleóprosciutto and fig with herb frissee and shaved cheese. The dough was nice and light airy with a good chew to it; I could go crackerier and crisper but thatís the tiniest of quibbles.
In the end, 3 rounds of beers, clams, gnocchi, and pizza were $106. Not cheap, but this was a big meal and very reasonably priced for what we got. Iíll definitely be looking for any reason I can think of to come back.
Prufrockstar (58) Seattle, Washington | September 8, 2015
- AMBIANCE 3/5
- SERVICE 9/10
- SELECTION 11/15
- FOOD 8/10
- VALUE 3/10
- OVERALL 12/20
This place has a lot of good things going for it. Tap and bottle lists are generally excellent, and itís located near the Seattle Center, which is cool if youíre there for an event. They frequently host beer dinners. Food is solid. Cons: (1) space is limited and cluttered, which almost gives it a dive feel which is fine by me, except for (2) beer prices are high, especially considering the menu price doesnít include tax.
Despite being as much restaurant as it is bar, remember itís still 21+, which bugs the hell out of me (but thatís my own deal, not theirs, and doesnít affect my numerical rating).
Definitely a place to visit as a local, or if youíre at an event at Key Arena. Probably wouldnít go out of my way if I was visiting from out of town unless they are hosting a cool event.