Every night when I climb the Harbor Steps to catch the bus home from work, the rows of gleaming bottles lining the windows of the new, revamped location of Von's 1000 Spirits catch my eye. Even in its sleek new digs, this is a place that embraces volume of spirits more than square footage, but it seems like each week brings news of a sizable new project that contradicts Seattle's supposed love for the small, intimate spaces.
Is it just me, or are our drinking establishments trending toward the supersized these days? I submit to you three bodies of evidence.
BIG: Henry’s First Avenue Tavern
Stats: 8,400 square feet; 240ish seats; roughly 100 beer taps
Open: This spring (maybe April?)
Henry’s Tavern, the popular beer bar in Portland’s brewery blocks, is about to get a Safeco-adjacent sibling at 1518 First Ave S. Both are owned by Restaurants Unlimited Inc. and the Seattle outpost has the requisite exposed brick, timbered feel to it. There aren’t a ton of details available just yet, but given the vast menu of lunch, dinner, and bar food, plus that massive beer selection, it’s a safe bet this place will be rocking on game days (and a boon to nearby office types).
BIGGER: Von Trapp’s
Stats: 10,000 square feet; 420 seats; 25 beer taps
Open: As of last month.
The humble repurposed candy factory exterior belies the huge, ornately appointed beer and bocce hall (and buzz juggernaut) that awaits within. Stop me if you've heard all this before, but the inside boasts three separate bars, five indoor bocce courts, and a list of snappy housemade sausages long enough to require a glossary. The space might feel a little overwhelming without a ton of people inside, but that hasn't exactly been a problem thus far; the team behind Bastille and Poquitos clearly knows how to whip people into a beer-guzzling, wurst-craving frenzy.
BIGGEST: Yard House
Stats: 13,000 square feet; 467 capacity; 130 beer taps
Open: As of February 10
The former Borders in the Century Square Building downtown is now the first Seattle outpost for this California-based chain of beer bars. Roughly two dozen of those 130 taps are dedicated to Seattle beers, the food menu is vast and drinks range from the titular yard glasses of beer to “Fresh and Skinny” cocktails, which have (OMG you guys!) fewer than 176 calories per drink. Another claim to fame: It’s the only one of Yard House’s 43 locations with its own totem pole, made from assorted motorcycle parts. Lots of TVs, too.