Like most people angling to open a bar, Craig Walker and Dave Svrcek toured some empty spaces. But the location that really spoke to them, the one with the highly visible perch at 2236 NW Market Street, across from Ballard Ave, was already taken by the Ballard Ave Pub.
So Walker and Svrcek became regulars. They got to know Pepe, the bartender, and chatted him up about the owners. Finally the pair asked if the owners might ever consider selling.
The answer, apparently, was yes, because the friends-turned-business-partners are preparing to open Ballard Station Public House early next week. Walker says the straightforward menu of scratch cocktails, 12 taps, wine, and simple bar snacks like paninis, cheese plates, or fancified popcorn bowls, will be locally focused. He means Washington, sure, but also Ballard, since the neighborhood is home to plenty of distillers, breweries, bakeries, and one powerhouse farmers market.
Walker does mortgages by day, but says he has wanted to own a bar ever since he was old enough to go inside one. Svrcek also owns Targy’s Tavern on Queen Anne. Ballard Station Public House won’t be luring people with elaborate menus, obscure liquors on tap, or crazy bar games (though there will be two dartboards, and not the plastic kind, either). Walker is hoping his nearly lifetime as a Seattle resident and his decades of community involvement will bring people in the door…and that those people will bring friends and associates. He already has a Seattle Sounders guest bartending night set up for Tuesday, August 14, to benefit America Scores Seattle.
Gone is the pool table from the Ballard Ave Pub days, and the drywall has been removed to expose the old brick and beams that at this point are practically mandatory when opening an establishment in Ballard. Lisa Martin, the former owner of Twist in Belltown, will be mixing drinks, as well as Roger Rookstool, who has worked at the Queen City Grill and Frontier Room.
Walker and Svrcek debated names that honored the neighborhood’s maritime and logging history, but ended up honoring the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway line that once connected the towns of Ballard and Seattle. Legend has it passengers would disembark and visit a saloon or two before heading home.