Pike Place Market has seen quite a few newcomers as of late. The new MarketFront opened last week, and now inside its more weathered walls arrives Tankard and Tun. This sibling restaurant to Pike Brewing's subterranean pub is perched directly above it, boasting a brighter, view-filled space. And, oh yes, as committed to good beer as ever.
The space certainly is smaller than its downstairs counterpart, but more than makes up for it with sights of the Sound as well as its own brewing operation. The titular tankards and mash tun can be seen whilst sipping Pike Brewing ales on the brew deck, a humble nook jutting out from the restaurant proper. Or, sit up in the mezzanine (when it's not reserved for a private shindig) and watch brewers check the mash as marketgoers pass by.
Chef Gabe Spiel captains the kitchen and menu, on which seafood and foraged ingredients are refined but not fussy—sea beans with house preserved lemon and pickled garlic, wild mushrooms with pork belly, a play on surf and turf consisting of braised octopus and pork belly, utterly golden fish and chips, and much more. Spiel even injects the menu with a bit of his dad humor: he's dubbed a delicately dressed salad with nuts and blue cheese simply "lettuce."
"It's not every day you get to walk into something brand new," says Spiel of his head chef role. He started in the Pike Brewing pub at age 19, and jokes that he nearly was fired on day two. Thankfully he's clearly climbed the ranks, helped open a couple other restaurants, and now lands a floor above one of his first gigs.
Come for the views, solid beer (and beer cocktails!), fresh seafood—okay, there's short rib and a steak tartare accompanied by a cheesy popover too—local oysters topped with Blue Mountain huckleberry mignonette, and stay for the subtle antique charms, like framed vintage beer ads and Pike Brewing cofounder Charles Finkel's tankard collection, some as old as 187 years old.