The owners behind palindromic beer bars The Yard and The Dray have opened a new haven of craft beer, complete with 42 taps, in the heart of Ballard's brewing district. If opening a temple of taps in a microhood already awash in IPA and saison and porter seems foolish, know this: Trailbend Taproom is a proper restaurant, complete with a wood-burning pizza oven, a lineup of sandwiches and hearty snacks served on handsome wooden boards, even (yesssss, thank you) a significant lineup of good salads.
Trailbend sits on an otherwise unremarkable industrial block at 1118 NW 50th St. It's a roomy spot with long blond wood tables and benches, a moodier 21-only bar area with games on TV, mellow music, and the ambient flicker of fire in the pizza oven. But, without fail, everyone who walks in is mesmerized by the taplist that's posted on the wall. It's not unlike a European train sign (or the last bottle board at RN74), executed with more rustic, Scrabble-esque wood tiles. A faux airport-like call sign demarks each beer's city or country of origin.
While sparely adorned taprooms have taken the city by storm of late, virtually none of them serve actual, hot, prepared food—unless it comes from a truck parked out front. This should be a nice addition to the area, especially for the folks who wander from brewery to brewery on sunny weekends, and could use a zucchini and chevre pizza or meatball sandwich to offset all that great beer.
The Puget Sound Business Journal has photos and some background on the building. Trailbend's official open happens next week, but the restaurant is already softly open with limited hours. You can check out the menu and the current taplist (plus what's next) on the website.