A 46-tap beer bar meets a 17-sandwich deli in a tiled room in Eastlake. This sibling of Ballard’s Bitterroot BBQ does things big and meaty (pork belly tops fried chicken thighs, meatballs cohabitate with salami) but with adept touches like exactly the right Macrina bun toasted exactly the right amount (plus solid options for vegetarians). Families hang at low tables, while the bar offers optimal views of the tap list, which celebrates smaller breweries like Flying Lion in Columbia City or Queen Anne’s Rooftop.
This diminutive Queen Anne pizzeria (with a new, larger spin-off in Fremont) makes just six wood-fired pies, executed to savory, blistered-crust perfection, plus three salads and few other dishes that include some life-changing meatballs. That same curated approach drives the draft list, a compendium of ales in the saison and farmhouse vein that’s way more approachable than one would guess. Owner Matt Storm looks for balanced iterations that harmonize with his pizza rather than elaborate concoctions that commandeer your palate.
Smoked meat has rarely met an ale it didn’t like. Proof: this new Roosevelt barbecue joint with 23 ever-rotating taps. It also can’t hurt that the brains behind the beer selection is Chuck Shin, whose two Chuck’s Hop Shops likewise house taps aplenty. Here, though, the lagers, saisons, and IPAs exist to complement the barbecue offerings, like brisket that spends hours in the smoker out front, juicy pulled pork, and sides like spicy kimchi and braised collard greens.
In the beginning there was only a food truck and its perfect collision of Korean and Hawaiian flavors. Later, to the glee of West Seattleites, came this fully stationary brick-and-mortar outpost on the edge of Alki Beach, where such amalgams as kimchi quesadillas, Spam sliders, and tacos consisting of kalbi beef and “sexy tofu” are dispatched alongside a sharp lineup of brews like Silver City Brewing’s Nice Day IPA and Jellyfish Brewing Company’s hibiscus saison, two very tropically inclined beers made for drinking on the beer garden–esque patio with a view of the downtown waterfront.
This winter, a new butcher-deli took Roosevelt by storm, in part because of a beer list that corrals unexpected marvels from the state’s best breweries—the sort of list that can only be achieved by two beer industry vets (a former Whole Foods buyer and longtime Fremont Brewing employee) calling in a lot of favors. But also because the Shambles makes expert charcuterie and memorable sandwiches stuffed with tri-tip or sausage or smoked chicken. Even the kale salad, showered with nuts and seeds, is a pleasure.
In the early-aught nascence of the term gastropub, a vintage room in the heart of Pike/Pine put rabbit pâté, wild boar sloppy joes, and handsome seasonal vegetable plates in the company of complex Trappist ales. Flash forward 11 years (and one new owner): The tap list increasingly reflects Seattle’s beer boom, but Quinn’s remains a destination for Belgian and Belgian-style beers and elegant, hearty food…especially now that Miles James of Dot’s deli runs the kitchen.
Calling Pioneer Square’s subterranean mini golf course a “restaurant” might be a stretch, but Flatstick is the neighborhood’s undisputed beer king, with 30 taps that pour exclusively Washington creations; one-offs and classic brews rotate on and off the list, but the house pilsner, brewed by Farmstrong in Mount Vernon, is a constant. So are the tacos full of tender braised meat from chef Manu Alfau; his Austin roots come through loud and clear in the creamy queso topped with chorizo. You can make a night of it without ever picking up a putter.
An overachiever all the way ’round, Seattle’s fine-dining icon treats rare bottles of Belgian strong dark and Italian farmhouse ales with the same exacting care as its storied wine collection. Sure, beer occupies a single page of the restaurant’s 80-page beverage manifesto, but head barman James MacWilliams amasses un-common sours, wild ales, and various Old World styles that complement chef Brady Williams’s food and stores them in a section of the restaurant’s cellar, designed specifically for large-format beer bottles.
Belltown’s walnut-clad beer den treats memorable brews from the Northwest and beyond with veneration free of pretense. But No Anchor doubles as a destination restaurant. A pretzel roll stuffed with dungeness crab or charred eggplant atop toast festooned with sorrel give off a lunch vibe; zabuton steak or pelmeni potato dumplings colored vivid purple with beet have the heft of a proper dinner entree, with plenty of artful snacks in between. Staff can do beer pairings, naturally, or offer a jargon-free rundown of whatever drafts are on the menu matrix today.
Or, Flip the Script…
…And hit up a great beer bar that also serves food. Fremont’s Brouwer’s Cafe is a Belgian-inspired legend both for its jaw-dropping expanse of drafts and its pomme frites (especially the stoofvlees, Belgium’s stew-smothered answer to poutine). The Pine Box pours largely local, uniformly excellent beers alongside crackly pizza in a soaring Pike/Pine space that was originally a mortuary. In Roosevelt, the Seattle sibling of San Francisco’s famed Toronado beer bar carries drafts seldom seen elsewhere in town plus the heartiest of pub food—the menu includes an entire section devoted to mac and cheese.