NE Seattle beer drinkers will soon have a new place to raise a pint with friends and fill a growler to take home. Kelly Dole is targeting a July opening date for Growler Guys, which will be located on Lake City Way in Wedgewood near the area where the neighborhood intersects with Roosevelt, Ravenna and Maple Leaf.
Dole has secured a bit of an iconic Seattle building for the business: a six-sided building designed by Roland Terry, one of Seattle’s most famous architects (he also designed the Canlis building). Ying’s Drive-In was the tenant at this location for an impressive 45 years until the business closed at the end of March. Even if you don’t live anywhere near NE Seattle, if you have driven down Lake City Way at one point or another you will likely recognize the building. Check out the following video for more info on the building.
Growler Guys is a local NW business that was started by a father and son combo and another business partner back in 2012 in Bend, Oregon. While the heavy focus of most Growler Guys locations is on growler fills, this Seattle location will offer much more. Dole explains, “Certainly we’ll be filling growlers, but it’s a bit of a departure from the other Grower Guys locations. We’ll have 60 taps and there will be a big on-premise aspect with sort of a beer garden atmosphere. It’s going to be a place to hang out with your friends and have a great time with an amazing selection of beer…It’s what I hope will become one of the real destination beer places in this city. Giving credit where it’s due, there are a lot of great places to drink beer in this city…Beveridge Place…Latona…A lot of people who have helped build the craft beer business in this town. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be in a position to do this.”
The building itself has around 3,450 sq ft of space, plus an additional 2,000 to 3,000 sq ft of mostly covered outdoor space. Dole says, “Most of our capacity will be outside in heated areas. It has a 360 degree covered patio. It is going to be a great location for events and festivals, and I’d really like to make use of that.” In addition to 60 taps of beer available for drinking on-premise and growler fills, there will be ~500 bottles available and a kitchen making food for enjoying there or for takeout. Dole says, “The food menu will be pizza-driven with wings and other offerings. There will also be a to-go menu that we are working out, essentially grab-and-go. 44,000 cars a day drive down this road (each day). I think it’s Seattle’s fifth busiest stretch of road. A lot of people are headed home. I want to give them a reason to stop in, watch an inning with a pint and then grab some food to bring home.”
Dole is ecstatic to have found such a great building for his business. “I’ve been looking for a long time for a great place to lease. This place is hands down amazing. It’s just an unusual building that deserves to be used and not torn down. It’s a great place for a beer bar.”
Dole says that going with Growler Guys to fulfill his dream of opening a beer bar made a lot of sense for him. “I met these guys and I just really liked them and what they are doing. I was convinced that I’d be better off joining up with them (instead of going it alone). They are savvy enough to allow for regional adjustments for each market. The beer business is moving and changing so fast these days, I think it will help (being with Growler Guys). They have a lot of experience and are getting more and more all the time. I like the idea of having them on my team. I also love their digital menu system…it’s proprietary to their business. Frankly, I think it’s several steps above any other digital menu system I’ve seen. I guess what I like is that with that many taps, it really helps you decide what to order…Part of this job that I’m looking forward to is helping to introduce new beer to people and really helping breweries build their brand. I think Growler Guys is really great at that. We move a lot of beer and have a large selection.”
Dole lives nearby to where Growler Guys will be, and he is excited to be connected to the neighborhood through his business. Growler Guys will be both kid and dog friendly. With 60 taps, there will be many different breweries and styles for customers to choose from. Dole says, “It’s sort of like having all of your favorite breweries under one roof. That’s kind of what we are aiming for.”