Hometown Beer Crawl – West Seattle

January 13th, 2010 · 12 Comments · Beer Travels, Washington Breweries

So much beer, so little time. Seattle’s neighborhood system is set up perfectly for concentrated pub crawls, and I’m trying to explore as much as I can. The first “Hometown Beer Crawl” took place a couple of months ago in Capitol Hill. This time around, we headed to what my friends refer to as “The Island”: West Seattle. While it can sometimes seem worlds away from the civilization of downtown Seattle, it is in reality a short ten to fifteen minute bus trip (#54) to the main core downtown area of West Seattle. We managed to hit seven places total, and there were a few others in West Seattle I’d love to visit at some point that weren’t as convenient, or we just didn’t have time for.

You can check out the photo set from the crawl on Flickr.

Our first stop should need no introduction on this blog. Beveridge Place Pub is one of my favorite bars in the city, and it is the only establishment in West Seattle that I visit frequently. We thought about ending the crawl here, but we decided it would be easier to start here and then finish off somewhere in the junction in order to grab a quick bus/taxi home (don’t even think about attempting this full crawl while driving…). For those not familiar, BPP is just about the perfect bar in my eyes. One half is a relaxed area with tables, couches and a bar perfect for conversation, and the other half has a few flat screen TVs to catch a game (NFL playoffs this past weekend), a couple of pool tables, darts, shuffle board, and table skittles to keep you and your friends occupied. The tap list is always nothing short of amazing, and on this day I enjoyed a glass of the new-to-Seattle Green Flash West Coast IPA alongside a glass of the Black Raven Trickster IPA, which recently took over as the new house IPA at BPP. Both are wonderful IPAs, but the hop aroma on the West Coast just blows me away. I could have just stayed here all night and gone back and forth between the two IPAs. Bottom line – if you haven’t been to BPP before, you need to get your ass there ASAP. It is one of the best bars in Seattle in my opinion.

A short bus trip down to the north end of California Ave brought us to our next stop, the Admiral Pub. The Admiral is an unassuming place to watch a game on one of their many flat screens, and I could see this place likely filling up with locals looking to forget the work week on a Friday/Saturday night. There wasn’t anything especially noteworthy as far as the beer selection, but it was far from awful. Trumer Pils or Deschutes Black Butte Porter  ended up in most of our pint glasses. I’m not sure I’ll ever really need to make a return trip, but if I lived in the neighborhood I’d definitely watch games here. The BBQ place next door got our attention, but we passed it up in order to head to our next stop.

Porterhouse taps

Porterhouse’s “Groupon” offer earlier this week is actually what inspired the timing and location of this bar crawl, and that was our next stop for lunch and beers. I had wanted to visit since it opened not too long ago, as I’ve heard nothing but great things for the most part. The setup is geared towards a full restaurant area, with a small bar area holding a few tables. The beer lineup did not disappoint, and I couldn’t pass up a couple of the IPAs they had on tap. Rogue Yellow Snow IPA has become one of the best beers Rogue makes in my eyes, and the Northern Lights IPA is a sporadically seen treat on this side of the Cascades that is well worth your beer money. Other beer highlights on the menu were Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy, Schooner Exact Hoppy the Woodsman, and 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood. The Cobb Salad I had for lunch was pretty fantastic, and I’d come back for lunch again some other day. Our server did a great job given her situation. Seems she was the only one working the restaurant/bar service, as well as pouring drinks. I found it odd they were so under-staffed for a place that serves food on a Saturday afternoon. Overall, Porterhouse is another great addition to the craft beer scene in Seattle, and I’ll definitely be back.

Our next stop was about half a mile south down California, but first one of our group members couldn’t pass up the allure of The Swinery when we passed it. After buying a few things for himself and some bacon shortbread and spicy coppa to share with the group (awesome!), we were back on our way down to Prost!. This is Prost!’s second Seattle location, and it is exactly what you’d expect from a German pub: lots of good German beers in big mugs. I enjoyed a Kostritzer Schwarzbier, and then a never-before-seen Kostritzer Edel-Pils. I didn’t take a good look at the food menu, but we had a few pretzels and someone got a bratwurst sandwich that he seemed to only vaguely enjoy. We also sampled some of their infused whiskey with spices/citrus that was fantastic, and their infused pepper vodka sounds like the perfect ingredient for a Bloody Mary sometime.

After about a mile walk further south, we arrived at the California/Alaskan junction and our next stop: The Corner Pocket. Located in the basement underneath Easy Street Records, I knew nothing about this place before stepping in the door. For some reason, I was expecting a full-blown divebar. While I wouldn’t exactly call the place “nice”, it sure wasn’t a dive either. The main room is dominated by three full-size pool tables that we embarrassed ourselves on, and there were several flat screen TVs showing the playoffs. Ninkasi IPA was the standout craft beer on tap, and that’s what most of us grabbed. This was a fine place to shoot a game of pool ($8/hour), but I doubt I’ll be running back soon.

Elliott Bay Brewing is the lone brewery in the downtown area of West Seattle and seems to be heavily supported in the neighborhood. Their beers have been hit or miss for me over the years, with some great memories lined up next to some beers I’d rather forget. This time around, I was hoping to get some of their barrel-aged barleywine they tapped about a week prior, but it was already kicked. I had a sample of their Imperial Stout, but that didn’t quite do it for me. I noticed they were pouring the Fremont Brewing Interurban IPA. It’s tough to pass up an IPA I haven’t had before, so I opted for the guest beer on tap and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a very solid IPA, and some in our group noted that they enjoyed it even a bit more than the Black Raven. After that, I shared a glass of their Hop Von Boorian, which is a solid Belgian-style IPA. Elliott Bay is a great business for the junction, and it is well worth visiting for beers and food.

Our last stop of the night was the only certified hole-in-the-wall dive bar on the crawl; it was also some crawlers’ favorite stop of the night. The Poggie Tavern is located directly across the street from Elliott Bay Brewing, and it is inhabited in large part by drunken old men and a few prized ladies. One thing I love about Seattle is that even our dive bars have more craft beers on tap than BMC crap. Ninkasi IPA, Iron Horse Irish Death, Radeburger Pils, Mac & Jack’s, and Manny’s were a better assembly of selections than you’d find at your average bar in many cities across the country, let alone those cities’ dive bars. The bartender was priceless (see pic below), the pull tabs were flowing like the beer, and the live music was truly awful. But, it was laid back and actually the most fun stop of the night probably (might have had something to do with being the last stop on the crawl). The highlight of the Poggie had to have been meeting the wonderfully drunk gent sporting an NRA jacket who decided to reference the gun he was carrying to us several times, and then mentioned to another in our group that he could “shoot off her eyelashes” if he wanted to. I think I’ll invite him to my next tasting party.

After the Poggie, we mostly split our separate ways. A few of us headed back downtown on the #54, and then decided it was a good idea to stop into Collins Pub for a nightcap. I’m not sure how I thought a 10% ABV Russian River Consecration was a good idea to finish a day of drinking, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

This was an easy crawl to do, and we hit some very solid beer joints with a few normal bars mixed in for character. All the bars were on the same street (California Ave), and this can easily be done via bus/walking/bike. There were several other places we had to leave off the list due to time/location, which means I’ll have to make a return trip someday to hit those…

Bartender at the Poggie Tavern

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Devlin

    Great picture of the Poggie. You got the bartender, the pull tabs and the flyer from that lousy band. All you need is the guy and his gun.

    Best bar of the day: Poggie Tavern hands down. If the music hadn’t been so bad, I might’ve stayed much longer. I also might’ve had a shot and that wouldn’t have done me any favors.

    Best beer of the day: Fremont IPA at Elliott Bay (best it’s ever tasted to me).

    Best food of the day: Bacon shortbread cookies from the Swinery (in the shape of a pig).

    I thought this crawl was a lot more fun than the Cap Hill one. Tacoma or Georgetown next!

  • Urban Beer Hiker

    Great one guys. Mind if I borrow a little from on my West Seattle Urban Beer Hike (coming soon)?

    West Seattle and the great beer corridor of Phinney/Greenwood have a nice little-know connection in that the #54 bus that stops right in front of Beveridge turns into the 5, which runs right down Sully’s/Park Pub/Prost/Pig ‘n Whistle/Naked City/Three Skulls alley (with the Duck Island and Uber only a short walk away as well.

    Count me in on the next one.

  • Kim

    Geoff, you should have called me and Kendall, you were in our ‘hood!

    The Poggie is indeed priceless, but last time I had beer on tap there it made me vow to only do bottled beer in the future. If you know what I’m sayin.

    I’m surprised to hear mixed opinions on the beer at Elliott Bay. Being that’s our local brewpub we go weekly, and we find their beer, food and service to be amazingly consistent.

  • Pat

    nicely done! (both the crawl and the write-up)

  • Dean Ruffner

    The bratwurst sandwich at Prost was mine and it was pretty crappy. They also forgot to make it when I ordered it, so big points off there. This version of Prost over on The Island was for drinkin’, not eatin’.

    Fun time, though. The Greenwood beer crawl might be a good next chapter.

  • Russ

    Nice write up Geoff! Good times….

    From multiple trips to both the West Seattle and Burien Elliot Bay Brewpubs, I have to say it’s too often a miss than a hit….. If it weren’t for the happy hour pulled pork quesadillas and my girlfriend’s love for their ice tea (yeah, go figure), I don’t know if I’d go much at all.

  • Gibson

    Bacon shortbread!? I left too early.

  • Dave

    Looks like a great bar crawl but you missed Circa Alehouse, one of my fav places in W. Seattle.

    Cool bar, good taps and far above avg pub food.

  • Kendall Jones

    As a West Seattle resident, I am ashamed to say that I haven’t been in to visit the Poggie in a year or so. It is therefore news to me that they’ve finally gotten a clue about craft beer.

    Without going into detail, I’ll just say that the Poggie is a much safer place when Jim is working. I won’t go in there if he isn’t. I’m glad he was behind the bar when you guys visited.

    People my age might remember “Big Jim” as a bit character/stand in on Northern Exposure. If you noticed that the music was turned up really loud, you should know that Jim was in the infantry in Vietnam. Love that guy to death!

    Sounds like you guys had a good time crawlin’ in my hood. Cheers to that!

  • elvis

    this is very topical. I have a friend in from LA this weekend and we were going to do a pub crawl. That said, I was thinking of hitting Uber first, then after a beer jumping on 99 and hitting BPP for some NFL playoffs.

    what’s great takeout in W. Seattle to take into BPP?

  • Eric

    Great post. Let me know when you are in the hood again. We also like going to Shadow Lands. They have a decent tap selection, a decent happy hour, and awesome Poutine!

    Elvis, Kokoras Greek Grill across the street is pretty darn good. Their Gyros are tasty and are quite large for a decent price. Check them out online, they often have coupons.

  • elvis

    thanks. i’ve been there. might be a perfect option. one idea was to eat something small and then end the evening closer to our house, like at Quinn’s or Smiths.

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