I worked in an office in the Bel-Red corridor of Bellevue for about seven years when I first moved to Seattle over ten years ago. For a good amount of that time, there were minimal options for good beer over that way. The Pumphouse was probably my favorite laid-back spot to grab a beer after work, but Tap House Grill and Rock Bottom Brewery Bellevue, both centrally located in the same office building downtown in the Bellevue Galleria, were always good options. For those who worked directly in downtown Bellevue, these were the two go-to spots for good beer.
All of a sudden, things look starkly different. Both the Tap House Grill and Rock Bottom locations in downtown Bellevue have suddenly closed in the past two weeks. Rock Bottom’s last day of operation was on October 30, while Tap House had their last day on November 7, with no notice at all until the following day. Rock Bottom had been open in that location since 1999, while Tap House opened in 2002.
Loyal customers are weighing in on their Facebook pages with comments of dismay that they have closed, and many are wondering if there is something bigger in the plans here. The Bellevue Galleria was bought by a Washington D.C.-based real estate company in October 2013, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The building itself did not seem to make efficient use of the prime location, and a demolition and new construction could certainly be on the way.
There are more options around Bellevue these days, including Bellevue Brewing, Geaux Brewing and the new Resonate Brewery & Pizzeria, which are all located outside of downtown Bellevue. There are still some solid spots for beer downtown, including Lot No. 3 & Black Bottle. And, don’t forget The Pumphouse, which is just outside of downtown. There may be others in downtown Bellevue, but I don’t exactly frequent the area these days. But, the loss of Tap House and Rock Bottom seems like a big one to anyone who works or lives near the downtown core. While I didn’t necessarily love the corporate feel of either place, they were always solid spots for a pint, given the other choices around that area. Back when Brian Young was the brewer at Rock Bottom (he’s now at Hellbent), I especially enjoyed grabbing beers there.
For now, downtown Bellevue beer drinkers will have to make due with what they’ve got. Or, head out to one of the breweries mentioned above. But, with the pace at which things change around this area, I would assume more beer-centric establishments will want to target the area for development in the near future.
Cheers to Tap House and Rock Bottom for bringing a lot of beery joy to Bellevue beer drinkers for quite a long time.
The downtown Seattle locations of both businesses are still open.