Tom Douglas’ Brave Horse Tavern Opens Today

April 7th, 2011 · 17 Comments · Bar Reviews, Beer & Food, Washington Breweries

Pretzel with Schooner Exact Brave Horse Pale Ale

With 26 taps of beer, killer burgers, fresh hearth-baked pretzels, and lots of other food choices to taunt you, the new Brave Horse Tavern makes me wish I worked at the nearby HQ in South Lake Union (seriously, I’m in Finance; call me!). Located at 310 Terry Ave N, we visited the Brave Horse Tavern for a soft opening last night, and they officially open for business at 4pm today. Following are some thoughts, as well as some photos. You can visit Flickr to see my entire photo set from last night.

– Warren Peterson, Tom Douglas Restaurants Corporate Sous Chef and appointed “Beer Czar”, is helping to make sure the Brave Horse taps offer plenty of interesting choices. They started off with twelve beers on tap last night and a limited amount of bottles, but you can expect them to fill out the rest of the lineup shortly. Peterson will have input into what beers make an appearance, and I don’t expect I’ll have an issue finding several beers I’d love to drink on any given visit. The focus at Brave Horse is squarely on the beer and relaxed atmosphere. The approachable food selections fit that focus.

– Seattle’s Schooner Exact Brewing has crafted the Brave Horse Pale Ale as the house brew for the tavern’s opening. Chef Peterson worked with the crew at Schooner Exact to create a pale ale that has a lot of hop aroma and flavor going on, but with a very moderate bitterness. At around 5.8% ABV, it is definitely something that I could have a few of. The beer is flavored with the new Falconers Flight blend of hops.

Beer menu

– The rest of the draft lineup from last night included Bear Republic Ricardo’s Red Rocket, Fish Organic IPA, Hopworks Secession CDA, Pike XXXXX Extra Stout, Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale, Stone Smoked Porter, Chuckanut Vienna Lager, North Coast Red Seal Ale, Elliott Bay B-Town Brown, Maritime Pacific Salmon Bay ESB, and Silver City Maibock.

– The opening bottle list included Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen, Koff Sinebrychoff Porter, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Lev Black Lion, Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, Maredsous 10 Tripel, Duvel, Duvel Tripel Hop, De Proef Reinaert Wild Ale, Brasserie Dupont Saison, Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, Russian River Supplication, Russian River Pliny the Elder, North Coast Brother Thelonius, Midnight Sun Sockeye Red IPA, Hale’s Supergoose IPA, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, and Avery White Rascal Belgian Wheat.

– Their single cheap domestic beer in the house are 12oz cans of Hamm’s for $3.

– Draft beers are just $5 for a 20oz glass. Their goal is to leave a little room so they don’t spill during service, so around 18-20oz pours should be expected. Compared to what lots of places charge, this is a solid deal for a lot of these beers. They also have $3 12oz schooners and $15 pitchers. I’d imagine there will be exceptions on pricing for more expensive beers, but there was not last night.

– The food was pretty damn good. The burger with a fried egg and bacon (added charge) was messy, but outstanding. My only issue with the burger was that the bacon was a bit skimpy; it’s still bacon though. The fried cheese curds were a nice starter to share. Jeanne had the cornmeal catfish with fries, which I might have liked more than my burger. If we’re getting nit-picky, several items were a bit heavy on the salt.

– There are quite a few other menu choices I would have loved to have tried. You can see the current menu here.

– Brave Horse has a brick oven that they cook fresh pretzels in every day, and that will be one of the focuses on the menu. You can get a pretzel with three dipping mustards for $4, or you can add dipping sauces for an extra charge. We tried the three dip variety of smoked peanut butter and bacon, cheddar-pimento spread, and sour cream & crispy onion. I enjoyed them all, but especially the PB&B, and sour cream dips. The pretzels were about as good as I’ve ever had for a baked pretzel.

– Brave Horse has a single large, open room with lots of wood and a bit of an industrial feel to it. It’s a comfortable room with dim lighting, but not so dim that you can’t see across the table or read the menu. There are three dart boards and two shuffleboard tables to keep you busy, as well as about five large flat screen TVs for sports.

– Tables range from smaller two top tables to several tables fit for large groups or communal seating. There is probably room for twenty people or more at the bar, and there are several standup bar tables with room to set your drinks.

Overall, I’m very excited about this place. Great beer, reasonable prices, interesting food, and a welcoming space combine to make this a promising spot that I hope to frequent. Congrats to Tom Douglas, Warren Peterson, chef Brian Walcyck, and the rest of the team involved in getting Brave Horse open.


Tags: ··

17 Comments so far ↓

  • Quispy

    Nice write up. Answered a lot of questions. Hope that draft list gets a little hoppier as they bring the taps on but I am looking forward to trying that Schooner Exact.

  • Devlin

    Nice writeup. Food and beer selections sound great. Also really like that their cheap beer choice is Hamm’s (like it even more if they charged $2/can).

  • derkruk

    Great write up. I assume darts and shuffleboard are free?

    Also, any word on happy hour?

    May be worth hitting up after cask fest. Or maybe I’ll take a nap. 🙂

  • Kaiser

    You know, I have no idea if the games are free…but I would imagine so as well. I didn’t get any info on happy hour either, if they do have one.

  • Jeanne

    Warren did say last night that there would be a happy hour…he thinks it will be one of their bigger draws.

  • blackhook

    Here’s hoping as well that more than a few taps will feature copious NW hops…such as hint, hint…superb IPAs like Port Wipeout, Green Flash West Coast, Amnesia Copacetic, Hopworks, Anacortes, Double Mountain Hop Lava, Black Raven Trickster, Fremont…the list goes on 🙂 …


    Wow, what a boring taplist…

  • Yuppers

    Anyplace serving Chuckanut and Schooner Exact are A-OK with me.

  • Kurt

    I fail to see how this list is boring. Good selection, solid beers, a couple limited releases ie Lost Abbey Red Barn, Silver City Maibock, Chuckanut VL, and 4 more spots to fill. Wierd???

  • Gregor

    I applaud Tom for giving us SLU’rs a comfortable place to gather after work, and was excited to hear they were pouring 20 ouncers. However it’s not the imperial pint you might be thinking. It’s ugly and made out of thick glass, I hate it. The pour at our table was more than an inch of foam. Since the glass gets larger at the top (like the glass bars typically serve soda pop in) I would estimate you’re really only getting 16 ounces at the most. The 12 ounce schooners seemed to be poured more closely to the rim.

  • Yuppers

    Kurt, didn’t you know that unless every beer is a hop bomb, the taplist is boring? Didn’t you know that the only ingredient that really matters is citrusy hop?

    Sarcasm aside, if anything is getting boring, it’s the over-reliance on hoppy beers. Big hops can be amazing, but there are three other ingredients in beer that have a role to play, too.

  • Kurt

    Yuppers, wow I mention a Vienna Lager, a Maibock, and a Saison and you suggest i’m defending “hop bombs”? I think you need to do a little research in to these styles before you draw such a conclusion.

  • John

    I was in over the weekend and was a little disappointed; their 20oz beers were actually $6 and their 12oz beers were $4. Their bottle collection is also very expensive ($15 for a bottle of Pliny, $10 for a Belhaven!?!). Food was decent (had the chicken fried turkey sandwich…again, a little expensive for the size but tasted great). We also split the pretzel which was rather tasty. All in all, not awful, just a little overpriced for the quantity; happy hour should be a decent idea. To top it off, Tom Douglas was sitting at the bar talking with his new employees, eating food from the kitchen.

  • bobo

    kurt – i think yuppers was being sarcastic and agreeing with you. Cheers for Good Beers!

  • Yuppers

    Kurt, bobo was right — I was agreeing with you, not arguing with you (I even said “sarcasm aside” to and be absolutely clear… though I apparently failed).

  • kurt

    Yuppers, my bad I thought you were agreeing with Canna. Cheers to your perspective. It’s refreshing to hear.

  • Mark

    Brave Horse Tavern sucks. I would be happy to tell Tom Douglas to his face… at which point he could point out how busy it is. I don’t care. It is not a beer bar, and Warren Peterson is no “Beer Czar.” Frosy beer in a frosty mug? No thank you. Proper glass, proper temperature please. A little bit of the Eastside in Seattle — this probably works for most Amazon employees, but for me it is corporate and over-designed. Could have been done by the Taphouse Grill guys. Yuck.

Leave a Comment