Thursday, December 20, 2007

Capitol Hill's Comet Tavern sold

By Tom Scanlon

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Comet Tavern, a dive bar that is one of Capitol Hill's drinking-and-music landmarks, has been sold.

"It's going to stay the Comet, the booking person is going to stay there, everything stays the same," said Conrad Topacio, real-estate agent who handled the sale of the Comet, at 922 E. Pike St. Despite that, on Wednesday the Comet's listed phone number was disconnected.

Topacio said the deal was being finalized; he would not reveal the new owner's name until then.

The news of a things-are-staying-the-same sale should come as a relief to Seattle area's live music fans. Earlier this week, the Crocodile Cafe, another storied club, closed without advance notice, and there is no word on whether it will reopen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Menu at the Lockspot!

12/13 Update! We sampled several of the new items last night. They're precisely as greasy as you'd expect from the Lockspot. The Fair Burger's overwhelming "cheese" was balanced by a healthy heaping of raw as well as grilled onions. We'll have to reserve judgment on the Greek fries since they were out of some key ingredients. The pile of garlic buttery goodness and feta was a promising introduction though. The Italian Grilled Cheese really took the ribbon for filling. In addition to oozing cheese, the bread was soaked in butter with the promised dusting of parmesan on the outside. Delicious!

Our experts at Ballard Gossip Girl can't recall a time in the last 10 years that the menu at the Lockspot has changed other than to add some legally mandated warnings about undercooked meats.
Before you panic, most of the changes are superficial, with some interesting items added to the menu but not much taken away. Gone are the Spin Dippers from the appetizer menu. The Captain's Platter has disappeared in name, but has been replaced by the "Lockspot Sampler", which at a glance appears to be the same assortment.
Although we stumbled into the new menu by chance and on full stomachs with appetites only for drink, here are some of the new -as yet untested- items:

Appetizers-
  • Clam Dip with Homemade Potato Chips
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip served hot with Pita
  • Greek fries with lots of Garlic and Butter - this has the bartender's recommendation

Soup o' the Day Combo - soup, salad and garlic bread

Burgers and Sandwiches:
  • Fair Burger - American cheese and grilled onions. Our first thought was "why?", but it is priced at a dollar less than other items in this section of the menu
  • Italian Grilled Cheese - sounds yummy with provolone and tomatoes on grilled parmesan sourdough
Seafood, Chicken, etc.:
  • Grilled Cod with creamy dill sauce, rice and veggies
  • Mushroom Dijon Chicken

Perhaps most exciting to those of us living within a few stumbling blocks of the place, they've added a few items to the breakfast menu. If only they would extend the breakfast hours, we might sample them all. The breakfast burrito definitely sounds promising. Is there a chance it's lighter than some of their other fare? Also new are the vegetarian and smoked salmon omelet/scramble options and the lemon raspberry coffeecake.

What's the main takeaway from all this? If you've been stopping by the Lockspot for a decade or more and can't handle any of the older menu items, this might be an opportunity to stop by for more than just your later evening drinks.
Will these new items delight or will they fall flat? Count on your local correspondents at Ballard Gossip Girl to keep you updated.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Find Your Holiday Spirit(s)


Stay tuned for updates to this post on Ballard bar and restaurant holiday hours.


Looking to keep the holidays lively or just escape the obligatory festivities for awhile? Before you get your heart set on that favorite restaurant or watering hole, let us do the research to make sure it's open. We're also on the lookout for specials and extras to put you in the celebrating mood. A few early notes...

Closures:
Get your fill soon at the perpetually packed La Carta de Oaxaca. The regional eatery and tequila-ry is scheduled to close from 12/23 through the first of the year. Will this allow some extra time for preparations over at Ocho? Only time, or perhaps persistent investigation, will tell.

Next door, the Sunset Tavern will be closed for a large chunk of that time. They're looking at taking a break from December 23rd through the 28th. They're also reporting New Years Eve as a private party...no news yet on the invite list. Public preparation for the holiday season, though, includes two days of Holiday Rock n' Roll Circus with The Cops headlining two different lineups of musical acts and other entertainment on December 14th and 15th.

Fans of large sandwiches, Belgian brews and parmesan sprinkled fries should note that Old Town Alehouse will be closing at 4pm on December 24th and remain closed on Christmas Day. They're also closing early on Tuesday, December 11th but we there should be a number of other choices in the neighborhood on that day.

Warming Holiday Drink Tip:
For an escape to (instead of away from) the holidays, try the $4.50 glass of Gl├╝hwein at the People's Pub. The beer mug sized serving of spiced wine is at least twice what you'd find when wandering around Germany's Christmas markets, although here you have to drink it inside. You might ask for an accompanying shot of brandy on the side for an authentic additional kick.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Yeah got the scoop or is it the sloop?

Busy night tonight for #15. On December 17th the Watherwheel officially changes hands. We will see if they keep it real.

Sundowner was sold (to the Peeps at Ol' Peculiar) the last day with the owners is this sunday. Big going away party, it should be fun.

The Viking is having their holiday party next Saturday the 15th. It is a potluck so bring a dish. Rob will be out of town, so no DELICIOUS BBQ this time.


Word on the street is that the Sloop is for sale. Great spot. Also I hear the Thunderbird is for sale.....the new Cocktail spot? Could be....i Like the potential bidder for the spot.


You heard it first.....right?!?!


#15

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mmm Cheese Curds at Zayda's


That’s right folks, cheese curds, in Ballard! Having spent several years in Minnesota, I can't tell you how excited I was to see cheese curds featured on the appetizer menu. And let me tell you, they were good. Maybe not as good as the ones you get at Schroder's Concessions at the MN State Fair, but pretty darn close. For those of you who haven't ventured into one of the newer places in Ballard, Zayda Buddys, 5404 Leary Avenue NW, I suggest you do so soon. Their menu offers a wide range of Midwest favorites, from tatter tot casserole (or as I prefer, hot dish) to a stuffed bacon and bleu burger. The house salad has a nice twist of beets and avocados and the pizzas are delicious, but a little pricy. They even have a rotating $5 Minnesota Martini during happy hour. Yesterday’s was a schooner of Anchor Steam and a generous shot of Marker’s Mark. Zayda Buddys also carries several Midwest inspired ales, such as Schell’s and Grain Belt Premium. What better place to have a Minnesota inspired restaurant than Ballard!

Pucker Up with Pickles at Kiss Cafe

KISS Cafe (Keep It Simple, Sucka) has been open sporadically for several weeks but their first official day of "regular hours" was December 1st. This cafe/bar took over the space vacated by Karma Cafe at 2817 NW Market. The owners and their friends spent four months doing the renovation work themselves (one still works construction as his day job.) You'll want to get in there now while you can still get a seat at the bar. You might also want to weigh in on whether the menu should stick with the authentic yellow mustard on the Cuban sandwich or cave to local suggestions that Dijon should be the default.
The husband and wife team behind the place were inspired by the simple sandwich menu and great beer selection of a bar in his home state of Florida. Never fear though - these two are Ballard residents and have given it the local touch. While the Florida bar focused on imported brews to counter the prevalence of Bud, Kiss Cafe focuses on Northwest microbrews (although they do extend the definition of Northwest out to Colorado).
The wine selection is also impressive with 12 reasonably priced wines by the glass and nearly thirty available by the bottle. Columbia Valley winery Jones of Washington is well represented. I sampled their Syrah and was satisfied that it was more than just personal connections between the owners that placed this on the menu.

Summing up the highlights:
  • great selection of wine and microbrews, most beers are $4 a pint
  • 99 bottles of beer club - beer explorers get a card to work their way through 99 different brews
  • dogs are welcome and the house dog is friendly and curious enough but not in your face
  • sandwiches come with a jar of pickles on the side so you can choose your own portion. Tim's Cascade Chips are the other tasty accompaniment

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mark it Ocho, Dude!


Word on the street is that the old Matt's Hot Dogs, which closed it's Ballard location this summer, will be turning into a Tequila bar. It's being opened by the bartender from La Carta de Oaxaca. I've heard it will be called Ocho. Located on the corner of Market Street and 24th Ave NW, perhaps they will give fellow button-sized bar Hazlewood some competition in the Tequila Toddy department. I'll keep you posted on the opening date and let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Guitar Hero at the Waterwheel

Guitar Hero takes place on Fridays too! I met some friends at the Waterwheel and sure enough, people were rocking it strong to Black Sabbath. There was even air long-hair thrashing going on. I overheard the new owner talking about her first time at the Waterwheel as potential owner. She said the regulars were glaring at her and wishing her dead over new condos being built. Good to know their plan is to keep it the same! Have you tried the homemade potato chips yet? Buenisimos!

Snow days rule!

I love snow days, especially in Ballard!