If the words "happy hour pricing all night" are as magical to your ears as mine, stop by the new Ballard Loft this Thursday, January 31st and get your free shuffleboard, darts, or pool fix before it's hopelessly swamped by overflow from King's down the street. While the sign for the Loft indicates simply "Bar Food Games" and avoids the "Can't Beat Our Meat" slogan of their neighbors, comparisons are inevitable and initial reviews on Yelp from their first couple weeks of business are already mentioning "Hot dogs, hot dogs, hot dogs!(And I ain't just talking about the menu. wink.)"
Speaking of hot dogs, the main food items are a selection of sausages and franks with various topping combinations. Sausages are provided by local favorites Uli's while most other meats and cheeses come from Boar's Head. The non-meat eaters can substitute a veggie dog in any of the combos. The opposite side of the food menu covers standard appetizer fare such as nachos, hummus, hot wings, artichoke dip and fries. The one intriguing selection was Black n Tan Onion Rings, beer battered with Bass and Guinness.
This may be the first bar I've visited with more televisions than beer options. I found the 10+ screens, each set to a different channel, to be a little distracting but they would definitely provide full coverage for big games. Returning to the beer selection, nothing stood out, either in the popular imports of Stella Artois and Guinness or in the more local brews (Maritime IPA, Widmer Hefeweizen, Mac & Jacks, and Dick's Danger Ale). All were reasonably priced at $4 for a pint or $6 for a 25oz glass. For cheaper options, they also offer Bud Light and Olympia in the same glass sizes for a smaller price.
The cocktail menu caught my attention with "Scandinavian Pop", a promising sounding blend of Absolut Kurant, cranberry, sour mix and ginger ale. I'll have to reserve judgment on this one since I didn't actually see the cocktail menu until after I'd procured my drink and headed upstairs to check out the games and the view from above.
For the record, the menu lists happy hour prices as $1 off drafts and wells and half-price appetizers. They have the standard 4-6 time slot that always disappoints me, so Thursday might actually be a good time to try it out.
Tell us what you think, Ballard! Does Ballard Loft offer something really new or is it destined to become a more generic incarnation of new-Ballard?