When all this craziness finally ends where is the first place you will go to meet friends, grab a beer and a bite?
What permanent remnants, of what’s now becoming normal, will remain after COVID leaves us? Will bartenders continue to wear gloves, and people to wear masks? Will social distancing still be a thing? In a time where “Virtual Happy Hours” have filled a desperate void of interaction with fellow humans, I know we are forever changed.
When I think about when this is all over my “I can’t wait till …” moments involve my friends, beer lines, trivia, live music, Seattle Beer Week (SBW) and bottle shares. In a time of circumstances pulling us apart, I wanted to find something that may eventually pull us back together, given a chance. And for my mental health, I need to believe we will want to gather in large places again, drink beer, eat food and kibitz with friends and strangers. Here are a few places that would be great choices once the COVID quarantine is a thing of the past.
Pine Box – Cap Hill
Going to a place that celebrates “Bruce Lee Day” has to be on any list of anything, doesn’t it? Considering the Pine Box was once a funeral parlor and the location of Bruce Lee’s actual funeral with Steve McQueen and Chuck Norris as a couple of the pall bearers, it does officially qualify as bad ass.
While they do have some great food choices, the real draw here are the 24+ taps, which bleed local beer as you sit at a bar, in an old funeral home. You can work on your own Black Belt of beer with taps from Holy Mountain, Cloudburst, Reubens, Stoup and Future Primitive all on tap. And with something running through their in house randall there is always something fun and unusual to pick from.
Brouwer’s Cafe – Fremont
Every time I enter Brouwer’s I feel like an underdressed extra in Vikings or The Witcher, stumbling in for a pint of grog. With the medieval vibe of stone and dark wood, it is easy to see why Barleywine just tastes better here. #truth
If you want to drink your way out of COVID, Brouwer’s is your place. I lost count of their taps at 50. Filled with local and other west coast favorites – but also some hard to find beers from Belgian and German. They have great bottles for in-house purchase and consumption. And we haven’t even started on the Whiskey. I’ll save that for when we start that whiskey blog!
Along with the beer, another must have is the Stoofvleez Frites. It is a Belgian beef and beer stew poured over delicious fried potatoes. Think Belgian poutine but way, way better!
Loretta’s Northwestern – South Park (pictured above)
Out front hangs the classic “Loretta’s Northwesterner” neon sign, cool enough to be retro but old enough to feel authentic and original. Inside, the dim lighting and low wooded ceilings make you feel like you are below deck on an old sailboat. Housing an old Airstream trailer parked in the partially covered outdoor area and a fire pit, Loretta’s is unpretentious and funky
in that typical South Seattle, Georgetown way.
They support their own with beers from the area including multiple Georgetown beers on tap, Counterbalance, San Juan Seltzer and Rainier tall boys. Besides the uber local, you can also find a Skookum IPA or taps from Wander, Boundary Bay and Holy Mountain. Seriously, this place has your beer needs covered.
One thing to eat is the Tavern Burger, sometimes called the Northwesterner. Known to turn hardcore vegetarians into meat eaters — fine print: not substantiated and probably not true — but it’s that damn good. A toasted bun and a no frills cheeseburger, beautiful in its simplicity. And oh go ahead, get the double.
With the curve flattening, and the governors of Washington, Oregon and California at least starting the conversation about opening up for business again, I can almost taste the draft beer on my lips, as I start making my breaking the ‘tine plans. Because I need to see people enjoying themselves over beers and talking about anything besides COVID. I hope to see you out at one of these places or just around somewhere in the Post COVID world. And if you have a great neighborhood bar in your area I didn’t get to please let me know. There are way too many to name in one post!
Peace. Love. Beers. — Brian