It doesn’t get much more relaxing than kicking back with a pint and some grub — during the day or night. The Eastside is home to some great new taprooms, but a food and brew alliance sometimes requires a step removed from the source. Tavern, pub, alehouse — purists may argue semantics — but we think beer + bites = bliss no matter what you call it. And some of these places welcome your kids and even your dog.
Bellevue Brewing Company
When Bellevue native John Robertson teamed up with brewer Scott Hansen in 2010, they set out to fill what they called the “gaping hole” — a lack of breweries on the Eastside. Two years later, they opened the doors to 12,000 square feet of brewery and pub. And it’s a good thing they went big, because the place fills up during lunch and dinner, and “hoppy” hour in between.
The original “beer and tapas” concept was quickly replaced with a full menu featuring what they call eclectic New American items — everything from salads to pizzas to hand-built sandwiches, without a deep fryer in sight. Their menu is always evolving and full of fresh ingredients. In addition to the five flagship beers, including 425 Pale Ale, seasonal offerings like the Cascadian dark ale and a Bohemian Pilsner lager keep things interesting. Located at 1820 130th Ave. N.E., Bellevue. There is a kid-friendly menu (served on food-grade Frisbees).
Founded during a major downturn in craft brewing in the late ’90s, Snoqualmie Brewery’s near-20-year existence is quite the success story. The taproom and restaurant were remodeled and expanded in 2011 to accommodate the large gatherings of regulars and for special events. It’s the last great beer stop before civilization becomes mountain country.
Expect pizzas, grinders, and melts to dominate the menu. There are salads, wraps, and even a pita and hummus platter for the more delicate appetite. This is really a local family hangout — kids eat free on Wednesday nights. Every night features a deal or an activity — Geeks Who Drink Trivia, Game Night, Pizza & Pitcher deals, and live music. 8032 Falls Ave. S., Snoqualmie.
The Wilde Rover
Kirkland’s favorite Irish pub for nearly a decade, “The Rover” (as locals call it) is always humming on the weekends, especially in warmer months when the outer deck space opens. Entertainment is what it’s all about at the pub — every day of the week features something fun: live music (Geoffrey Castle, Herding Cats, rotating bands), quiz night on Wednesday, or a variety of sports on the TV.
The beer is primarily Irish, obviously. But, local specialties also have a place on the menu. Classic pub fare dominates the menu — bangers & mash, Guinness lamb stew, Irish poutine. The lamb burger with “chips” and curry sauce is a crowd favorite. 111 Central Way, Kirkland.
The beers have a sports theme going on — the flagship Dunkadelic milk stout is really something special. Speaking of specials, Bushnell doesn’t skip on the swag: Pint Glass Mondays (buy a pint, keep the glass — a new design each week), T-shirt Tuesdays (buy a pint, get a T-shirt — weekly designs, as well), and Wing Wednesdays (75¢ each). Multiple TVs mean never missing a Sunday game while sipping a Dirty Shirley blonde ale. 8461 164th Ave. N.E., Redmond.
Mox Boarding House
A change of pace from a typical tavern, Mox Boarding House is for gamers — as in board and card games. The newer storefront off Bel-Red Road serves as a retail store, restaurant, bar, and game club. All ages are welcome to grab a loaner game, order a drink, get a bite, and enjoy some friendly competition. Staff will even assist if the game is unfamiliar.
The draft selections are many and varied, with attention to local brews. High rollers will love the private rooms available at an hourly rate. The Apothecary has shelves lined with various “poisons,” The Library will have guests reaching for their smoking jackets (but, no actual smoking…), while The Speakeasy is perfect for private parties and comes with a private bar and bartender. 13310 Bel-Red Road, Bellevue.
Kirkland’s newest pub comes complete with an adult playground — nine holes of indoor mini-golf! Brothers Sam and Andy Largent teamed up to open Flatstick, featuring 24-rotating taps serving exclusively Washington beers. They buy one keg at a time, meaning there is always something new to try. Tee times can be booked online, and each round starts at $6, with multi-player discounts. Kids can play until 7 p.m., while dogs are welcome anytime. Flatstick Pub does not have a kitchen, and snacks are limited to a few prepared items. However, many local restaurants deliver, and guests are free to bring their own food. 15 Lake St., Kirkland (bottom floor facing Marina Park).
Bushnell Craft Brewing Company
Father-and-son brewing team Kevin and Kempton Bushnell have been homebrewing for years, and when they decided to go public, not even a little thing like a failed Kickstarter campaign could hold them back. Bushnell pulled its first official pints on St. Patrick’s Day 2014. Its family-friendly taproom is one of the few Redmond breweries to offer a full menu, featuring ample portions of fries and fritters, and great prices on wings, pickled eggs, and burgers.
The latest project from the brains behind Cactus and the aesthetic muscle behind Von Trapp’s and Stoneburner has brought a casual cool hangout back to Bellevue. Finally (finally!), there’s a legitimate pub in “swanky town” where guests don’t have to be dressed for clubbing. The menu is fresh and spans the globe in terms of flavors, hitting everyone’s comfort spots. Most of the beers hail from Washington, with a firm nod to Eastside breweries.
But it’s not just about consumables at Tavern Hall — there are plenty of ways to have fun. Four shuffleboard tables, two dartboards and large-scale video games keep guests happy between sips. More than 100 convenience outlets can be found throughout the space (hello, 21st century!), while other design features are more than a century old. Located at 505 Bellevue Square; kids are welcome in the dining room until 9 p.m.
This local tavern was acquired by Oregon’s Rogue Ales in 2000 but still produces some of its own local specialties — all frog-themed it seems. Menage-A-Frog may have won a gold medal, but it’s the White Frog Ale that gives those deep-fried frog legs a jump. With 36 taps, there is sure to be something for everyone.
The menu is epic in size and relies heavily on Kobe beef — from burgers to bleu balls (meatballs stuffed with Oregon bleu cheese). No exotic surprises on the kids’ menu, except that meals are served on a Rogue Frisbee with a side of Jell-O. Even dogs can dine on a variety of culinary treats! 31 W. Sunset Way, Issaquah.
Whistle Stop Ale House
For two decades, Whistle Stop has been the go-to watering hole in Renton, tucked next to the railroad tracks. The goal at Whistle Stop is to provide an old-timey welcoming vibe — and beer, of course. Seventeen rotating taps pay homage to NW beers and beyond. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at Whistle Stop — the theme highlights favorites from around the nation, like Santa Fe Station (black bean burger with salsa) or Kansas City Station (grilled chicken with BBQ sauce), and the world, like De Lyon Station (French dip sandwich) or Mexico City Station (chicken with jalapeños). Families are welcome. After all, this is “your neighborhood family pub.” 809 S. Fourth St., Renton.
Tap House Grill
Indecisive souls may find the 160 draft options at Tap House a wee bit overwhelming. Just think of it as an opportunity to tour the Northwest without leaving the barstool! When Tap House opened in 2002, many local breweries were mere zygotes. Clearly, Washington beer culture is taking the “be fruitful and multiply” mantra to heart — at least when it comes to brewing. The menu offers some nice alternatives to traditional “pub” food — like the ahi poke tower, the chile and roasted cauliflower flatbread, and grilled fish tacos with chimichurri sauce. 550 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue.
Named for the brains behind the beer — Tom Schmidlin, who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Washington, where he researched yeast strains (talk about knowing your stuff!), Postdoc is co-owned by two families, including Schmidlin’s wife Julie Lindemann and next-door neighbors Jonny and Debbie Chambers, transplants from Ireland. Adjacent to Marymoor Park, Postdoc expects to be a popular stop. Most of the decorative features are sourced from small and/or local businesses — like the antique back-bar cabinet, the enormous (and shiny) pine slab bar and tabletops, the beer-mug light fixtures and the sheet metal sign glowing with multicolored LED lights. Expect Pacific NW beer standards, featuring a heavily hopped Alpha Factor IPA and the java-flavored Cram Session Coffee Porter. 17625 N.E. 65th St. Ste. 100, Redmond. Kid- and dog-friendly.
FlyCaster Brewing Company
Owner/brewer Jeremy Eubanks has an obvious passion for both fly fishing and beer. The Totem Lake tasting room is small but cheerfully decorated with a black walnut bar, fishing flies, and posters from the beer lineup. FlyCaster is a small production brewery, busily adding to its repertoire. A family man, Eubanks is happy to welcome families — kids can even watch a movie projected on a giant screen in the warehouse behind the tasting room while parents sip pints and occasionally peek down the hall. 12815 N.E. 124th St., Suite I, Kirkland. (Open Monday-Sunday.)
Chainline Brewing Company
Located next to Kirkland’s fabulous new bike and walking corridor, Chainline is poised to attract all sorts of neighborhood customers. The taproom opens onto a deck with stairs connecting it directly to the corridor trail. Two giant copper Czech-built beer tanks greet visitors entering from the parking lot along Sixth Street. Antique beer bottles have been converted into light fixtures along terra-cotta-colored walls. Owner/brewer Scott Holm promises Chainline’s own take on an IPA, plus several tanks dedicated to lager-style beers (somewhat rare in the NW). 503 Sixth St. S., Kirkland.
Originally from New Orleans, owner/brewer Jeremy Hubbell is passionate about educating people and offers brewing classes at his brewery. The taproom definitely reflects his NOLA roots — and, yes, there is a big Fat Tuesday celebration each year. A live webcam displays current beers on tap, updated every minute. Geaux (pronounced “go”) is a small brewery, and things go quickly! 12031 Northup Way, Suite 203, Bellevue.
The new craft beer bar and bottle shop recently opened on the border of Kirkland and Redmond. Thirsty Hop features 20 beers on rotating taps available in pints or for growler fills. No food available in-house, but outside food is welcome. 13102 N.E. 70th Place, Kirkland.
Photos courtesy Rachel Coward; Mox Boarding house; Geoffrey Smith; Mark b. Bauschke; Rachel Coward.