Ballard Bike and Brew

Warning to Mom, Dad and Grandma: Read at your own risk. I really don’t need a safety lecture later. Thanks.

“See, the difference between driving drunk and biking drunk is that your not going to injure or kill anyone else”

What happens when you get woken up by your boyfriends text message alarm repeating the line from the Big Lebowski “You don’t fuck with the Jesus” then again three hours later by the alarm going out on your smoke alarm? Well if you are me, you sleep till two and then start drinking. Thus begins the adventures of the infamous Ballard Bike and Brew, complete with bar reviews.

“What do you want to do today?” B asked.

“We could do some day drinking?” I responded

“Hmmm. Good idea. But I want to get some exercise first.” He makes a good point.

“We could bike to Ballard and start drinking there and then do a pub crawl to the party in Maple Leaf” Perfect. Solution arrived. We were on our bikes and out the door before 2:30. Our first stop was Wingmasters, which I’ve discussed previously here. Still a great bar, but Tod the wing man no longer works there, so the wings are not quite where they used to be. After a few beers we had watched the Huskies relinquish all premise of being a football team and we were ready to move on.

Wingmaster’s on

We headed north on 24th and across 65th to a neighborhood where I lived, once upon a time. Since I moved away about three years ago, this has become the new cool bar area. We hit up The Dray, which is a great place to stop for a drink on a cold fall afternoon. I had a Fox Barrel Cider and B picked from their many IPAs on tap. We enjoyed reading National Geographic and The Stranger. The music was perfect level and the seats were comfy. This place has ambience to an art, unfortunately after awhile we were feeling a little sleepy. Luckily they also serve coffee, so armed with a double espresso each, we were rejuvenated to continue the journey.

Leaving The Dray, we slowly rode up 8th, the most gradual hill in the area, to 85th. Somewhere in here, I may have gotten a little distracted and looked up just in time to see the curb heading straight for my front wheel. As I explained to B, here is where my training as a ski racer comes in handy. While I may not be very good at biking, I’m great at falling. As my wheel hit the curb at about a 45 degree angle, I released both my feet from my pedals and hopped forward over the handle bars, rolling to a stop on the sidewalk. Luckily I’d given a good yelp when I realized I was heading for catastrophe so B had the pleasure of getting to watch me tumble. I was fine. I dusted off, we turned on to 85th and went to Greenwood, where we stopped in at the recently remodeled Pig and Whistle.

The Pig and Whistle is warm and friendly. The bartender was great, super nice and totally helpful. It was happy hour, so I continued my caffination with a $3.50 vodka diet coke (yes, that’s my drink of choice. No I don’t want to hear what you have to say about that). B ordered a beer and we split an order of half priced crunchy pig ears ($2.25 at happy hour). They were amazingly good, super crunchy (as advertised) and served with an unbelievably delicious mustard. For the uninitiated, pig ear does have a somewhat cartilaginous texture, though the deep frying tempered that pretty well. The flavor is similar to that of pork rinds, or even bacon.

Pig and Whistle on

Finishing our business at the Pig and Whistle, we meandered a block up the street to the newly opened Gainsbourg. This place is fabulous, all deconstructed and reconstructed and lavishly decorated like a dark Paris bar. The menu reads like a bistro, with croquettes and French onion soup along side croque monsieur. They didn’t have hard alcohol yet and the beer selection, appropriately skewed European, but it was too bad they didn’t have local brews… I mean, we are still in Seattle. The service, like everything else was similar to Paris-definitely still a few kinks in the system. However we were happy to wait while watching the open kitchen at work. We ordered up the escargot, which were totally simple and perfectly done, while being very reasonably priced, as was everything here. I would definitely return here if I were in the neighborhood.

Having killed enough time to head to the party, we hopped on our bikes and took off to the address we were given for the party. We were not able to find the party, but did happen to find a different party with a keg, where they fed us beers and B turned out to know someone. Shortly there after he directed us to the correct address for the party and we went off. B’s friend followed, with the keg from the ‘wrong’ party, shortly thereafter. At this point I begin drinking rum and eggnog and decide it is time to inform B that I am not sure I can bike home. When we go to leave, B decides we’ll bike the downhill and take the bus up. Within half a mile B is on the ground hugging a street sign.

Sometimes you have to know when to cut your losses. I flagged down the next bus.


One Response

  1. Nice, funny blog, but you Americans are retarded when it comes to drinking and driving/riding. I’ve never known anywhere so bad outside of France.

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