Monday, April 12, 2010

Walkin' West Seattle

Last week the weather forecast was nice for both Thursday and Saturday, so naturally, Link and I decided to suit up and go for a 9+ mile urban beer hike on FRIDAY, when it was supposed to be windy, rainy and shitty.

What could we do? Not go? P'shaw. Our first trip down to SoDo not so long ago was miserably windy and wet. And fun as hell. We've braved all sorts of weather in search of great beer, cool hang-outs, unusual sights, new friends, and good conversation. There was no doubt in my mind that this was doable. My confidence must have been infectious, because Mandy decided to join us and went out and acquired some rain pants.

Walkin' West Seattle - Somewhere between 8.65 and 9.35 miles
Luna Park Cafe / Celtic Swell / Porterhouse / Prost / EBBC / Beveridge Place Pub

View Walkin' West Seattle in a larger map

Of course, as usual, the Seattle weather had its own agenda and it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day.

We started at about 1:30pm at Luna Park Cafe. I had been meaning to come here since learning about it from the fellas at Über and their Beer Bike Bloodbath of 2008.  LPC is a really fun little classic diner-style cafe with lots of crazy crap on the walls (to borrow once again from The Simpsons). Above our seats at the bar, I spied the exact Star Wars lunch box I had in 1st grade. The lunch menu is really good and just about what you'd expect in the way of sandwiches and burgers. I had a grilled ham and cheese with tomato and smoked gouda soup. Outstanding. It turns out that their beer selection is a-OK -- especially if you're a fan of Georgetown Brewing (I am). They also serve (fittingly) Elliott Bay's Luna Weizen, which is what we opted for, even though EBBC was along our route later.


From the Cafe, we headed north and walked all the way around Alki. This walk is one of my all-time favorites and affords one of the best views of the Seattle skyline available. There are paved feet and wheels trails the whole way -- like Green Lake, you will see all kids of oblivious morons walking in the bike lane. The huge signs and markings on the trails seemingly too complex for them to grasp.

It took us a lot less time than I imagined to get all the way around Alki, so when we got to The Celtic Swell, it wasn't quite happy hour yet and the place was practically empty. Link was content to sit outside in their fenced area while we parked by the window inside and watched him absorb attention from countless passers-by.

Beer makes me a genius.

I didn't know anything about this place other than what I read on their website. It sits perfectly placed on the way to Porterhouse and I'm a sucker for a good Irish Pub, so I decided that I needed to investigate. For an Irish pub, the beer selection was better than I expected. It definitely had the usuals like Guinness, Smithwick's, Carlsberg, Harp, etc., but it was balanced with Odin, Ninkasi, and Pyramid.  Mandy ordered a Guinness, Odin's Gift for me and the bill was $12.10. *gulp* We're still not sure how it came to that, even after talking to the very swell bartender. I should have asked for a receipt.  (UPDATE: over two years later, now I get it.  $6 for the Guinness, $5 for the Odin, + tax = $12.10.  Seems about right for non-happy hour.  My apologies to the Celtic Swell.  I am an idiot.)

From there, we continued along the water south to Alki Point where I hoped to get a good look at, or maybe even a tour, of the lighthouse there. Unfortunately, it is only open from June-August. With all of the "Department of Homeland Security" signs around, I elected to skip any picture-taking and move on. (I don't want to go to jail. They pee in a cup and throw it on you. I saw it in a movie.)

El Barto

So it was on to Porterhouse via a nice, gradual climb up SW Avalon to California Ave. SW. Mandy and I had to pee so bad that we had our heads down as we marched up the hill at better-than-usual pace. I don't think we said a word to each other the whole way, other than chiding ourselves for not going before we left the Celtic Swell. There were some very nice houses and lovely views of the sound, but all I could think about was pissing my pants.

Miraculously, we arrived at Porterhouse soaked only in sweat. I ordered up a plate of their ridiculously tasty truffle-parmesan shoestring fries and began to examine their always great tap list. Both Mandy and I went with the Firestone Walker Reserve Porter while Link relaxed right outside our window (they do have outdoor seating, but it wasn't open yet). 

While waiting for our fries, I decided to accost the bartender Greg for not hiring me at my job interview there a week earlier. He took my lame pestering with good humor, but it was a little awkward. Being a manager sucks sometimes. We chatted a little about Everybody's Brewing. I had their Country Boy IPA the week before and really liked it and was anxious to try their Daily Bread Common Ale. I think he was relieved when I left him alone. I can't wait to go back and try their burgers.  (UPDATE: Porterhouse West Seattle is closed, but Porterhouse Mt. Vernon is still alive and kicking.)

Seattle and Harbor Island... just thought I'd toss it in somewhere...

From Porterhose, it's a little less than a mile to Prost! West Seattle. Like their Phinney Ridge namesake tavern, they have a small area out front to sit, but again, it was not yet open. Link made himself at home out here as he has become so accustomed to doing while we enjoyed our big, beautiful glasses of weissbier -- me the Hacker Pschorr, Mandy the Franziskaner. It felt really good to know that the hardest part of the hike was behind us and it was only flat and straight from here on out.

As we walked from Prost! to Elliott Bay Brewing, I saw the first star of the night over the western horizon and made a wish. I don't want to tell you what it was because it was dirty and I'm rather shy.

Smilin' dog

Elliott Bay Brewing was as busy as I expected it to be on a Friday night at prime time. (There was barely room for us at the bar and Link had to be content to be hitched to the lamp post right outside where he received plenty of attention from the many passers-by and people waiting for a table.) EBBC has a really good following and deservedly so. They always have plenty of good beer offerings -- their own and guest taps -- and the food and service have been tops every time I've visited. Seven second story: One time a couple of years ago a friend of mine got drunk and surly there and I almost punched his lights out for embarrassing me. I always feel very at home there. If I lived closer, I would be in the mug club and everyone there would know my name.

Our last stop was about a half mile down California Ave. SW and is one of the best beer places in the world for my money, Beveridge Place Pub. They have gone out of their way to make this place like a living-room-away-from-home and are dog friendly to boot (since they don't serve food.) The tap list is almost always too much for me to ingest, so I just take the first thing I see that I want rather than waste precious time trying to decide.

 Check out my mad photography skillz!

For a Friday night it was rather calm. I have only ever been there earlier in the week and expected a madhouse, but it was a lively, but mature atmosphere. No loud-mouth dipshit douchebags, thank God.

Link, Mandy and I were tired, but happy. I had my first Green Flash Le Freak and Mandy her La Folie. A little pasta from our go-to food place, nearby Abondanza, and we were complete.

8.65 miles. Not bad.

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