Thursday, June 10, 2010
Bar #5: The Noble Fir - Ballard
After trying three Capitol Hill cocktail bars, I decided to take EBIS back into my beer comfort zone. So I headed to Ballard to check out The Noble Fir, a brand new tavern featuring beer, wine, cider and a love of the outdoors.
The bar's small interior feels spacious, due to high ceilings and huge floor-to-ceiling windows. Nice as it looks, the airiness and the bright lighting, even at night, kept it from having the warm, comfortable feeling I look for in a bar. The bartop, tables and booths are wood and there's a cool reading nook with bookcases full of outdoor books.
Behind the bar, there are sixteen taps and a small selection of bottled beer, wine and cider. There's also a food menu with small plates of meat and cheese, sandwiches and a few sweet snacks (with lots of vegetarian options). The beer selection is solid but not extraordinary. Around half the beers are from Oregon and Washington and lean toward the hoppy. There are also three ciders on tap. I had a Double Mountain India Red Ale.
My friend Ian ordered tea instead of beer because of a dry-out pact with his lady that started the day after Seattle Beer Week. While I respect not wanting to lose a bet, it was painful to see him picking through a basket of teas in a bar.
The odd thing about the Fir is that they give change back in dollar coins instead of paper. They say they're doing it to be more environmentally friendly but it pissed off my friend Dean, who tried to use the coins on the bus home and was denied by Metro.
What I liked most is that the Fir uses 20-ounce imperial pints that top out at $5.50. I've seen other places serve the same beers in cheater or shaker pints for higher. Overall, The Noble Fir is a good place to get a real pint of quality beer. It doesn't have the kind of feeling that makes me want to while away the hours, but it's so new that it'll probably develop more of a personality soon.