Though it's walking distance from both Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, The Hawk's Nest makes the decision between facing the crowds at the stadium and staying indoors to watch the game with a beer and a burger a challenging one. The Seahawks, Sounders, and Mariners mecca, though lined with team paraphernalia and TVs displaying NFL Sunday Ticket, serves a more upscale spread than you might find at other sports bars. Chefs charbroil Misty Isle natural beef burgers with unique ingredients such as brie, peanut butter, and pineapple, and plate gourmet entrees of steamed clams and portabello goat-cheese sandwiches. Even the beer list is elevated—local microbrews and a rotating IPA populate the taps, though sports fans can always order up a bucket of Bud, Coors, or Miller bottles to accompany hollered insults at the TV's tiny referees. The bar is also a proud advocate for Ronald McDonald House and the Mittens For The Masses charity.
If Ballard Loft feels somewhat reminiscent of a renovated machine shop, well, that’s because it used to be an actual machine shop. Remnants of the building’s former occupation live on in several forms. A garage door opens to an outdoor patio alongside Ballard Avenue, and a retired jib hangs from the ceiling after a career spent hoisting heavy equipment and slumbering mechanics skyward.
Amidst this working man’s vibe, diners sit down to a substantial menu that includes sliders, wings, sandwiches, and a rotating menu of fresh food specials. The hearty meals are fitting for an area such as Salmon Bay, with its storied history of logging mills and maritime industry. But today, inside the Loft, those same meals are far more likely to fuel rounds of shuffleboard, pool, or darts or friendly competition during Tuesday night trivia.
NYP Restaurant & Bar's culinary masterminds concoct cuisine ranging from hand-tossed pizzas slathered with homemade sauce to gourmet Angus burgers grilled to customer specifications. Working in tandem with bartenders, the chefs complement each tomato-topped pie or pasta dish with craft cocktails and 20 different signature martinis such as the Tsunami––a surge of coconut rum, vodka, peach schnapps, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and mist. They also serve local craft beers. For some mealtime entertainment, TVs located in the bar and in the restaurant show local sports teams such as the Seahawks and Sounders.
Stocked with nearly 40 TVs, Sport ensures that your multiple eye implants won't miss any ongoing sports action. A 130" HD flat-screen looms above the bar, and each booth has individual 17" LCD HDTVs, bestowing channel-controlling power to any human operating under their own willpower. Chef John Howie's menu features standard pub grub with an upscale twist for tucking into while cheering on. Thick New England clam chowder wrestles tender sea clams, red potatoes, and smoky bacon in a victorious rich, creamy clam broth ($3/cup, $9.50/large bowl), while a mouth-melting fire-grilled Kobe-beef burger is served on a toasted brioche bun with roasted-onion spread ($14). Barbecue-chicken pizza rounds up applewood-smoked chicken and sweet bell peppers, lassoing them together with fontina and mozzarella cheeses ($9–$12.50). Soothe shout-hoarsened throats with a variety of local and imported tap beers, wine, or specialty cocktails.
The clever chefs of Spitfire’s kitchens ingeniously upgrade mom’s home cooking with fine ingredients and gourmet cooking techniques. The kitchen sends out handcrafted treats such as classic Reuben sandwiches sporting coats of gruyere cheese, and sliders concealing organic beef or falafel patties. The drinks at Spitfire are similarly creative, as mixologists shake and stir 11 house cocktails such as the steamy Snickers-and-coffee drink that beckons memories of the days when candy was currency and shoelaces were the enemy.
Twenty-two 42-inch plasma televisions glimmer from the dining-room walls, aided by one 100-inch and two 150-inch high-definition projection screens. Capable of playing 23 games at once from full-coverage sports networks across the globe, the mighty river of digital information shows off the latest action from NFL Sunday Ticket, Fox Soccer, and ESPN Mathletes. Elsewhere, paintings and natural materials take over the walls, with exposed brick and raw wood patterning diners’ backgrounds.
It’s no surprise that, at a place called “Auto Battery,” you can get a jump-start or some anti-freeze. What might be a surprise is that these are the names of drinks, and Auto Battery is a bar—a bar that decided to take on the name of the space’s previous tenant. Aside from that, though, not much of Auto Battery maintains the vibe of the garage. Nine flat-screen televisions dangle from the walls, typically projecting collegiate and professional match-ups that feature a Washington-area team. The staff looks out for non-sports fans, too; their space features shuffleboard and pool tables, skee-ball, Nintendo Wii, and a large patio. Auto Battery’s selection of specialty po dogs can certainly keep guests entertained, too: the po-roll, for one, takes on a sushi-like identity, as it’s wrapped in sushi rice paper that’s etched with tiny gills so it looks like a fish.