As any Seattle local can tell you, if you are looking for an area saturated with some of the top fare and cocktails in the city, you need look no farther than the once sleepy Scandinavian fishing community of Ballard. An area now among the most chic and dynamic in Seattle, it has set itself apart with some of the top dining and imbibing opportunities in a city talked about nationwide in this regard. Fresh farm to table produce accompanied by innovative and delicious cocktails are the norm in Ballard with new and innovative establishments opening up every week. Less than a mile from the foodie-frenzy of Market St, located in the W.E. Hunt building and adorned with an exquisite Brunswick wooden back bar, can be found the Brunswick & Hunt (B&H).
Brunswick & Hunt is a somewhat recently established Ballard stop with excellent staff and a menu and quality that holds its own with any of the venues in the area. Upon my stop into B&H, I had the opportunity to sample various options on their farm to table menu and take part in a duo of whisk(e)y tasting events. My proclivities lean towards the carnivore end of the spectrum and I was not disappointed by what B&H had to offer. While not an item that is commonly found on menus in Seattle or most other cites, I found the preparation and presentation of the Beef Tongue, terrine, and pate to be excellent and a must have for the adventurous Seattle food lover. The Pork Short Rib with baked beans, house made kielbasa, and freshly prepared cabbage came in a large and very satisfying portion with a combination of flavors balanced out well by Chef Eric Anderson. I should note that several vegan and gluten free options were also available to discerning diners. These were delivered with equal presentation and consumed with enthusiasm by several of my fellow bar-mates. While my visit was one of whisk(e)y focus for this trip B&H has a selection of various and excellent beers comparable to those found in most Seattle bars and the entire selection of spirits usually found around town.
The evening’s cocktails came from two well established distilleries, the first of which being Collingwood; Canada’s longest continuously owned and operated distillery. Collingwood is a uniquely toasted maplewood-finished Canadian whisky with a surprisingly sweet nose but extremely smooth and mellow finish. After enjoying a lovely glass of this exceptional Canadian whisky, I can state without reservation that it will be added to my personal collection of must-serves. While I did enjoy Collingwood “neat,” its smooth and complex flavor does make it ideal for any and all of the traditional and innovative whisky cocktails being served at B&H. Any Collingwood neophyte will be impressed with this delicious option, with my only regret being I had not found it sooner.
Speaking of innovative cocktails, my other pleasant surprise for the evening at B&H was my introduction to the artistic mixology being served up by guest bartender Ryan Lobe, of the Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. Ryan’s palate on this evening came from the folks at Jack Daniel’s, a small but up-and-coming distillery in Tennessee (!). Specifically, Ryan was serving cocktails based off the distillery’s Single Barrel Collection of Single Barrel Select, Single Barrel Barrel Proof, and Single Barrel Rye. Long known as one of the Gold Standards of American whiskey, none of these selections disappointed when again consumed neat or in one of Ryan’s masterfully constructed cocktails. If you have been hesitant to stray from the Old No. 7 into the higher echelons of the Jack Daniel’s spectrum, I suggest you get over your fears soon, the Barrel Collection is wonderful. The various ingredients and techniques Ryan used to present his cocktails are too numerous to be listed here, but did include such things as fresh berries, smoke infused from burning applewood wood-chips, and a selection of juices and mixers from around the world. With Ryan’s skills and passion, I am quite sure that Blind Tiger Cocktails will continue to be a staple of the Seattle bar scene for some time to come.
My evening at B&H was one that came to an end all too soon. While Ballard offers an almost infinite number of places to eat and drink, B&H is one that should not be missed. With a friendly staff, a wide selection of great spirits and excellent food B&H offers a marvelous atmosphere and lovely décor. I found parking to be readily available, by Ballard standards, and well worth the short jaunt from the traditional stomping grounds of Ballard Ave. I would encourage Ballard veterans and novices alike to stop in for a happy-hour, dinner, late night drinks, or weekend brunch, you shall not be disappointed!
Brunswick & Hunt
1480 NW 70th St
Seattle, WA 98117
Ph. (206) 946-1574