Monday, July 9, 2012

You want authentic Ballard?

For good or for ill, Ballard is being gentrified. The Seattle city fathers have decided: Ballard is to be the new high-density housing area.  And so the Ballard skyline is littered with construction cranes. The sleepy, blue collar marine community is disappearing to make way for hi-rise apartments and condos.

The newcomers are attracted in part to that sleepy, working man atmosphere - an atmosphere which is slowly but surely being over-layed by their future.  In consequence there is a palpable desire to seek out and experience the authentic "Old Ballard", before it goes the way of Fremont.

The Lockspot
Authentic Ballard
Tho there are a lot of places laying claim, there is probably no place more authentic Ballard than the Lockspot Cafe.  It's been there at the Chittenden Locks for more than 90 years - it certainly has the whiskers for being authentic.

There's a story behind the antlers
No, this is not a fancy restaurant, nor is it a fern bar.  This is an honest to goodness pub.  A classic American seaside pub.  Wood paneling, marine kitsch, and a fireplace with a huge moose rack above it (yes, those are champaign corks protecting the patrons from the points).

The Lockspot is not a place to go to "be seen".  Seattle has plenty of those - if that's what you want, you should go to one of them.  If instead, you want the best fish n' chips to be had in Seattle in a comfortable, laid-back, homey environment, this is the place for you.  And as you might expect from a neighborhood establishment, families and kids are frequent patrons.

I'm not sure how, but The Lockspot survived its contact with fame essentially untouched...  it was featured in the "Deadliest Catch" TV series, but the only real evidence of this is that you can buy "Deadliest Bar" T-shirts there.  And a poster signed by the crew of the boats in the series (yes, they are real boats) hangs by the cash register.  As you might expect from a Ballard staple, fame did not go to its head.

Pam & Adolph
We've been coming in for over 15 years - since before we moved to Seattle from Spokane.  For us, this is Ballard's version of Cheers - where everybody knows your name.  Recently, when Jane's cousin's daughter (does that make her a second niece?) Amy won first place in the 10K Olympic Finals, we mentioned this to Adolph, our usual and familiar waiter, because he was paying attention to Olympic track & field events on the TV.  That started a long conversation, which eventually grew to include Pam (the Lockspot's owner) as well.  It's that kind of place.

If you go, tell Pam & Adolph that Bob & Jane say, "Hi!"


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