Brave Horse Tavern, a Fun and Noisy Pub

Tom Douglas's rowdy beer hall, where the food's better than it needs to be.
Allison Austin Scheff  |   August 2011   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
SLU’s upscale pub: Brave Horse Tavern

South Lake Union is a neighborhood that barely existed five years ago, and so we’ve watched as the essentials have been checked off steadily over the years. Good coffee at Vivace. Check! Cozy lunch spots: Nollie’s, Yellow Dot, Row House Cafe. Check! And now, thanks to Tom Douglas, we can check rowdy college pub (for grownups) off our lists.

The Brave Horse Tavern is refreshingly easy to hang out in. There are two shuffleboard tables, long communal tables that require slim hips to maneuver when the room is at capacity (and it almost always is after about 4 p.m.), and a big bar where the focus is on local microbrews.

That’s where we get our first reminder that this isn’t just any fun, noisy, vibrant pub: This is a Tom Douglas pub, and that pint is gonna cost you $6. Really. (Pitchers, however, are $16; that’s the way to go here.)

Our second reminder: the beer-boiled pretzels. They’re $4 each (with three homemade mustards for dipping), but they are awesome. Go with the pretzel sampler: two soft, chewy, piping-hot pretzels served with three spreads for $10.

And then order one of the insanely good burgers: They start at $6 for local chuck cooked to a moist medium with a light smear of barbecue sauce, but you can gussy it up with sautéed onions, bacon and more for a buck or two.

Brunch Sat.–Sun., lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner nightly. South Lake Union, 310 Terry Ave. N (upstairs); 206.971-0717; bravehorsetavern.com. $$