Home > Restaurants > Jolly Roger Taproom – 1/28/2011

Jolly Roger Taproom – 1/28/2011


Location: 1111 NW Ballard Way

Hours: Mon-Wed: 11:30-10

Thurs: 11:30-11

Fri – Sat: 11:30-12

Sun: 12-9

Happy Hour: Mon-Fri: 3-6

A co-worker of J’s suggested we visit Maritime Brewery’s Jolly Roger Taproom as our next Ballard restaurant. He knew that J would be tempted by something that I think only this one restaurant in Ballard has, deep fried bacon. J loves bacon so he was sold immediately.

Since neither of us was particularly hungry for entrees, we decided to order a few items from the happy hour menu, all appetizers. The Jolly Roger is kind of known more for their beer, appetizers and sliders than for their entrees.

Supposedly the Jolly Roger is a pirate themed bar but other than a couple of flags and one customer who was wearing a pirate hat, it wasn’t overwhelming. The painted sea map that covers the entire floor of the restaurant is very cool.

The Service:

Pretty good. The waitress suggested a pilsner when I asked for a lighter flavored beer and her suggestion was right on the money. She was fairly attentive even though by the time we left the place was almost full.

The Drinks:

J got a Blackthorn cider since he doesn’t drink beer and I had the Portage Bay Pilsner. I really liked the pilsner and will probably see if any of the local supermarkets have it for sale. The Jolly Roger only offers beer, cider and wine. No hard liquor. J takes issue with no rum being sold at a pirate themed bar.

The Food:

We ordered 4 appetizers.

Beer Batter Bacon: Bacon deep fried in your typical beer batter. Puffy batter that was good but a little greasy, at least in my opinion. That may have been from the bacon as much as the fry grease. The bacon they use is pepper crusted, which definitely helped the flavor. I would have preferred it be cooked a little longer but J loved it. The menu said it was a smaller number than their regular appetizer at 3 pieces. I could not imagine trying to eat more than the one and a half pieces I had.

Buffalo Clam Strips: We ordered this off the happy hour menu because it sounded interesting. Basically fried clam strips in a buffalo chicken wing batter. It was okay. Slightly spicy with good flavor and texture. The clams weren’t rubbery. The only issue was that they got cold rather quickly. We decided it was good to try but we wouldn’t order it again.

Smokers: Onion rings smoked over apple wood and hops then breaded and fried. In my opinion the best thing of the night. The smoked flavor wasn’t overwhelming but added a flavor dimension I’ve never found in an onion ring. The onions kept a snap to them and wasn’t slimy as we’ve found in other rings. It came with a tasty roasted jalapeno tartar sauce.

Lil’ Jolly Royal: Three beef sliders with cheese. I’m not usually a fan of sliders. To me they usually lack flavor and tend to seem thrown together. If I want a hamburger, I’ll order a normal sized hamburger. These were actually good. A nice flavor to the meat. Good portion of cheese with a bit of sautéed onion on top. The buns had a pretzel bread flavor to them that was very good. The stone-ground mustard that came as a condiment was okay. I like my mustard with a bit more bite.

The Price:

Blackthorn Cider: $4.00

Portage Bay Pilsner: $4.50

Beer Batter Bacon: $3.50 (Happy Hour price)

Buffalo Clam Strips: $3.95 (Happy Hour price)

Smokers: $3.95 small order

Lil’ Jolly Royal: $5.75 for three

The Verdict:

Good bar food. The Smokers are the best onion rings I’ve had in Seattle. I might try their lunch menu someday in the future but their dinner entrees seemed a bit pricey for a taproom. We will most likely go back for happy hour since the prices and food were good and even at smaller orders it was more than filling. Although next time I will order a salad to counteract all the fried food.

  1. Dawn
    January 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Deepfriedbeerbatteredbacon. Good grief. My arteries are clogging just thinking about it. Not to say that I wouldn’t try it, and I bet it’s actually pretty good if the bacon is nice and crispy. But good grief. ; )

  2. Joe
    May 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I miss the old taproom but it was so small it was hard to get a seat in there at times.
    Definitely try the entrees — yes, they are expensive for “pub food” but that’s because they aren’t pub food. They’re quality dishes that belong in a “better” restaurant that just happen to be available in a brewpub.

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