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Kelly O’Briens – 9/18/11 – Closed

Website

Location: 5410 17th Ave NW

Hours:

Mon-Fri: 4pm-2am

Sat-Sun: 12pm-2am

Tucked in a tiny space in the shadow of the Leva condos, Kelly O’Briens is one of the few bars located at the east end of Market street. It’s an Irish bar complete with Irish football jerseys, flags, and posters on the walls and a menu that includes shepherd’s pie and fish and chips. Along one wall is a huge, wood bar and on the other is high benches giving the place a cozy, pub feel.

The Service:

The bartender/server/owner? gets brownie points for commenting on J’s D&D t-shirt, having played Vampire: The Masquerade and reading fantasy authors like George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss. Service was friendly and quick.

The Drinks:

I ordered a cider, which turned out to be a Magner’s Irish Cider. Not one of my favorites since I prefer a dry cider to a sweet one.

J, as usual, chose a Long Island Iced Tea. After a sip, he said it was more like a Long Island Lemonade. J liked the lemonade quality but it just wasn’t a true Long Island.

The Food:

I had the Shepherd’s Pie, ground lamb, peas, onion, and carrots topped with mashers. The tidy bowl of shepherd’s pie came out piping hot and remained so throughout our meal. The mashed potatoes were a bit dry and not nearly buttery enough for my taste. The stew part, though, was pretty good, with lots of lamb. The rich gravy needed a little salt due to the sweetness of the lamb and nowhere near as greasy as other shepherd’s pie I’ve tried … The Old Pequliar, I’m looking at you.

J ordered the Fish and Chips, Guinness battered cod with batter tossed French fries. The cod was merely okay in both flavor and portion size. The fries, on the other hand, were great. Hand-cut potatoes tossed in a little batter to give them extra crispness. Crunchy on the outside and creamy inside.

The Price:

Magner’s Irish Cider: 4.00

Long Island Iced Tea: 8.50

Shepherd’s Pie: 8.00

Fish and Chips: 8.00

The Verdict:

We really liked the neighborhood bar feel to Kelly O’Briens even though the food was just typical pub fare. We’ve had better and worse in Ballard. They could definitely improve on some of the food … J likes the fish at Market Arms better … But the French fries were great.

Considering that Kelly O’Briens is nearer to our apartment than most of Ballard’s bars, we’ll go back at some point. J and I are curious about the happy hour menu which includes a few items, like mini corn dogs, curry fries, and lamb sliders, not found elsewhere in Ballard. And the bartender is a fantasy, gamer dude, which automatically gives the place extra points in our book.

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The Old Pequliar – 2/6/2011

No website.

Location: 1722 NW Market St.

Hours:

Mon-Fri: 12-2

Sat-Sun: 10-2

The main thing to remember about The Old Pequliar is that it’s primarily a bar. On any given night, it will be filled with people, usually regulars, there to drink and watch whatever happens to be on the multiple TVs, so the clientele can sometimes get a bit douchey, as J would say. That being said, it’s an okay place to grab some bar food on an off night. They also serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The Old Pequliar is supposed to be an Irish pub, but other than a few Irish themed posters, it’s a regular, sometimes sports bar. It can get crowded during sports events and on Tuesday nights when they have what others claim is a really good trivia night. There’s also a separate room with a pool table, darts and a pinball machine. I’d say the uncommon thing about the atmosphere of the Old Pequliar is that nearly every time I have walked past at least one of their TVs is showing something other than sports. Usually it’s one of those horrible SyFy made movies but sometimes it’ll be one of the Lord of the Rings films or Spike TV. It’s just an oddity that I find kind of endearing.

The Service:

The night we went it was great. The waitress was prompt and friendly. When J couldn’t decide what to get, she suggested the Shepherd’s Pie, which turned out great.

Having been to the Old P a number of times before, I’d have to say this was the best service we’ve ever had there. The consistently bad service one of the reasons I tend to avoid the place. It always seems like we sit there for ten minutes before someone acknowledges our presence. If their service has improved, as it seemed to be on the night we went, we’ll probably go a bit more often.

The Drinks:

I had a Strongbow cider, which was good as always. J, as an aficionado of Long Island Iced Teas, ordered one. J’s opinion was it was tasty and strong.

The Food:

J ordered the Shepherd’s Pie, a stew/pot pie made with beef, lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes covered in cheddar cheese. He said the flavor was great and the covering of potatoes kept everything warm. It wasn’t as heavy as he thought it was going to be. He ate the whole thing and didn’t feel like a lead balloon was lodged in his stomach afterwards. All in all, a resounding positive review.

I ordered the Black & Bleu burger, a peppercorn encrusted burger topped with bleu cheese, caramelized onions and HP sauce, served with French fries. The French fries were hot, crispy and topped with just a hint of sea salt. Really good fries. The burger … eh, not so much.

The burger itself was good. I like peppercorn-crusted burgers and the burger alone was a good example. Not overwhelmingly peppery, for me (it may be for others) and the meat was tender. The misstep for this burger was the HP sauce.

For those who’ve never tasted this concoction, it’s the British “brown sauce”. It tastes like a mix of bbq and steak sauce. It’s okay as a condiment but the burger was drenched with the sauce. I could barely taste the onions and bleu cheese through this cloying, vinegary mess. I think the only reason I could taste the burger was because of the peppercorn crust. If they’d only lightly smeared the sauce on the bun, this would have been a pretty good burger but instead it was hard to get through. I did finally end up taking the burger apart and just eating the meat. This is definitely not something I would order again.

The Price:

Long Island Iced Tea: $8.75

Strongbow Cider in a can: $5.00

Shepherd’s Pie: $9.50

Black & Bleu Burger: $9.50

The Verdict:

The Old Pequliar serves serviceable bar food, with special mention going to the French fries and the Shepherd’s Pie. The place is nice when it’s not too crowded and it is novel to go to a bar where you might be able to watch Mega-Cobra vs Gatoroid.