The guys behind The Dray in Ballard have been squirreling away some special beer to celebrate their 4th anniversary and Seattle Beer Week.

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For years, the guys behind The Dray have been squirreling away some limited releases and special kegs just for this Saturday. It’s the bar’s fourth-anniversary bash and the bar’s featured event for Seattle Beer Week (May 10-20).

They are reaching deep into that cooler for the occasion — a 2009 sour beer from Russian River Brewing and other cult brands from 2010 will be on tap. There will be barrel-aged beers, all the rage around town — Black Diamond Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Peak XV and a rye barrel-aged brew from Boulevard Brewing.

The Dray is one of our city’s great neighborhood bars, a cozy gem in Ballard, started by two buddies from the University of Washington, Jamie Burler and Travis Eaton. It’s their nod to the European soccer bars. But it doesn’t seem contrived or pretentious.

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That’s not easy to pull off. For a neighborhood bar, I think The Dray gets it about right. It doesn’t seem highfalutin despite its worldly beer list. It’s a dog-friendly bar. And except for Mondays, the door opens at 11 a.m. so folks can grab a latte and read the paper or catch a soccer game from the English Premier League on the flat screens.

There’s no kitchen, but some decent pressed sandwiches get made behind the bar counter.

The décor is understated. The aesthetic is definitely Northwest — the reclaimed wood panels, the rustic pieces.

The Dray is about the size of a Capitol Hill studio apartment, outfitted with an espresso machine, 12 taps and a panini press. But it’s cozy, not claustrophobic.

It will be a different story come Saturday, though, when hundreds of beer fans pack in here. The Dray will clear the back parking lot for the crowd and fire up the grill for the bash (from 11 a.m. to about 5 p.m.)

The Dray, 708 N.W. 65th St., offers happy hour weekdays from 3-6 p.m. with $1 off draft (206-453-4527 or

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.

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