They seem to get bigger and bigger, these malls with their mega bars. Tavern Hall in Bellevue Square is the latest; it’s Dave & Buster’s meets Capitol Hill’s Rhein Haus.
But give the folks behind Tavern Hall this: They put a lot of thought into their signature bar food and constructed a heck of a burger, the best in Bellevue.
It’s smoky and tangy, sweet and salty. There’s Mama Lil’s peppers, sweet onions and a tartarlike sauce for a relishlike spread to contrast with the patty draped in melted American cheese. It’s soft on the outside with the potato bun and crunchy on the inside with the deep-fried battered onions and crispy bacon, a nice mingling of flavors and textures.
The kitchen staff toyed with different cuts of meat before settling on a patty of beef chuck and brisket, the latter to give the burger a hefty, beefy flavor to balance the fat.
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These Tavern Hall investors are the same business minds behind the Cactus chain, Bastille Café & Bar, Poquitos and Rhein Haus — all ambitious Seattle bar/restaurants that anchor their blocks or ’hoods.
In dive-bar-loving Seattle, some Capitol Hill lifers decry these as McMansions with beer. But in downtown Bellevue, Tavern Hall looks like another kid on the block, a skybridge from Lucky Strike, Parlor and a dozen other big chains.
There are 23 flat-screens spread across two bars, each with 20 craft beers on tap. The man-cave lounge area includes leather couches, a fireplace, shuffleboards and darts.
At $9 and cheaper, the stellar craft-cocktails are underpriced and still, I hardly saw anyone order anything but a Moscow Mule.
Surprisingly, it’s not that rowdy for a sports bar, at least it wasn’t during the UW vs. Oregon football game.
It looks and feels like any popular Capitol Hill bar at 6 on a Friday, except the patrons are dressed better here, and no one complains about paying $11 for a third-pound burger that doesn’t even come with fries ($3 extra).
Tavern Hall, 700 Bellevue Way N.E., offers happy hour daily from 3-6 p.m. and again 10 p.m. to closing. with $4-$8 food, $4 select beer and $7-$8 cocktails (425-454-7500 or tavern-hall.com).