8oz. Burger Bar looks like a saloon conceived in the pages of a hipster’s Moleskine notebook.
There are wood planks and a trendy concrete floor. Handlebars and bike seats are rendered as an ersatz longhorn sculpture. And cans of Blatz and burlap potato sacks line a wall in a stab at both irony and authenticity. (However, this may not be a distinction worth attempting anymore.)
What the heck kind of frontier mashup did I walk into?
8oz. certainly isn’t Western and neither is its food.
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Its building blocks, though, are classic Americana: burgers, fries and shakes.
Shakes here get spiked with whiskey. Fries have the crunchy texture of Cheetos, served as a side or as poutine, crowned with beef cheeks and coated with short-rib gravy and cheese. It’s addicting.
The signature dish, unsurprisingly, is its namesake, souped up with Beecher’s cheddar, bacon and balsamic onions and redolent of truffle oil. It’s one of the best burgers on Capitol Hill.
Celebrity chef Govind Armstrong started this national chain, though he has few fingerprints on the branch in Seattle. Kevin Chung, former owner of Magnolia Village Pub, runs it, which explains why Seattle’s 8oz. little resembles the now-defunct 8oz. branch in West Hollywood that I visited five years ago.
It’s a little bit of everything here; some Asian-inspired grub — kimchi pork belly and banh mi burger. Some happy-hour food with a Southern accent — fried green tomatoes, bacon mac and cheese. The latter lacked the gooey goodness you would expect from comfort food. But the mac was the only miss. The bar food is solid.
And the cocktails are underrated. It’s not a candy cocktail kinda place. Drinks are more boozy, including a smoky take on the Michelada that originated from the famous speak-easy style bar PDT in the East Village.
The décor falls between kitschy and chic, but the place doesn’t take itself too seriously. No hokey music, thank goodness. Just a solid burger joint. And you know to get that burger medium, right?
8oz. Burger Bar, 1401 Broadway, offers happy hour 4-6 p.m. daily and again from 10 p.m. to at least 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 p.m. to at least midnight Friday and Saturday with $3-$11 food menu, and $3 beer, $5 well drinks and $6 wine (206-466-5989 or www.8ozburgerbarsea.com).
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle