Beardslee Public House is the latest crowd-pleaser from the accomplished restaurateur.
Every table at Beardslee Public House was made from a 200-foot red sequoia that was planted in the 1940s and cut down during construction of The Village at Beardslee Crossing, a new retail-and-apartment complex in booming Bothell.
They needed a lot of wood to furnish this 10,000-square-foot behemoth of a brewpub. It’s so vast, the 230-seat dining room is practically in a different ZIP code from the bar and lounge. At peak hours, the noise level rivals a high-school gymnasium during a championship game.
“We wanted it to be lively, but the volume is higher than we want,” co-proprietor John Howie said in an email. “We are working on getting some sound-absorption work done.”
Beardslee Public House ★★
19116 Beardslee Blvd., Bothell
Reservations: accepted for groups of 10 or more
Hours: lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; dinner 3-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 3-9 p.m. Sunday
Prices: soups, salads, starters $6-$15; pizza, burgers, sausages, fish and chips $9-$18
Drinks: house brews; cocktails and spirits; limited wine selection
Service: cheerful and efficient
Parking: free on site
Sound: deafening in the dining room; slightly less so in the bar and lounge
Who should go: beer nuts, their families and friends
Credit cards: all major
Access: no obstacles
It’s a bit quieter in the 70-seat bar and lounge, especially at the fringes and near the fireplace, but don’t let visions of a cozy hearth mislead you: Beardslee is not a public house in Ye Olde English sense. It’s a 21st-century suburban pub with concrete floors, garage doors, steampunk fixtures, metal chairs, tin plates and caddies on each table full of flatware, paper napkins and condiments.
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Definitely come for a beer. The selection is all ales, all made here, no guest taps. Head brewer Drew Cluley, formerly of Seattle’s Pike Brewing and Ballard’s Big Time Brewing, makes eight or 10 core beers, plus a couple of seasonal brews. A $2 taster glass or a $10 taster tray of six can help you make up your mind. I would happily drink any of them but was especially fond of the lively Four Ginger IPA and the dry, malty Knuckle Boom ESB.
The short wine list spotlights Washington tap wines. Cocktails feature a fine barrel-aged Negroni made with an early batch of Kur gin. More will be on the way soon from the attached distillery, Wildwood Spirits, which officially opens this week after a lengthy permitting process. Like the pub, which opened in August, the distillery is a partnership between Howie and his longtime beverage director, Erik Liedholm, who is also chief distiller.
Executive chef Jed Laprade heads the busy kitchen. The menu zeros in on the foods you’d expect: pretzels, burgers, pizza, sausages, fish and chips. A gluten-free menu and a kids menu are available, too. “Final health-department approval has just come through for a charcuterie kitchen,” Howie says, “so that section of the menu will improve greatly over the next month.”
All the sausages are house-made. The current selection includes a mild pork-and-veal bratwurst that I enjoyed as part of a sampler of two. My other choice, a spicy Italian pork sausage, was finely ground and a bit dry. It might have fared better swaddled in marinara and encased in a roll, which is an option. A beef-and-pork hot link served on a mustard-slathered pretzel roll piled high with sliced pepperoncini, was just right, but it’s not for timid tongues.
The pretzel rolls, burger buns and pizza dough are house-made. (Gluten-free buns are not). The Burger’s soft potato bun just managed to contain the juices gushing from a prime beef patty topped with creamy smoked onion spread. Herbed aioli dressed the veggie burger, a soft, pudgy patty blending black-eyed peas, kale, quinoa and sweet potato, but a heavy dose of pepper muted the flavor of the burger and the condiment.
Pizza dough gets its robust flavor from a mix of grains: barley malt, rye flour, semolina and wheat germ. The crust is thin, but with a bread-like chew that was especially nice under a thin carpet of fontina and pecorino marked with a fragrant trail of minced herbs and thinly shaved mushrooms.
Spent brewing grains boost the flavor of soft, warm pretzels, served with a trio of dips that range from cloying cinnamon-honey butter to pungent whole-grain mustard to a luxuriously fondue-like smoked Gouda.
Precisely cut rectangles of ale-battered halibut crusty with panko co-star with hand-cut, skin-on fries in the exemplary fish and chips. I like the zesty house ketchup, though I prefer a chunkier tartar sauce to the gritty one here.
Pair of pretzels $7
Prime beef burger $9.50
Hot link on a pretzel roll $9
Quattro funghi pizza $14
Halibut fish and chips $18
Sides other than fries include slender golden onion rings, dill-flecked coleslaw sweetened with Craisins, and potato salad spiked with a spicy brown Creole mustard. Not a dud in the bunch.
A Greek quinoa salad mixes cucumber, kalamatas, tomato, red onion and chopped pepperoncini with the grains. It’s a great idea, but was so salty I gave up after a few bites. The house salad was simple but generous. Dressings are served on the side, because that’s the way so many request it, but they will toss your salad if you ask.
For openers, try the elegant, pickled-vegetable assortment. Crisp, tart and a little spicy, the array included fennel, cauliflower, beets, baby carrots and haricots verts. The not-quite-jerky, not-quite-bresaola, kalbi pork “meat candy” is a popular choice, but its appeal eluded me.
The allure of crème brûlée under a thick bourbon-spiked burnt-sugar crust was lessened by custard that was too loose and too cold, but even the most curmudgeonly critic would succumb to the skillet-baked chocolate chip cookie, its middle gooey and warm under a melt of vanilla ice cream.