The laid-back Seattle tavern the Noble Fir features bookshelves full of Lonely Planet guides and walls adorned with trail maps, plus lots of beer and cider choices.

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Happy Hour |

Bars sometimes bring in celebrity athletes to draw crowds. The Noble Fir brought in parks officials from King County.

I’ve seen patrons celebrate there after winning a lottery for a camping permit for The Enchantments area of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

And once, I ordered an IPA and was told $1 of my bill would go to enhance a trail as part of the bar’s “Pints for Parks” donation program.

Do I need to go further to explain what kind of a bar The Noble Fir is?

This neighborhood bar — furniture made out of Douglas fir and Western hemlock, walls lined with topographical and hiking maps — was started by Rick Weersing, who, surprise of surprises, once worked at REI, selling camping gear.

The bar would look right at home inside REI’s flagship store if World Wrapp ever left. The bar’s reading room has shelves filled with Lonely Planet guides and trail maps, and chests that double as coffee tables.

I admit, when I first heard of The Noble Fir, I thought it would reek of pretentiousness — that maybe the bartender would redirect me to the dive bar around the corner because I didn’t don Patagonia first.

But the tavern is laid-back, the crowd not stuffy, the beer pretty good. The Noble Fir is light on food offerings (a few charcuterie and cheese), and heavy on the craft beer. The bar has 18 rotating taps and an extensive bottle selection of local brews and cult brands, such as Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. from Portland.

It also features one of the area’s largest selections of hard cider — about a dozen — including arguably the best cider in the state, the Fire Barrel from Red Barn Cider in Mount Vernon. It’s dry and robust, with hints of butterscotch and oak, from being aged in whiskey barrels.

The Noble Fir, 5316 Ballard Ave. N.W., offers happy hour from 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, with $1 off all ciders and beers on draft and $6 for wine (206-420-7425 or

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