Great Food, Drink and Character at Ballard's Brunswick & Hunt

The quest for storied drinks and worthy eats ends at Ballard’s Brunswick & Hunt
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About 20 feet off Ballard’s busy 15th Avenue, and a few blocks west along the stretch of 70th Street that houses Delancey pizzeria, The Fat Hen and other hits, sits Brunswick & Hunt (1480 NW 70th St.; 206.946.1574; brunswickandhunt.com). A giant mirror framed by delicately carved wood is the first thing you’ll notice, and while the deep green leather and crushed velvet booths in the dining area look inviting, I can’t see how you’d forgo bellying up to the bar.

Owners and brothers Barry Rogel (of DeLuxe Bar & Grill) and Scott Rogel (of the Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar) found the antique wooden bar on Craigslist. Made in Iowa by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. (which has made everything from bars to billiard tables to bowling balls since 1845), the bar’s two sections were installed in a tavern in Winlock, Washington, in the early 1900s, where they sat across from a large circa-1900s painting by R.J. Bocense called “The Hunt.” Today, you’ll see that same painting—and another by Bocense—on the wall opposite the bar. This means that the bar and painting have been together (hence the name) for more than 100 years. That, friends, is a great bar story.

But it wouldn’t mean much if the drinks weren’t worth talking about. Bar manager Eric Holmquist, imported from Scottsdale, Arizona (where he worked at AZ/88), has put together a solid cocktail menu and spirit selection. At my visit, there were 10 drinks on the rotating list of featured cocktails, ranging from classically inspired but cheekily named, such as the Whore’s Neck ($8), with Salignac cognac, ginger beer and lemon bitters, to drinks named after the bar’s mythos, including the Bocense ($12), which artistically mingles George T. Stagg bourbon with Cointreau, a hint of absinthe, French bitter-ish aperitif Suze and a lemon twist.

You’ll also find eight beers on tap, and 10–15 wines by the glass.

The food from chef Jeffrey Davidson (of Ray’s, Vios and Bastille) steers toward serious carnivore hits, such as braised pork shank on farro and topped with oven-roasted tomatoes and chèvre ($24), and fried chicken (brined, cooked sous vide, dredged in buttermilk, spices and flour and flash fried, $22). Small veggie sides are highlights too. The combination of food, drink and character makes Brunswick & Hunt an excellent addition to one of the tastiest blocks in the city.