Brave Horse Tavern—Tom Douglas's New Money Factory
Seattle restaurant mogul Tom Douglas (aka T-Doug) turned his shaggy head and saw the shiny new biotech towers and biotech-person-storing condominiums of South Lake Union. "They will need food and beverage, these well-paid workers of the future!" he thought. And so it was done.
Douglas's brand-newest places are all in the same brick building, marooned among the fresh shininesses on Terry between Denny and Mercer. Here, you will now find his (1) Italian restaurant, with a pasta-making theater and a chef from vaunted Cafe Juanita; (2) upscale beer hall, specializing in malt-boiled, hearth-roasted Brick Oven Pretzels, up to $11 each with elaborate accompaniments; (3) Tibetan handmade-dumpling-and-noodle house, graced with the likeness of the Dalai Lama and an imported Tibetan chef; and (4) casu-marzu-on-a-stick stand, bringing Seattle the live-insect-larvae-impregnated Sardinian cheese in a convenient portable form.
My father and I visited number 2, Brave Horse Tavern, last Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. (Number 1 is called Cuoco, 3: Ting Momo, and 4: made up.) Brave Horse is a large space made of bricks and wood, and it was full of very loud early adopters to a degree that might concern the fire marshal. My father and I shouted at each other across a communal table. A muffled bass line was barely audible. "Music!" my dad said. "They should turn it up so we can hear it and then kill ourselves!"
Over my father's shoulder, other mature persons could be seen entering Brave Horse, blanching, and departing, while the tide of young urban professionals flooded in undaunted. Multiple instances of high-fiving were witnessed, especially near the shuffleboard tables. My father's spirits were raised considerably by a very hoppy Brave Horse IPA (made by Schooner Exact, $6—six dollars—per pint). "I like it," he yelled. Everybody was enjoying T-Doug's new money factory.
We took in what we could see of the room around and between the mobs of people—weathered wood, rusty milk cans, antique hobbyhorses, an old BEER/LIQUOR sign. A pretzel was tested. It was pretzelly. A cold crab dip (called "Mom's," but she makes hers hot) served with Ritz crackers (less har-har with Dad there) was satisfyingly creamy, with pieces of Dungeness and bits of pickled hard-boiled egg. The Brave Horse bratwurst was excessively mild, requiring slatherings of three mustards; a small Painted Hills burger pre-spread with barbecue sauce was just fine, and only $6.
We yelled at each other about the remarkably timely service, given the situation; a British neighbor yelled that they must have a system, which sounded like a scientific observation due to his accent.
"This place should be a gold mine," my dad shouted.