Lockspot Cafe (Ballard)

3005 NW 54th St
Seattle, Washington 98107
(206) 789-4865

The Lockspot reminds one of a small-town bar—it's got wood paneling, a pool table, and a jukebox bursting with Bob Seger, AC/DC, and Van Halen. The food is pretty good, and kids are welcome. The burgers (including the veggie burger) are especially tasty, and they're served with a generous portion of thick-cut fries. Then, of course, there's the beer—and plenty of it. Also: reportedly good trivia on Mondays. And if you need coffee, there's an adjunct cafe/stand called Nellie's that's open in the morning and early afternoon.
Categories: Bar, Restaurant

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The Stranger's Reviews of Lockspot Cafe


Average Rating:
  • 3.40000/5 Stars.
Reviews/Comments (11) RSS

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Comfortable and classic

Live in Ballard and love the vibe of this old place. For those who love the working class nature of old Ballard this is your place. Good beer, good food.
Posted by Zachary on November 11, 2011 at 9:07 PM · Report this

Finally stopped in.

My grown son and I recently spent an hour or two strolling around the locks and watching various-sized boats rise and fall as they progressed into or out of Lake Union. Ever since the late 1960's I've taken note of the small eatery near the entrance to the Ballard Locks. I found the name 'Lockspot', rather catchy, but more importantly I liked the way it looked. So, after four or five decades of telling myself I was going to eat fish and chips there someday, my son and I decided to go for it. It was late in the afternoon, that 'no-man's land' between lunch and dinner, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. A situation like that can be good or bad. Occasionally the rare late-afternoon customer on a slow day is treated more as a bother than an opportunity to gain repeat business. Not so in this case. The owner was extremely friendly, sharing small talk and a bit of the cafe's history. We were told to sit anywhere we chose. The dark wooden walls combined with the sunlight shining through the large windows made the place seem all the more welcoming as we waited for our fish and chips to arrive. We weren't disappointed; the orders were fresh, hot, and generous. I won't detail the food; all I know is it was good! Living in Central Washington, I don't visit Ballard too much anymore, but I hope to get back to the Lockspot as soon as I can for another helping.
Posted by 2lanepavement on July 14, 2011 at 10:01 AM · Report this

go to taco time instead

Very poor food quality and very disappointing customer service. The only reason this place is in business is its location by the Ballard Locks. This is a tourist only location that cares little about the local patronage. On the rare occasion my wife and I were able to catch a noon lunch together on a weekday; we were rushed out before our food was finished in favor of a busload of children. The server handled the situation carelessly closing my section and hovering over my table waiting to add it to the long rows of already conjoined tables. HORRIBLE DO NOT GO IF YOU EXPECT ANY FORM OF SERVICE AND GRATITUDE.
Posted by mattography on July 28, 2008 at 7:27 PM · Report this
8 Comment Pulled

Still the same?

I'm coming to Seattle 12 June '08 after a long absence, and intend to revisit the Lockspot, scene of one of my greatest moments of happiness, and a week later, one of my greatest bummers. My friend Chuck M. of a Bremerton naval family introduced me to it, and I took my hot girlfriend Dee C. of NE Seattle there several times. In those days you got a sirloin with baked potato in foil with all the trimmings and a wedge of iceberg lettuce with a good bleu cheese dressing. Ambrosia. [I understand the specialty these days is fish 'n' chips, which I'm looking forward to, but what's up with no Guinness? That's just wrong.) Dee and I danced to Jimmy Ruffin's "What's Become of the Broken-hearted" and similar tunes, and it was heaven, and on the way back to the UW, she proposed taking a room at that hotel near I-5, but I couldn't because I didn't have enough money. I guess she took that as a rejection or immaturity or something, because the next weekend we were at the Lockspot she gave the guys the come-hither look and danced with them all and made me feel like sh*t. I had to answer "What's Become of the Broken-hearted". My older women advisors said, well, she wasn't the right kind of girl for me and of course they were right. But she sure was pretty. This was the fall of 1967 and wherever she is I hope she's happy.
Posted by University Bookstore HUB Annex guy on June 11, 2008 at 10:27 PM · Report this

Dont take one bad day as reason not to go there

I live close to the Lockspot and go there all the time. I was in there, with a friend, close to New Years day and they were having a rough day as they were short handed and had a new cook. We got a bunch of free food because he kept misfiring orders. Between the regular staff being off for the holiday and some new staff they hit a bump in the road. I've been back a couple times since and they seem back to normal. Its a shame that someone would have one bad experience, after liking the place, then decide to tell everyone to never go there. The Lockspot is a Ballard institution that has survived for years on good food, nice staff, and good drinks and beer. They will survive the condo rush that is changing the face of Ballard, too. Give them a chance and decide for yourself. I'll never stop going there.
Posted by T Bone on January 29, 2008 at 3:15 PM · Report this


I had eaten at the Lockspot several times over the years and always had great service and good food. Things there have changed. My boyfriend and I went to lunch at the Lock Spot on New Years Day. Our server had the shakes really bad - but she was nice enough. We had no alcohol w/ our meals to account for any of what follows. I had a coke that smelled funny, kind of like mold, and my BF had coffee. The silverware was visibly crusted with old food so we had to switch it out for cleaner looking flat ware, and the restaurant was very dirty, crusted food on chairs and sticky table. We ordered, never-the-less, because I'd always had good food there in the past and the service was always good. BF's fish and chips were smelly, cold and greasy, and my french dip was cold and grey (and our shaky server spilled the cold au jus all over my plate and on the table). Neither of us could finish our meal. We were both violently ill (yes, "the serious runs") within 2 hours after eating and I am still ill today - 2 days later. Do not eat at the Lockspot - it is not worth the chance. That was the worst eating out experience I have had anywhere, in several years. They must have changed managers/owners or something. Pass this along to anyone you know who might frequent the place and tell them to go elsewhere.
Posted by BK_2008 on January 2, 2008 at 3:28 PM · Report this

Service needs help!

With a family of 6 and my older parents in tow we brought them to one of our fave places to have a little dinner. The service was okay, many, many little mistakes, but overall, okay. The fun part of the night was when our waitress confronted my mother about the tip not being high enough... then followed us out into the street and proceeded to ask us if we knew just how hard her job is and if we had ever held the position (I had). VERY, VERY RUDE -- she was lucky we gave her any tip at all (we gave 8%)since some of her mistakes could have cost my parents serious health issues!
Posted by Upset Family on October 6, 2007 at 8:41 PM · Report this

One of my favorite haunts!

I particularly enjoy the salmon chowder, followed by some of the area's very finest fish 'n chips! Good beers on tap. I have to admit that it's even one of my mom's favorite places to grab a bite/beer when she's in town; she's a Deadliest Catch junkie and digs all the DC swag that's prevalent there!!
Posted by kraut007 on September 6, 2007 at 2:39 AM · Report this

The LockSport

A great place for cheap good food and a game of pool. It has a very "cheers" feeling to it. But also a great place to go where nobody knows you as well. Very good place for a date.
Posted by emerald1angel on July 12, 2007 at 9:54 PM · Report this

Hell Yes

This place is crusty as heck, and might be a little ripe if things got out of hand the night before, but they do good basic greasy food, the beer is good, and the service is extremely friendly. It would not be difficult or painful to spend an entire day in here with some good friends. Bonus: you can go outside and watch some dumbass who parked too close to the railroad tracks get towed -- happens all the time! A Fnarf Fave.
Posted by Fnarf on May 16, 2007 at 3:46 PM · Report this

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