How many Seattle Ale Houses are there?
There's the 74th Street Ale House on Phinney Ridge, the Columbia City Ale House, and this one—the Hilltop. The menus at each location are slightly different, as are the weekly specials. We actually have a pretty great website [see above] that lists the menus and specials at each restaurant, and we're working on setting up an e-mailed menu-update option for our customers.
Do you think weekly e-mail updates will appeal to many customers?
Absolutely. The majority of customers are devout regulars. We see them every day; they're our friends. Our specials are unique, delicious, and rotational, so I see it as another way of showing how customer-oriented we are.
Are each of the Ale Houses unique, or do they share a similar vibe?
They have the same comfortable English pub atmosphere, but like I said, the menus vary. What the Ale Houses really have in common, though, is that we always use fresh ingredients, and while we offer some imported beers and house staples—like the English dry cider—the majority of our beers come from local breweries. We keep up a seasonal rotation of local beers. We're a local pub devoted to serving our customers and supporting other local businesses.
What are some of your menu favorites?
I dig the ahi tuna sandwich and the fish tacos. Our specials are usually pretty amazing as well.
What's the balloon for?
It's Kevin's birthday; he's one of our regulars. Marie, who has worked here since this place opened—in fact she poured the first beer here 14 years ago—picked him up some bubbles, chocolate, and a kit on how to grow a Venus flytrap because he's got a big garden.
Interview by Cienna Madrid