Goddamnit! The Angry Beaver, a new Canadian-themed hockey bar in Greenwood, is the perfect place for Seattle's hockey heads. A collection of old jerseys is hung up on the wall—Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs—with their sleeves stretched out like Jesus's arms on the cross. There's a giant mural of the words to "Oh, Canada," the anthem sung before the puck drops at every Canadian game. Half a dozen flatscreen TVs, all with pretty good sight lines, hang on the walls and above the bar. The beer selection includes Canadian favorites like Kokanee and Molson. And the menu is your usual pub fare, but with a northern flair—including three different kinds (!) of belly-filling poutine, the Canadian delicacy comprising fries, gravy, and cheese curds. If you're really hungry, you can get poutine on your burger. A poutine burger!
It's the kind of neighborhood bar that you could walk into on a game night, alone, and suddenly have a bunch of new best friends to share an order of fried cheese curds and scream at the TV with. I can envision the place completely packed during big games—standing room only—with everyone in the room all booing at Ryan Kesler for diving or cheering on Dan Hamhuis for a killer hip-check.
The place would be insane for the playoffs: wall-to-wall people, with beer mugs occasionally toasting high above their heads. Hundreds of hockey-loving Seattleites celebrating the fact that they finally have somewhere to go to be among their own. There would be face paint. Someone would be passing around an inflatable Stanley Cup. Complete strangers would be hugging each other when their team scored a game-saving power play goal.
And imagine if Seattle were to get a hockey team! The Angry Beaver would be ground zero for anyone who couldn't score tickets to the game.
There's only one problem, and it's kind of a huge one—THERE IS NO GODDAMN HOCKEY.
The NHL has been locked out for more than three months (THREE MONTHS!) while the NHL Players' Association and the owners go back and forth and back and forth over contracts and, you guessed it, money.
More than 500 games have been canceled, hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost (commissioner Gary Bettman—BOO!—said that the industry is losing somewhere around $20 million A DAY). And if they don't get their poop in a group very soon, there will be no season at all! They canceled the Winter Classic, the annual outdoor game played every New Year's weekend. They canceled all the All-Star weekend events. Some NHL players have gone down to the AHL, while more than 170 other players—Patrick Kane, Patrice Bergeron, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and so many more—have flown overseas to play in European leagues in Russia, Germany, Switzerland, or the UK.
With nearly 50 percent of the season canceled, there isn't going to be any money left to argue about!
MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE.
On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, when there should've been at least three different games ready to start, the Angry Beaver was almost empty. It should've been full of people. There should've been debates over whether or not the Canucks are a bunch of babies who play dirty (they are!), or whether or not Sidney Crosby's career is over after sustaining two serious head injuries in a row (should it be?!). Someone should have been pulling up the Russian rap video on YouTube that features Alexander Ovechkin doing a weird, wiggly arm dance and wearing a sideways baseball cap (seriously, watch it, it's hilarious).
None of that is happening! GODDAMNIT.
But don't let the lack of hockey keep you from going to the city's new hockey bar. Until the NHL (both players and owners, but especially the owners) stops being giant, greedy jerks, the Angry Beaver can be where we gather to drown our sorrows. A big plate of poutine with either the mushroom or the curry gravy helps a lot (both of those are vegan, but they have beef, too, if you're into that sort of thing).
The fries are hand cut, with the skins left on, and the ideal combination of crispy and tender. The gravy is thick and salty, but not at all gelatinous—flowing through every nook and cranny, soaking into the potatoes, and melting the big chunks of Beecher cheese curds buried inside. A plate of this poutine will keep you warm when you head back out into the cold with a puck-shaped hole in your heart.
Wash it all down with a bottle of Bedford's Root Beer, a creamy, locally made root beer that's not too sweet and has a slightly stronger, rooty aftertaste than most, almost aniselike. It's especially refreshing after a mouthful of gravy-covered goodness. They even have dessert—a fried pastry thing with maple syrup (of course)—if sugar helps you cope.
It's so great that Seattle finally has an honest-to-goodness hockey bar. Now if only the NHL would get on the goddamn ice.