CENTER STAGE: Beer Star is a new community hot spot in White Center. Drunky’s Two Shoe BBQ, below, has added to the mix. Photos by Maria Billorou.
When doors to the cavernous Beer Star swung open in May, White Center rejoiced. Featuring 48 taps of predominantly local brews, the space — 3,300 square feet, including a children’s area with bench seating where parents can lounge and sip — illustrates the progression and gentrification happening in the long-ignored neighborhood.
With a steady influx of young families seeking affordable housing has come a wave of new restaurants and bars opening on and around 16th Avenue Southwest, where restaurateurs and taverners are also intent on chasing cheaper rents.
“We really wanted to create a more family, community vibe, rather than a late-night drinking one,” says Galen Krohn, the winemaker for Long Road Winery and co-owner of Beer Star with Deveaux Hill, Patrick Riggs and James Weimann (who owns the building) and Deming Maclise. Weimann and Maclise are the duo behind Poquitos and Rhein Haus on Capitol Hill and Bastille and Stoneburner in Ballard.
Although initially unsure about White Center as a site for their destination beer hall, the partners are digging the new neighborhood. They participated in last summer’s Jubilee Days and hope to bring a farmers’ market back to 16th Avenue Southwest.
To keep patrons well fed, the Beer Star building also houses the newest location of Seattle burger favorite Li’l Woody’s — try its Epicure, a thick-cut roast beef sandwich new on the menu ($9) — and a counter called Chinese Takeout (or CTO), which specializes in Americanized Chinese staples like General Tso’s chicken ($12) and lo mein ($11).
Across the street, Drunky’s Two Shoe BBQ, which also has a location in Frelard, set up shop last spring with a bigger spot that looks as if it’s straight out of Disney’s Frontierland. Noble Barton (from the owners of The Tin Hat and Jules Maes Saloon) slings drinks and internationally inspired pub food a few doors down. And around the corner diners line up for the Korean fried chicken at Bok a Bok (chef Brian O’Connor previously helmed Skillet and Restaurant Roux). More beer-and-bites are coming: Unified Brewing (a collective of local brewers, including Elysian Brewing Company) plans to open in early 2018 in the former Big Al’s space on 14th Avenue Southwest.
You may be among the visitors to White Center who come to try these new places — and that’s a great thing. But while you’re there, don’t miss exploring some of the flavors that have long made this community distinctive: Khmer (Cambodian) food at Queen’s Deli, inexpensive street-style tacos at Carniceria El Paisano, colorful sweets from Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant and spicy seafood at the Crawfish House.
Beer Star encourages visitors to try the local spots by showcasing its neighbors’ menus along the front countertop. So, stay awhile and explore.
A version of this story appears in the December issue of Seattle magazine.