The more you wander around Ballard the more you find all kinds of restaurants and bars tucked in here and there, often in surprising places. The Loft is one of these spots. Located on Ballard Avenue it’s just far enough south of Market that it’s not entirely obvious it’s there. Unless you happen to walk by, especially in the summer months when the large "front yard" is full of groups gathered around the outdoor tables talking and laughing and enjoying those rare days when the evening stays warm into the night.
If you look a little farther back, you’ll see the extra large garage door that serves as the east wall of the building rolled up making the line between building and outdoors nearly invisible, and the energy flows easily from bar to patio and back again.
Just as the evenings were becoming a little too cool to comfortably sit outside some friends and I decided to give The Loft a try. We perched just inside the garage door, close enough to the outside to feel it’s presence but far enough inside to stay comfortably warm. We arrived during Happy Hour so we could grab a little bite to eat along with our beverages.
Happy Hour specials include discounts on beer, well drinks and appetizers. We started with a couple varieties of beer and then ordered appetizers to enjoy along with them.
The beer menu, while not huge, offers enough to meet most tastes. The appetizer menu is filled with mostly typical bar food but some are presented with a twist. We decided to try the deep-fried pickles – one of my favorites since I first tried them at the now, long-departed Axis. And we ordered Mexican Lettuce Cups – a treat often found in Asian restaurants but this version featured chorizo for the main filling.
The pickles were good, although I have to say they may be an acquired taste for some. This version featured dill pickle spears. I prefer the pickles sliced in rounds, probably because the ratio of batter to pickle is higher which I think provides a better balanced taste. The lettuce wraps were decent, too. My only real complaint was that there was not nearly enough lettuce for the amount of chorizo.
Nothing here is going to win an award but it seems it’s all good steady bar food. For me the main draw for this location is that big outdoor patio. So while you probably won’t find me hanging around The Loft in the winter months it’s highly likely that once spring has sprung I may spend an afternoon or early evening lazing around on the patio.
5105 Ballard Ave NW