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First Look: Copper Gate

When M2 and I attended the Vagabond dinner at Portalis, we sat at a table of ten but were really only able to talk to the people closest to us on our end of the table.  At the end of dinner, as we were preparing to leave one of the other guests and I suddenly realized that we "knew" each other.  Virtually at least – through Flickr and the blogging world.  Since everyone was leaving we didn’t really have much chance to talk but through email agreed to get together again for a proper conversation.  
On Monday Jess T (hogwash), and I met at a newly renovated tavern in the Scandinavian neighborhood (moving from it’s fishing roots to upscale urban area on a daily basis), Ballard.  The Copper Gate retains it’s rough-around-the-edges exterior and inside is very lean and clean – well except for all the depictions of topless women.  There are booths and tables around the perimeter and the bar divides the space in two.  They had an interesting idea for bar seating, although it needs a little work.  The bar actually has two sets of barstools (which are bolted to the floor) – one row behind and offset behind the other.  This is actually a clever idea if you have a group of friends gathered there as it allows for a grouping instead of a line of people.  The only problem is that the first line of stools – those closest to the bar -are too far away from it.  And when just two people are trying to have a conversation, as Jess and I were, you sort of have too much space between you – certainly so if you were trying to have any sort of private conversation.  Of course the bar is not really a place to have a private conversation.  
I like the idea but as we discussed with the (very Scandinavian) bartender the place is still a work in progress.  They have a decent list of Aquavits as any self-respecting Scandinavian bar should.  I tried one that is distilled in Portland but they had plenty of traditional offerings, too.  Jess had a cucumber inspired cocktail that seemed very refreshing.  We split a plate of Swedish meatballs – made as they should be and served with mashed potatoes and the traditional lingonberries.  
I like this little place and will be back again.  If I lived just a little closer I could see it being a neighborhood hangout – and I’m sure it will become that for the lucky Ballardites who live nearby.  Especially since they have a nice little Happy Hour with discounts on drinks, Aquavits and the food.  
It was nice to spend a little time getting to know Jess in real life – it’s always amazing to me when virtual and real worlds collide!  I have to say it’s led to some really wonderful experiences for me!  
Copper Gate
6301 24th Ave NW

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