Is this the new look and feel of Ballard?

We stopped in at the Lock & Keel this weekend with some friends and got a chance to see a newer side of Ballard. I recall from only 10 years ago what a sleepy little town feel the downtown area had before all of the newer development happened. That, and all the old Ballard jokes.  Granted, I like the new stuff too but going out can be a dodgy experience.

Anyhow, we were playing pool and having a beer all the while surveying the very eclectic crowd within the bar. There were lots of tattoos and piercings – which is not a big deal nowadays and is actually standard attire for the 20-something set. I have to say that “Scott from Kent” was certainly airing a lot of testosterone with a lot of that in the form of screaming like a Marine out on his first leave since making it through bootcamp. And he looked like a Marine. Then we had “Andy” who was a soft spoken Sacramento transplant (got here 2 years ago) lamenting the (usual) lack of friendliness of Seattle-ites as he hadn’t made hardly any friends or contacts in those two years since he’d moved here.  He was certainly doing his best to become a buddy to all of us (we had about 7 of us together) and we did enjoy playing pool with him we just weren’t about to invite him over to someone’s house late at night after having met only 2 hours earlier.

Then there was the bearded salt-and-pepper haired middle-aged attorney in the flannel button down shirt whose gut hung out the bottom of his layered t-shirt. We found out that he defends child molesters for a living and he was more than happy (unfortunately for us) to share some of his stories about work. Apparently he missed the facial and body language cues that would have clued him in to how disgusted we were by his chosen line of work. We kept trying to get away from him but he just kept coming around. Creepy.

While the venue is big enough to hold a lot of folks and the beer is good you have to keep an eye out on who wants your attention in this bar.  Next time I’m going to Volterra or some other place for the higher end version of Ballard that I like better.

14 thoughts on “Is this the new look and feel of Ballard?

  1. I had the opposite experience in Ballard, last time I ventured there. I play tennis in Ballard, and decided to meet my wife at Volterra for dinner.

    I went in, and the hostess gave me such a look (being in shorts from tennis), that I almost thought she wasn’t going to seat me. Sure enough she didn’t, but allowed me to sit at the bar while awaiting my wife, even with 10 empty tables evident. The bartender then proceeded to give a check and cash me out twice, between two $13 glasses of mediocre wine; seemingly trying to rush me out.

    I almost wanted to say “You DO realize you are in Ballard, right?”, to the pretentious hostess. Finally someone with some business sense decided I was worthy of being seated.

    The food was decent, but not nearly worth the NY attitude.

    I’ll head over to other-coast today, where you get great NY food with the pleasant, Ballard ‘tude.

  2. Hmm, well, while I understand why you were miffed I personally wouldn’t think of going into Volterra after playing tennis. It is considered to be one of the upper level restaurants in the area and, while we in Seattle rarely impose dress codes, if we did Volterra would likely be one of them. Perhaps tennis attire (and possibly sweaty odors) would have been more appropriate at another venue? I’m not trying to be rude but as a person that would go to Volterra for dinner I wouldn’t want some potentially sweaty and smelly guy sitting next to me while I’m trying to enjoy my dinner either.

  3. Give me the Viking Tavern any day over the ever increasing shiny shirt crowd developing in Ballard. You think Ballard is bad now wait until you have 500 new condo owners… Reminds me of an episode of South Park. The smug level is on the rise.

  4. This discussion reminds me of the story of a new McMansion owner out in Issaquah who called the sheriff’s office one Sunday morning shrieking that there was a bear in her back yard. The person who took the call at the sheriff’s replied “How interesting. And we just got a call from a bear complaining that someone’s built a house in HIS back yard.”

    Ballard may increasingly LOOK like Belltown, but it isn’t…yet.

  5. What does the patronage of a local bar have to do with Real Estate? I’m offended that you would make such superficial comments about people you don’t even know. It is agents like you that give us fellow Real Estate agents a bad name. I would hate to think what your clients would think if they saw your comments.

  6. RCG has plenty of posts about all kinds of topics – and not all of them related to real estate. Part of what we also discuss is what is going on in neighborhoods along with the changes a neighborhood is experiencing. I happened to be out with several of my clients that evening and I know they aren’t offended because they’re the ones that were being approached by these folks I mention in the post. Regardless of your feelings on the topic we are all impacted by the initial response we have to others and how they behave so I’m not going to be apologetic for my post. It was meant to foster a discussion and that is what has happened here. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, nor do I believe that these posts are expected to change anyone’s mind. But, perhaps there is a chance to discuss what change is, what it means to people, and help broaden the base of experience for everyone.

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