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The BalMar Lounge - 33 Reviews - 5449 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA - Food & Dining Reviews - Phone (206) 297-0500

The BalMar Lounge

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5449 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
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(206) 297-0500
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Reviews

( 15 )
( 11 )
( 4 )
( 1 )
( 2 )

Best

We recently held a birthday bash at this establishment and the management was so helpful in accomodating our large party. The atmosphere was really fun and the staff was wonderfu...

Worst

The Bal Mar in Ballard represents a direction that I hope bars will not choose to take. Seating is incredibly uncomfortable and the decor somewhat dated. The cocktail list does ...

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Looking for a great bar in Ballard 9/23/2006

I was thoroughly impressed with the BalMar. The nonprofit that I work for just hosted a cocktail at this sometimes hard to find bar in Ballard. The management and staff were friendly, and on top of all the details, the space is beautiful, they have a great happy hour menu, and the food is pretty darn good. If you go upstairs, you can play pool or just hang out and watch the view of Market street by the huge windows. more

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Uncomfortable Bar 8/30/2006

The Bal Mar in Ballard represents a direction that I hope bars will not choose to take. Seating is incredibly uncomfortable and the decor somewhat dated. The cocktail list does look promising but is somewhat expensive. For example, the Molotov Cocktail is a very intriguing offering that I have not seen anywhere else in Seattle. Happy hour features Pacific Northwest cuisine with a twist and french fries served with banana ketchup! I would really like to like this place but because of the decor I just can't. Service here is great and pool tables are available upstairs. more

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Yupster bar in Ballard 6/19/2006

We ended up at Bal-Mar after dinner at the Matador. Bal-Mar has two floors, although we spent all of our time on the top floor. The main bar is located there, in addition to two pool tables and large windows overlooking the street below. Bal-Mar has an upscale urban feel to it, with high ceilings, exposed brick and a cool suspended metal/wood staircase connecting the levels. The crowd was more dressed up than I'm used to in Fremont, and slightly older than the Belltown set. Overall a great bar and lively scene. more

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Good stiff drinks at a hipster Ballard bar 6/19/2006

In our feeble attempt to feel young and single (it's a fleeting thought), went to The Bal-Mar Lounge this past weekend. A stone's throw from Thaiku just off Market, where all the bustle is in Ballard, it's in an excellent location. Admittedly we started early, but it wasn’t very crowded, even later in the night. The girlfriend I went with had her boyfriend’s birthday party there earlier this year on a Friday, and she said it was much more packed and meat-market-like then. (They have a “game room” upstairs with its own bar, the back space accommodating private parties up to 30.) The lounge has a decidedly relaxed feel with airy space surrounded by exposed brick walls. It has all the elements of a modern cocktail bar: low connected seating (black leather), nice wide-plank hardwood floor, industrial unfinished metal used as architectural elements. Reminded me of cocktail bars that popped up in other cities, like Tokyo or New York a while back. I don’t mean to be cynical, but it almost feels like they’re trying too hard to be hip/urban and loft-y, from the unfinished wooden doors in the bathroom to the rugged-looking metal rail of the staircase. We tried some small plates from the happy hour menu earlier in the night, which are definitely more decent values. Steamed clams with white wine were not memorable, but the pieces of oven-grilled bread that accompanied them had a good smoky flavor. We also had spicy BBQ meatballs made with “Kobe” beef - although there are many different grades of Kobe, mincing Kobe into meatballs or hamburger is not something a chef with some dignity would want to admit. Aside from insulting the ingredient, the meatballs had a nice, substantial, if not predictable, flavor. Crispy-fried potstickers with soy-chili dipping sauce are fine in flavor, but definitely a bar food (potstickers are much better pan-fried and then flash-steamed or plain steamed). They also had a special, little Bruschetta topped with Dungeness crab and artisan cheese – they were uniformly drenched with olive oil, the fragrance of too much oil overpowering flavors of the toppings and little pieces of bread soggy. Overall the food didn’t go up to the standards of a restaurant/lounge, but definitely made good, interesting attempts for bar food. (= Good for little bites, but wouldn’t substitute for a good meal at a restaurant. But I'm picky.) They have many interesting original cocktails ranging $7-9, classic cocktails, bourbons, scotch, brandies and a decent selection of wine. A beer selection is not too big. They did make good martinis, which were what we were going for, so we were mostly happy. The service is attentive; they're definitely eager to fill you up on the drinks. The music selection is nice as well. We left as we were literally cornered in by a large bachelorette party group (it started with a woman waiting for the rest of the party in a skimpy black dress, reading “How to Reach Better Orgasms” book). The rest of the crowd was varied - some couples, some professionals in their 30’s, etc. In a nutshell, I imagine this is the gist of what people would be thinking: 20’s – “Dude, this place is really cool and mature-seeming, compared to the dives I used to frequent where I had my PBR’s. And they have interesting food to brag about, like fries with banana ketchup.” 30’s – “This place has a nice vibe and it’s a good hangout/hook-up potential.” 40’s – “We feel young and hip coming to a cool neighborhood lounge like this!” 50’s – I don’t know if they get people in their 50’s. And I’ll say good-bye to you with that. more

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Chill music, awesome food, entertaining staff 4/23/2006

This place took forever to remodel, but it was worth the wait. They have a great food menu and it's nice to chill to the music and hang out. It's not a meat market place and I hear the drinks are good too. Good design is a lost art in bars these days so go to Bal-Mar to reinvigorate the senses. They have pool too, but I just like the music. It kind of feels like I'm at a rich friend's loft in Manhattan...but the money I save on not flying to NYC means I can spend it on salsify. more

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Great new Ballard bar... 4/12/2006

Bal-Mar has a cool, hip yet friendly atmosphere. Two pool tables upstairs, a great bay window and exposed brick make this a great place to hang out and enjoy some cocktails. The crowd seems lively and the singles factor is high which is always a nice thing. Rahul more

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Great drinks. Interesting atmosphere. Good bites. 2/9/2006

This new Ballard destination is an interesting addition to the old-Ballard area. With great restaurants like Volterra, Thaiku and Matador nearby, this a perfect place to stop on your way to or from those restaurants. I've found that going beforehand is generally better. Although they don't open until 5, it usually starts getting quite busy after 7 or 8 (depending on the night) and can be a little loud or unpleasant later if you're with someone you really want to talk to. The drinks are wonderful - they have a great selection of wines, beer and mixed drinks and the food is appetizing, if not pricy. The cheese plate is great - but any more than a few glasses of wine and appetizers and you'll quickly be looking at a $100+ check for 4. Still - I'd return though as a pre-cursor to later evening activities. more
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