REVIEW: From Drive-In To Dive-In, It’s The Barrel Tavern

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by Gina Bourdage

The term “dive bar” conjures up negative images of dark, smoky, smelly taverns, shady staff and questionable menus full of deep fried mystery food.

Burien’s Barrel Tavern is in no way any of these things.

In a time where trendy bars are becoming dives or using gimmicks to lure you in, while dive bars are becoming trendy bars by serving 40s or watered down versions of drinks they call “specialty beverages,” there are fewer and fewer places serving up a good old dash of reliability.

After numerous visits, purely for research of course, I found there was far more at The Barrel than meets the eye:

  1. The moment you walk in you are treated like a regular.
  2. There are no unidentifiable smells that overwhelm you when you walk in. Rich local history.
  3. Plenty of parking. Come on it used to be a Drive In! Built in 1963 as the “Triple XXX Drive In,” owner Linda Enright has worked hard to keep the integrity of the original landmark building.
  4. Bikers welcome…but you can come too.
  5. Live bands that you actually want to see. And did I mention NO COVER!
  6. Seattle’s longest-running open Jam Session every Tuesday.
  7. Karaoke every Saturday and sometimes Fridays. Hundreds of great karaoke singers…and 3 bad ones.
  8. The most dedicated owner you may ever meet. She cares about her customers and her community.
  9. No drama policy. Do not test this one – trust me, the staff will win.
  10. Free poker tourney every Wednesday.
  11. A menu that could put most dinners to shame. Fresh, well made pub grub that will have you returning for more than just a beverage. Insiders tip: go for the fresh, not deep fried tacos, the Barrel burger (fresh never frozen) or the Barrel chicken sandwich.
  12. Saturday & Sunday breakfast menu that could cure any hangover.
  13. If you need more than just liquid entertainment there are darts, a pool table, pull tabs, video games, and flat screens always playing the game.
  14. A jukebox that is filled with only the greatest classic rock, country and 80’s faves.

Leave your club clothes at home and forget the overdone hair, this is one spot it won’t work.

Be prepared to sit back, hang out with old friends and even make some new ones.

If you’re looking for a dependable neighborhood bar with a ton of character, in more ways than one, you need not look any further than The Barrel.

The Barrel is located at:

11051 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98168

(206) 244-7390

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4 Responses to “REVIEW: From Drive-In To Dive-In, It’s The Barrel Tavern”
  1. Danita Jolly says:

    Gina, this is a great review. Only recently, some friends talked me into going there on an open jam night. I went kicking and screaming, nails slightly dragging across the doorway but I was really impressed and had a great time. Reading your review reminded me that I do want to go back. Thanks!

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  2. middle aged female says:

    The Barrel Tavern. Sould 3 weak double Stolichnaya drivers really cost $47 plus the obligatory tip? My problem, I guess, for drinking on a Monday night.

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    • Just a thought... says:

      You still would have been a problem on any night. Do the math. A double Stoli ($12) plus juice ($.50) x three drinks is $37.50. Did you really leave a $9.50 tip if you were that unhappy?? Maybe the drinks were stronger than you thought. Or you had two too many………

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  3. Rainycity says:

    Didn`t quite figure it out after the 1st one??? *lol*
    Sry, couldn`t resist that one.

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