Loaded tater tots and pale lager in a tribute to Seattle’s old-time boozing history.
Saddling up at the bar top of Jules Mae’s Saloon in Georgetown will insure you a greeting by Johnny Cash’s middle finger. The legendary photo snapped of the Man in Black is used to explain the forms of payment accepted at the saloon (“cash” or credit) and sets a tone for the bar that there is no going back from.
Stationed across Airport Way from the original Rainier Brewery, Jules Mae’s was once crowned “the bar that won’t go away” by The Stranger for staying put (minus a slight decade hiatus) for 124 years. Stacks of parlor and board games are shoved into a book shelf adjacent to the bar while the open kitchen is set on the other side.
The ambiance appears to be aimed at the Jules Mae’s original clientele – lumberjacks, port traders and mariners – with hunter and gatherer decor, a piano that looks like it’s had its fair share of hammering and remnants of a possible floorboard spittoon.
Although she has her wrinkles and is supplied with a soundtrack by Boeing Field, Jules Mae’s looks damn fine for her age and should be taken in that context (that’s to you, angry Yelpers, it’s a dive bar for God’s sake and yes, their site is defective).
The Dish: The Flatliner ($9.75) — The dish that might bring your heart rate to a resting, stable line is rooted at its core through deliciously crunchy tater tots. Topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, onions, tomatoes, red bell peppers and a dollop of sour cream, this is Jules Mae’s hangover cure, locked and loaded with plenty of grease and carbohydrates. Ironically appetizing, in the same way a hipster wearing a Doogie Hauser tee is cool (NPH is so hot right now), these tots have tenacity and decades of fans to validate it.
The Variety: Pale Lager — German by heritage, the pale lager is gaining momentum with Northwest breweries, with its lighter flavors, slender frame and gentler hop bitterness. The most recognizable style is the Pilsner.
Why It Works: If you’re putting away the Flatliner due to prior alcohol abuse, a pale lager is a tender beverage to pair with the food and your rocky tum-tum. The bright beer is hydrating as it cures the salivation from the salty tots and plays with the vibrant flavors of the cooked vegetables.
The Recommended Match: Maritime Pacific Brewing Old Seattle Lager ($4/pint) — Fitting not only by its title, the Old Seattle Lager is produced in the ideal clean and crisp style for bouncing off heavy, fried potato balls. According to 22-year-old Ballard brewery, they’ve created this brew “reminiscent of beers brewed in the early years of Seattle,” much like that of Jules Mae’s old neighbor, Rainier. With only 4.3% alcohol per volume, the lager is flavorful, light and thirst-quenching.
And in the end, when old school collides with local microbreweries and Napoleon Dynamite’s number one vice, Jules Mae’s Saloon is there to save the day — for the next 124 years to come.
Jules Mae’s Saloon | 5919 Airport Way S., Seattle | (206) 957-7766