Now We Have a "Side Hustle"

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Is there family in town for the holidays? Perhaps you need a place to hide from your kids or in-laws with a cold local beer to unwind? I've got you covered! Check out this little gem and take an extended stroll (bring the dog!) down to Side Hustle on Lake Street where you can enjoy a crisp local brewsky and relax.  Nestled in the space formerly occupied by Asher, you will find beers that have been sourced directly from nearby breweries and kegged the same day.  And the vibe is comfortable, approachable, and non-pretentious. 

Owner James Whittaker and his wife Sharon (photo) are cutting out the middleman and bringing fresh craft beer varieties directly to their welcoming Kirkland location.  James explained how true local craft beers are usually found in out-of-the-way or uninspiring locations, while walkable downtowns typically offer industrial beer disguised as a true craft.  His goal is to bring a great ambiance AND super fresh craft beer to one place. Side Hustle is only for the 21+ crowd, so you'll be leaving the kids home for this one.   There are currently about 9-10 breweries in their co-op, most of which don't distribute broadly, so check out the taplist and pricing here.  The Stout from Watts Brewery has been a best seller.  In addition to beer, there are also ciders, and wine from Morgan Lee and 425 Cellars.  I tried the pineapple hard seltzer ( alas, I'm not a beer girl) which was crisp fruity and refreshing.  And the Two Vintners Cab Sav was also right up my alley. If you prefer to avoid alcohol, there are unique options for you too, such as Lolo Hop water (sparkling water made with hops) or Zentopia CBD seltzer (nighty night!).

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Side Hustle is a spot where you could bring your laptop and work all day or meet up with Friends, in an unofficial "Cheers" of Kirkland type of way.  Mind and board games are stacked by the tables.  The staff is super friendly and they even have a reclaimed wood bar with a resin pour in the shape of Lake Washington!   Once a month they will host events such as comedy performances (Andrew Rivers on January 19th!), or the infamous Kirkland Wine Walks.  There's no food at Side Hustle, but you are welcome to order or pick up from elsewhere and bring it in.  Reach out directly  if you'd like to host lectures or private parties (max 66 ppl) in this excellent space. Hours are M-F 3-10 and Sat 1-10 and Sun 1-9. Ohhh, and don't forget Happy Hour which is $1 off any drink 3-6pm. They also have a "Mug Club" for your mug... $100/ year that gets you free special event admission, 20 oz pours, and other fun perks. 

Contact 425-898-4136 or [email protected]. Insta: @sidehustletaps  

Since I'm admittedly not a beer connoisseur, I'll rely on you all to ''brew' up some feedback to share.


A=Anxiety B=Back to School C=Chainline

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This is what high school looks like at Lake WA HS in my house in 2020.  And this is what it might look like if we don't survive the week. Kudos to the genius in the tent using Kirkland wifi. Actually, I was pretty impressed that my kids all got dressed and ate breakfast and assembled themselves in the dining room like good little worker bees on the first day.  A few minor bumps with laptop audio and Microsoft Teams adjustments, but then again, what fun would it be if nothing unexpected happened?  BIG props to all of the teachers and school district support folks that have obviously worked tirelessly to make this remote learning recipe work.  Nothing is perfect, but teachers seem prepared and the tech teams are quickly responding even though we know they must be overwhelmed (Syd got a new laptop the same day she logged her issue w/ helpdesk!). Of course I say this as a parent of three teenagers that attend school at home and craft college essays all day while I sneak off to re-start my waterski habit.  They can feed and manage themselves.  My heart really goes out to all of the parents with full time jobs that are trying to not only doing their own work, but have suddenly become teacher's assistants, tech advisors and short order chefs to their young children.  I would be pulling my hair out if COVID hit our family 10 years ago. Literally.  I am thinking of you all, and I think it's important for your mental health to realize that Chainline Brewery is now open at Kirkland Urban. 

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If you can't escape your kids/pets, then just mask up and bring them! You'll find Chainline's new location (formerly next to Google/the CKC trail) on the second level in the northeast corner of Urban.  There's plenty of outdoor space with a view towards Seattle, and well spread indoor space with high ceilings.  The sun was shining on the patio when I popped in at 3:30, and I had to agree with Ariel (photo) that Chainline is the new 'cool kids on the block' with their friendly easy vibe.  They've got food bites (pretzels, flatbreads), plenty of flagship and seasonal beers, and even cider and wine on tap!

Their hours are Sunday 12-8 and Mon-Sat 12-10pm, so you can escape head out after you put those kiddos to bed. We've got this #KirklandStrong.  Cheers to a new school year!



Lounge by Topgolf Opens in Kirkland Urban 1/24

Did you know that there are 52 Top Golf locations internationally? But we, my Kirkland friends, have the very FIRST  Lounge by Top Golf opening this week in Kirkland Urban.  Standing proudly with expansive views above the new QFC, the Lounge offers a variety of virtual games for every level.  There are 4 bays for up to 8 guests each and a VIP area that can accommodate up to 22 people.  If your golf game is not up to 'par' don't stress, you can also play virtual baseball, football, hockey, soccer, carnival games or zombie dodgeball instead of one of the 80 golf courses or challenges.  

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I had the opportunity to check everything out at the preview party last week. Upon entering I was mesmerized by all of the digital screens on the ceiling that continually change color and design. I must have stared at it for 5 minutes.   Pair that with a few Moscow Mules and I was ready to swing a golf club!   Perhaps I was a little shy at first but once you get the hang of it you don't care or notice who else is watching and just embrace the goodness that comes with being able to laugh at yourself and others.  Lounge by Topgolf has a full bar and wine and locally-sourced food such as mussels, salmon and steak.  There are plenty of nibbles too- the Greek caesar and edamame hummus was delish and they also have charred cauliflower so you can say you ate some veggies too! Sorry I didn't take any food pics, I was too busy throwing my arm out  on the virtual baseball game (no joke I had to ice when I got home) .  There's plenty of room for lounging in the bar, and I love the expansive deck that wraps around the corner of the building with comfy seating, umbrellas, firepits and city/lake landscape views. Cornhole and Jenga complete the outdoor gaming challenges.

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Rates to rent a TGL bay is hourly (roughtly $50-70/hr) and varies based on day and time. Current rates are here, and of course they would love to host your private events too.  Events can handle anywhere from 6-225 people.  There will be a DJ on Saturday nights and live music with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.  After 9pm, the Lounge is 21 and over- woot woot! Hours are Mon-Thurs 11am-12am, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 9am-1am, Sun 9am-11pm.  Happy Hour spreads its cheer from Mon-Fri 3-6pm and of course you receive 4 hours of validated parking.  It's a little tricky to find your way there the first time, so I'm going to help you out.  You can either walk up the stairs that reside to the left/east of the QFC bar and make a right at the top of the stairs to find it down on your left.  OR- if you park below, get in the elevator that is adjacent to the staircase that takes you directly into the QFC and take it to the second floor. Left off the elevator and you have arrived. 

And if you made it this far in the post, you should know the soft opening is 1/20.  I have a feeling this place is going to be a big hit, so book your bays early! 

Also a bonus, Top Golf is planning to open a 14 acre Renton location in 2021.  And a rumor that PinStripes is coming to Urban too? An entertainment mecca awaits at Urban.


Park Lane Public House -Coming Soon!

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Ever wonder what is going on behind the plastic tarps of new construction? Well then just stick your nosy head back there like I do! Helloooo Park Lane Public House. They're looking good over at 115 Park Lane where the  Bottle & Bull owners are getting ready to open their new family friendly gastropub- check out their Facebook page for updates.  So far I'm going to say that the gray brick is a vast improvement over the orange stucco from Mi Mexico. Sounds like they're shooting for a January opening, but that would take some serious hustl.....but you never know! More details after they fill my belly. ~j

The Melody Lynne Vineyard Tasting Room & Wine Bar


IMG_4703Instinct tells me to swat the lights away so I can read the words

That's a mouthful!  I like to call it TMLVTRWB for short. :-)

Roll out the welcome mat for the much-anticipated opening of our newest wine-pouring hideaway.  Melody Lynne's at 106 Kirkland Ave is right next to George's and when Steve and I popped in for a glass of wine and some nibbles before dinner, there were a good number of people sitting at the tables and cozied up to the faux fireplace.  One friend told me she sat in one of  those seats and they even had a lap blanket available for her.  Nice touch!   Steve and I ponied up to the bar, and were immediately given some tastings to try. We loved the friendly and open demeanor of the staff that was encouraging us to pour some more or try other samples. Don't have to twist my arm!   There were so many choices it was difficult to decide, so I just went with the first one that sang my name (Cedar River 'Confluence' on that day).  There seems to be a little something for everyone.... chard, riesling, rose, sauv blanc, viognier (oh how I love viogniers), white blend, champagne, cab franc, cab sauv, merlot, petite syrah, pinot noir, red blends.  And the font on the menu is big enough that you can forget your glasses at home and still happily order your favorite vino.  TMLV grows the grapes on their eastern Washington vineyard and then buys back the wine that blossoms from them.   Full circle.

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A secret squirrel told me there's a rooftop deck- but I didn't even notice this option when I was inside. Next summer when the sun re-surfaces, I'll be on the lookout for that.  Melody Lynne's had an opening party on September 12th and they blew it out with a live band up on the roof playing for the streets of Kirkland.  Love them already, right?  There's some outdoor patio seating and the front accordian-style doors have been open to take advantage of that open air connection with downtown Kirkland.  Despite being new, somehow the charming, rustic atmosphere of this gem feels like it's been a part of Kirkland for a while.  Kind of like an old soul if it were human- deep, wise, kind, authentic.  They do serve some light appetizers/snacks (no full kitchen).  We wanted to feel good about ourselves that day so we went for the veggie and hummus plate (photo). 

IMG_4620  IMG_4619 yes, those are chocolates! danger danger!

Most importantly-Happy hour is 3-6! Hours of operation are open Tues-Thurs 3-9, Fri 2-9, Sat 12-9, Sun 2-7 (closed Mon)

Visit their FB page. 425-822-8300. see you at the bar!


The Heathman Loosens Its Tie

Heathman2017BenClosson Ben Closson, photo credit: The Heathman Hotel

at the Heathman Hotel on Kirkland Ave is shaking it up a little.  Not only is there a new chef, Ben Closson from the Nordstrom flagship in the kitchen, but they are working on a more relaxed and approachable image at the hotel.   In order to achieve this goal, they have re-vamped their menu with new items while still keeping some of the old faves.  Expect to start hearing about live music each month, in case Victor the Ukranian bartender wasn't already entertainment enough with his Absinthe concoctions.  You'll see new dinnerware, silverware, fresh outdoor-themed artwork on each floor and room renovations are also in the works for all 91 rooms.  An improved price point on the happy hour menu is designed to lure the crowd that wants to meet for a burger and a beer to watch the game.  

Heathman2017Chambong    Why yes, I'd love a Chambong. thank you.

Wait a minute...did somebody say "happy hour?" Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-dingggggg!  It's 2-6p and 9-close and YES I was there. Don't be ridiculous I wouldn't miss that. Try the Smokey Duck Manahattan- it's an award winner and although I wouldn't typically intuitively order a drink with duck fat in it, it is a deliciously robust liquid meal all in itself.  Don't be scared- do it.   If you're still feeling summery, I really enjoyed the Pear/Thyme martini because it was super refreshing and not too sweet.  And then there is the Chambong (photo)- great for a date or a unique way to start or finish your evening off with some bubbles, in a much-classier than a beer bong but same sort of concept kind of way. $5 wines, $4 well drinks. Infused liquors and great beers abound along with some fancy brewed organic Rishi teas in case you're the driver.

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The happy hour menu had some great food options, especially for the price-point.  There's a delicious green pile of pea vines for $5 (yes, martinis AND greens in one sitting- dreams do come true), lamb meatballs for $9, salmon poke (yum!!) for $9.  And I didn't try the 'fried squeaky cheese' (Beecher's cheddar, tomato fondue) but I have heard this treat alone is worth coming for. Their menu changes seasonally too so be ready for new surprises at any moment.  Feel free to stay in your shorts and flip flops and roll on down to Trellis at the Heathman on any random day to get check out their new vibe.




Kirkland 4th of July Needs You

First, because I am a nosy nelly and love this kind of stuff. Did you see this article in the Seattle Time Pacific NW Magazine? Stuart McLeod, Kirkland local and owner of Hector's and Milagro Cantina, has a home that many of us check out and admire while on Lake WA Blvd while sitting in traffic or jogging down the boulevard.  I love that he shared a sneak peek inside for this article.

Celebrate Kirkland 4th of July 2017 needs our help. They're still $14K away from being able to pay the bills for this year's event. And who doesn't love a good party in honor of 'Merica?  Every bit counts, please send what you can to support this great Kirkland tradition: or you can mail to Celebrate Kirkland/KDA at 440 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033 or drop off a check at The Grape Choice or Hallmark Realty. 

MelodyLynneVineyard  <-- I spy wine on Kirkland Ave. Melody Lynne Vineyard Tasting Room & Wine Bar opening soon.


Lee's Brickhouse Pub Embraces Kirkland

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Have you been to LBH yet?  The smell of bacon will make you instantly salivate when you walk in the door.  This new pub opened in December on Juanita Drive and is on its way to becoming a local favorite.  Lee Dumas, an IT guy, always dreamed of owning a bar and asked his motorcycle riding buddy, Athina Mangouras to come consult for him.  Yes, THE Athina- the florist, the broker, the daughter of George from George's on Kirkland Ave and previous owner of pubs and cafes.  She knows how to make you feel welcome and feed you good food.  Their vision is to give people a good value, great atmosphere, and be part of this community for a very long time.

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Lee's Brickhouse Pub space is 3000 sf and has been completely gutted and cleverly decorated with re-purposed materials.  When the concrete workers left their form boards behind,  they used those to make a wall.  Wood from palates is on another wall along with sentiments from retired local spots such as items from The Keg and old tables from Lucia.  The charm of rustic iron and wood, helmet light fixtures, and other local finds make this feel like an HGTV remodel success story. Sit yourself at a stool and it might remind you  "Cheers" where everybody knew your name (or at least Ted Danson did). The pub's mission is intended to be a comfortable place where locals will be able to enjoy sports games, live bands, trivia nights, movie nights in the family section and find great food selections from a menu that is being constantly innovated so you can experience something different with each visit.  They love your feedback and employees are encouraged to get to know their customers.  

Expect upper end barfood or 'urban grub' as Athina fondly calls it, created by Chef Cortland Stevens (previously at Google).  The menu can be found on their Facebook Page but so far the early favorites are the 'sidewinders' ($7) which are long chunky twisted fries and the "Chicken & Waffles" which is bacon stuffed waffles, homemade chicken fried chicken, chili infused maple syrup and country gravy ($14.50).  It's kind of cool that they  also just started using a 700 degree stone grill that you get table-side for your 9 oz cut of kobe beef that is sourced from Select Gourmet (the butcher on Juanita Drive, love the local tie-in).  There IS a kids' menu and LBH is family-friendly everyday until 8pm.    Of course there is also a full bar, homemade drink specials and three rotating handles of beer. If you're feeling a bit awesome, there are shots on tap too. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-2am, Sat-Sun 8am-2am (yes- bfast on the weekends!).  Happy hour is 4-6pm Mon-Fri.  No reservations, just walk on in. " Like"  Lee's Brickhouse Pub Facebook page so you can stay up to date with their menu and events. 425-890-1156. Once our torturous stretch of self-imposed insanity (no alcohol/stricter paleo) is lifted in mid Feb, I'll be taking Steve in to LBH to experience some of this LBH deliciousness for ourselves.

Go Tee It Up at Flatstick Pub

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If you like playing golf and drinking local beers, which encompasses an estimated 87% of the male population, Flatstick Pub is going to be your new go-to hot-spot in Kirkland.  Brothers Sam and Andy Largent opened this new craft beer bar and indoor mini golf course on June 1st at 15 Lake St. S (inbetween Vovina and The Grape Choice).  Sam has wanted to open a beer bar for a while, and liked the idea of offering something to do as well.  After a little research, Flatstick Pub was born (he didn't have to twist his brother's arm to join him!). From the looks of this place on a Friday night, I think they nailed it.  

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After wiggling past gaggles of people half my age, the first thing I noticed was the bright display of the 'Digital Pour' Menu over the commanding line-up of 24 taps of Washington beers.  The electronic menu tells you the name and type of beer, where it's from, % of alcohol, the price (most are $5.50), and how full the keg is.  The red color indicates that a keg is almost tapped out, and the person who gets the last pour on that one gets to pick what will come up next.  You can also look on their website to see what they are pouring right now-whoa... real-time beer monitoring! And just for fun, they also have their twitter feed up on the menu board.  Can't find a babysitter for your pooch?  No problem, bring 'em along, dogs are welcome in the pub area.  If you and your dog and your drafts get hungry, they carry local packaged sandwiches, salads and wraps from Molly's and many local restaurants deliver to this location.  Patio seating will be coming soon.

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, which is another name for putter, is a sprawling 3,000 square feet. The entire back half is a custom-made 9-hole mini golf course that Andy designed and his neighbor built.  Let me tell ya, these holes are NOT easy.  Even after a few beers, navigating through water features, mazes and going under kegs is no small challenge.   I love the custom mural on the back wall of the old Kirkland ferry that gives you the illusion of golfing on the Lake Washington.  The course is $6/per person and you can usually get around two times in an hour.  Other fun things to expect from these guys?  Trivia night, brewer's night, random drawings for Seahawks tickets, and of course....corporate events.  This would be a great spot to rent out for a birthday party or team building event.  They are even working on changing their licensing so that they can host children's parties soon too.  Like them on Facebook to stay in the know.  

Hours at Flatstick Pub are weekdays noon to midnight, and Saturday noon to 1:30am.  Fun, casual, good young  energy abounds in this clever new concept. Look for them at Kirkland Uncorked (THIS WEEKEND!!) and as a sponsor for Kirkland Summerfest (Aug 8-10) this year. 425-242-1618, [email protected] . ~j