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George & Dragon hoping to expand to Ballard

Posted by Geeky Swedes on May 11th, 2009

The owner of Fremont’s George & Dragon Pub has his eyes on Ballard.

We spoke with owner John Bayliss this morning who says that he is moving toward opening a pub in the old Mandrakes location at the corner of 24th & Market. It “won’t be a high end bar,” he says, “just a casual English pub.” Right now he’s waiting to hear how much it will cost, in total, to add a sprinkler system. If the dollar range is within his budget, he plans to sign the lease. He’s not planning to close the Fremont location. In February, Mandrakes announced it was closing after 19 years.

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54 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 xtevex // May 11, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Great idea for that space.

  • 2 Ballard_Sucks_Now // May 11, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    You know, I enjoy tossing back a few cold ones as much as the next guy, but it seems to me that Ballard is turning into one endless strip of bars. Bar, bar, bar, condo, bar, condo, bar, condo, bar, homeless shelter…..

    At some point, doesn't anyone think Ballard could support some OTHER kind of business?

  • 3 boardbrown // May 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Well, we can cross “antique shop” off the list…

  • 4 Trix // May 11, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Could be worse. At least it's a Pub, and not another upscale martini bar. But, yeah, something like an antique or consignment shop would be nice too. I really miss Annabelle's.

  • 5 Anthony // May 11, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I like the Femont one, and I agree atleast its not another “upscale” waterhole, already enough of those.

  • 6 gurple // May 11, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I haven't been to the G&D in years, since before the smoking ban. The air in that place used to be thick as soup. Anyone know what it's like lately?

    Maybe if all the soccer fans go to this place, it'll be easier to get a pint at The Dray during games.

  • 7 Edog // May 11, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Hey, I live in Ballard. I like Beer. And George the Dragon sells Beer. Wow, its win win!

  • 8 Edog // May 11, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    True enough, but that space seems to call out for a pub/cafe.

  • 9 kim // May 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    unless of course they throw in a kids play area cordoned off from the bar and have lunchtime happy hour.

  • 10 Darren Dencklau // May 11, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Has anyone noticed the large oil slick in the water, directly under the Ballard Bridge? Of course you wouldn't notice being in an automobile, but I did notice this morning on the bike. Disgusting.

  • 11 GB // May 11, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    VERY exciting! I'm a huge soccer fan and this would be unbelievable for the neighborhood.

  • 12 Edog // May 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Yes, I did. Seemed long and vivid.

  • 13 bmvaughn // May 11, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    They'd have to vie with The Kiss Cafe and The Stepping Stone as the #1 and #2 Soccer Bars in Ballard. Probably wouldn't be tough, but it would be nice that these 3 bars would be within walking distance of each other!

  • 14 MT Girl // May 11, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Mandrakes was an antique/consignment shop….and there is one just up the block, Classic Consignment is at 24th & 56th.

  • 15 Trix // May 11, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Keeping in mind I don't drive, ride a bike, or own a boat….
    I would guess the oil slick is from a nearby marina.
    Re: George & Dragon. I don't get to Fremont much and know the place by reputation only. I would welcome it here, a place to have a pint and watch a game.
    But we have places to do that here already. Ah, well.

  • 16 Edog // May 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I called the Puget Sound Keeper Alliance Hotline. And left a voicemail asking them to check it out.

  • 17 Trix // May 11, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Yeah, that's gotta be the smallest bar outside of the Shire. Hope you're right.

  • 18 oiltankerjoe // May 11, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Congratulations Darren,

    You are such an amazing person for riding your bike instead of taking a car. It's too bad you couldn't just do it for the sake of personal satisfaction. Nope, instead you had to make snide remarks on how no one else could see it because no one was as responsible or caring as you.

  • 19 Trix // May 11, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    True, but Mandrakes was mostly furniture. Classic is okay, but it was nice having Annabelle's as an alternative. My point was there are already an awful lot of places to grab a beer. Not that I'm complaining…..

  • 20 Darren Dencklau // May 11, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Hi there Oil Cantankerous. It wasn't meant to be a soapbox comment at all. I was simply stating that from an automobile, the spill from where I saw it, directly under the bridge, you would not have been able to see it. And yes, I am an amazing person. Thanks for noticing :-)

  • 21 Darren Dencklau // May 11, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for calling, Edag.

    P.S. to Cantankerous Joe – “taking a car” would be stealing. I am not a thief. Just saying.

  • 22 Darren Dencklau // May 11, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Sorry, Edog, not Edag. Thank you.

  • 23 Edog // May 11, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Was on the bus when I saw it. I was high up. Don't know that I could have seen it from a car.

  • 24 silence.kit // May 11, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Talk about seeing something that isn't there.

    And look, you have 2 people that agree with you.

  • 25 Roadkill // May 11, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    This is awesome. John's a great guy and runs a great pub. Quality beers (2o or so on tap) served in imperial pints (proper 20 oz) and pretty decent pub fare. And not pretentious at all. I hope this happens!

  • 26 MT Girl // May 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Buffalo Exchange is moving into the space that Annabelle's was in…As far as too many bars/restaurants…if more people shopped in Ballard then maybe we would be known for our great local indepent boutiques and not so much for our sushi and beer.

  • 27 Trix // May 11, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Too true, MT Girl.

  • 28 ABtm // May 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I could just get off my lazy butt and go over there and ask, but the Internet is so much easier! Does anyone know if the G&D serves Smythwick's on draught?

  • 29 Edog // May 11, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Smythwicks! I hope not! Every year I go to Ireland, after about a weeks worth of Guinness, I think ok I'll try it again. So I order a Smythwicks, and after a few sips, I'm thinking to myself why do this every stinking year.

    Honestly, I don’t think they brew it in Ireland. They take old, very old, Sam Adams, send it to Ireland, so they can stamp it with a golden harp and ship it back to a happy bunch of Americans!

    I almost never see this consumed in Europe. If you close out a pub, and look at all the dirty glasswear, one in 50 pints is a Smythwicks!

  • 30 BallardDINK // May 11, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Blasphemy, Edog. Blasphemy. Smythwicks is delicious. I recall when I first moved to Ballard 10 years ago, I went on a campaign to get Smythwick's into Connor's, Murphy's, the Old P, the George & Dragon–pretty much any Irish or English-styled pub. I went so far as an impassioned email campaign with the distributor, Diageo. Good people, there.

    Anyway, I'm glad that Smythwick's is here to stay in the U.S. ABtm, they had it on draft at Connor's last time I was there (mid March). They did not have it on draft at the G&D last time I was there (last week), but they did have Boddington's on nitro.

  • 31 Born right the first time // May 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    well I certainly hope the service is better in this one! We went to the one in Freemont once and got completely ignored at the bar but if a regular came up, they were served right away. We've never been back.

  • 32 Edog // May 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Glad its working for you!

  • 33 Trix // May 11, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    That's standard for Fremont bars, isn't it? I get that at both the Triangle and Norms (on weekend evenings, anyway). Though, both are worth the attempt.

  • 34 whamfan // May 11, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Nice! A bar we can smoke in when the city isn't looking. Hope they recapture the current GD atmosphere with 80's refuse for furniture and a bathroom that floods.

  • 35 baldrick // May 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Be nice if they finished the deck at the G&D BEFORE building another pub ;-)

  • 36 LisaG // May 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    OOO! I love that idea.

  • 37 margo // May 11, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Umm you can still smoke at the current G&D, the laws are exempt for great bars noted for their service and fine interior design as the G&D is.

  • 38 LisaG // May 11, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you for answering/clarifying in such a disarming way.

  • 39 Ballard_Rocks_Now // May 12, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Wait, I thought we got tired and ridiculed boutiques now. I get so confused on this blog. One day we want something that fits in with the neighborhood the next we critique something for being bland. Arg who is the purveyor of taste!? They must write a blog so I can keep up with who we're beheading!

  • 40 ABtm // May 12, 2009 at 1:25 am

    I discovered Smythwick's on a business trip to Ireland in 1980 and for years
    it was the Holy Grail to me (on draught only, even then the bottled stuff
    was foul). When they finally started importing it to the U.S. I was thrilled
    at first then slightly disappointed as it wasn't as delicious as I
    remembered, suffering I suspect from the long voyage, but (in my unschooled
    opinion) still dang good.

    This is one reason I never recommend anything, other than to say I like it.
    You never know how someone else is going to react.

    For example, I see a lot of Budweiser around, but I'd rather drink from a
    mud puddle than swallow that stuff. If sales = quality, one might conclude
    that Justin Timberlake is a better musician than Beethoven. :-)

  • 41 fuzzbeans // May 12, 2009 at 1:32 am

    You mean like pizza or sushi?

  • 42 Trix // May 12, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Annabelle's wasn't a boutique. Consignment means affordable. Boutique means expensive.

  • 43 Pioggia // May 12, 2009 at 4:14 am

    hopefully the new branch won't have any of the the fracass over smoking that the original location had…

  • 44 SeattleRichardson // May 12, 2009 at 5:44 am

    I'm guessing the new location (if it happens) will be smoke free…at least I hope so. I don't think the Ballard crowd would really go for that. In the Fremont location they felt like it should have been grandfathered in or something. I always hated that about the Fremont location though. It will be great to go in, get a pint and a shepard's pie or bangers and mash and watch some football/soccer and not have to worry about feeling like I smoked a pack by just being there.

  • 45 buzzy // May 12, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Do any of you remember the old stores in Ballard during the 70's. Sears, Pennys, Kress 10cent store. Fabric store where the consignment store on 24th is now. The Brick Shirt house, Wigwam Dept Store. Most were here until the mid 80's The good old days when you went to Ballard to shop and pay your bills.

  • 46 MT Girl // May 12, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Jeez louise people, I just meant boutique as in small, fun and not corporate. Not all small shops are $$$ and snooty.

  • 47 cking // May 12, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I love the G & D, and can't wait to go here, looks like a great site.

    I do hope their mens room has a slightly less pissy smell than the one in Fremont. The odor of the pisser in Fremont is strong 20 feet away.

  • 48 Barney Stinson // May 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Um not sure what most of you people think has been going on, but you are not allowed to smoke indoors at the Fremont G&D location. You are allowed to smoke on the deck during the winter only, a time when non smokers have no desire to drink outside.

    Hope this helps.

  • 49 ne1 // May 12, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Clearly none of you have actually been to the George in a long time. There has been no smoking inside forever, and you can no longer smoke on the deck regardless of weather or season, thanks to some tattle tale governement employee who had it out for the place. That has been quite a while now. All smoking is done in the parking lot. And lastly there is no further work to be done on the deck, it has been finished for at least a couple of years.
    Get your facts straight folks!

  • 50 mcburns // May 14, 2009 at 6:43 am

    I think it would be great if they opened up in Ballard! This is the only pub I've been able to find Boddington's even offered at and I love it!

  • 51 leavinglasballard // May 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    this is FANTASTIC news!! almost makes up for losing Ballard Camera.

  • 52 e // Jun 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Has anyone noticed that alot more people are liking soccer a lot more in the past few years – or maybe more specifically – liking the idea of liking soccer?

    What do you think this is connected to? MLS coming to Seattle? College students studying abroad in Europe? Obviously baseball, football, and basketball are still more popular by a long shot in the US (as far as spectator sports are concerned). Just noticed, specifically in Seattle, you see games (international and domestic) on a lot more in pubs, and at least one or two people intently watching.

  • 53 chopper_74 // Jun 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks for one less boarded up store front on Market!
    Best wishes.

  • 54 Vonne Carson // Jun 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    My fingers are crossed for you John! Look forward to seeing you there!

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