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Big turnout for the Jolly Roger grand opening

Posted by Geeky Swedes on February 21st, 2010

It was a packed house at the Jolly Roger Taproom grand opening on Saturday.

Charlie emailed us this photo and says, “Got here at 357 to a big line. When they opened the door, the place filled up and they took names for a waiting list. We were 2 pages down it. Since then, no one has gotten in and the line has grown well past where it was when we got here.”

When we arrived a couple hours later to 1111 NW Ballard Way, things hadn’t changed. The line still stretched out the door and each seat inside the pirate-themed restaurant was taken. George Hancock, the owner of Maritime Brewing Company and the Taproom was blown away by the turnout. “I don’t know how that happened,” he tells us, “I want to go out and give everybody a hug and say thank you because without them we wouldn’t be where we are.”

Hancock says with all the negotiations and remodel to the building, this opening day has been two years in the making. The brewery moved from its former location on Leary & 15th because they needed a bigger space, but Hancock refused to leave Ballard. “Ballard’s our home. This is where we want to be,” he says. “It’s nice to finally see it open. That’s all I can say.”

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21 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 onederfullone // Feb 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    The beer never tasted so good!
    WB Jolly! ;-)

  • 2 Reba1 // Feb 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I can't wait to go. Maybe for dinner sometime this week. Yum! Lil Jollys for me!

  • 3 NoraBell // Feb 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Oh, very cool! I can't wait to see it for myself. :-)

  • 4 bill // Feb 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    do they serve tequila? (not a fan of their beer, unfortunately)

  • 5 Silver // Feb 22, 2010 at 1:10 am

    I'm with you, Bill! Do they has foofy drinks? And how is the food?

  • 6 Reba1 // Feb 22, 2010 at 3:42 am

    Beer and wine only.

  • 7 evanb // Feb 22, 2010 at 6:39 am

    great NW food – surprisingly good even, and awesome beer. Everyone should try to go if they love Ballard. This is a mainstay business with some authenticity.

    Almost all of the staff from the original brewpub are still there.

  • 8 Festus // Feb 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

    The food is usually excellent. The menu used to change every 6-8wks, and from the menu I saw today, they have the same chef. The sandwiches are great, and the fries aren't bad. The only thing I dislike is their version of fried pickles! It's a brewpub, so they should be able to dip them in a beer batter, not breading.

    All their beer, except for occasional seasonals, are quite hoppy. I can drink it, but I'd prefer they have at least one malty, unsmoked option. I keep hoping they'll brew a nut brown ale, or a low IBU stout. And put it on the nitro tap.

  • 9 gurple // Feb 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I gave up when I saw the size of the line, at 4:45. I went to Hale's. I was clearly not the only one who went to Hale's as a consolation prize — Hale's can thank Maritime for a big bump in business on Saturday.

  • 10 BallardDINK // Feb 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Showed up at 4:00, saw the huge line, went to The Shelter and drank Maritime IPA there, instead. :)

    I think it's funny/sad that after all this expense and heartache in moving to a new place, it's instantly inadequate. Now they've got to expand, again.

  • 11 snoopy // Feb 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I am sorry you had to go to Hales…. No one should ever have to go there.

  • 12 Charles Redell // Feb 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    I don't think it's instantly inadequate. We're just excited to have them back after long hiatus. The crowd will likely die back and seats will be available as business booms, I am sure.

  • 13 gurple // Feb 22, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Different strokes. To me, the beer at Hale's is solid if rarely inspired. And the food is good.

  • 14 alex // Feb 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    you didn't really expect to get seated right away when they first opened did you?

  • 15 bill // Feb 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I think Hale's beer is far better than Maritime's. Especially between IPAs (Supergoose vs Imperial IPA).

  • 16 BallardDINK // Feb 22, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Of course not; I considered camping out, as I did for Star Wars. To be clear, I'm happy for the Jolly Roger's success, and merely wish that they had moved to an even bigger venue.

    On the line side, I think a smarter move for opening day would have been to treat it as the event it was: eliminate most or all of the tables, feature tray-passed food samples. The idea being: give as many people as possible a glimpse of the new location. Go back to regular business-as-usual seating on Sunday and Monday.

    Not that big a deal at the end of the day. Those 50-100 people who couldn't get in, and those untold numbers who drove by (and, upon seeing the line, kept on driving) will surely be back.

  • 17 Mike W. // Feb 22, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I arrived at about 10 pm that night. No line, just a great atmosphere with people chatting. The Jolly Roger just the way it is supposed to be. George looks pretty burned out by all this and I encourage everyone to give HIM a hug and thank him for doing all the heavy lifting to help us keep a real Ballard icon in Ballard and better than ever. George has always been a generous supported of neighborhood and progressive causes. He is a mensch and someone worth getting to know.

  • 18 Anthony Mohr // Feb 23, 2010 at 2:08 am

    I was so looking forward to opening day, but when we got there at 9pm I saw a bunch of cars lining the street and once we took a look inside, we decided to come back another time. We ended up going to The Counter.

    Hopefully the crowds die down soon because I can't wait to go to my favorite brewery!

  • 19 snoopy // Feb 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I do like Hales beer as well. I often pick it up at the store. I have just had problems with their service too many times.

  • 20 Sven // Mar 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Bringing a 357 to a big line is one way to avoid waiting, I guess.

    Oh, wait… I misread.

  • 21 pnwfrank // Mar 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I'm really looking forward to trying it out! I worked in that building from 1981 to 2008 when it was the W.E. Hough Co. / Hough Marine & Machine, the restaurant area was my hydraulics shop. And it still has fluid in motion how fitting.

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