Skål Beer Hall is coming to Old Ballard

Over the years, Ballard has slowly lost Scandinavian mainstays like Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods, the Scandinavian Bakery and the Viking. New apartment complexes appear with Scandinavian names, slogans and design flourishes — which the city’s design review board likes to see – but it has little to do with our neighborhood’s Scandinavian roots.

That’s why we, the Geeky Swedes, are happy to hear about a new Scandinavian establishment called the Skål Beer Hall that’s coming to the old People’s Pub space in Old Ballard.

“I’m a veteran of the craft beer industry and my Nordic heritage is of great importance to me,” explains Ballard resident and Skål founder Adam McQueen. “We aim to honor the Nordic roots of our neighborhood through a relaxed, communal beer hall experience – what we envision a Viking mead hall would be like today.”

In ancient Scandinavia, a Viking mead hall was the center of the community and a welcoming spot to gather or to host visitors from afar, McQueen explains.

Skål (which rhymes with “bowl” and means “cheers” in Norwegian) will feature an open hall with a “huge central fireplace to gather around on dreary Seattle nights,” he says. “We’ll have large ale horn mugs and Norse mythology inspired touches.”

The front will be getting a makeover, including a “heavy wood door fit for a Viking.”

Not only will Skål feature local craft beer, cider and regional wine, but also mead (fermented with honey) and specialty cocktails – including the Scandinavian favorite, aquavit.

“We’re looking forward to featuring some of our terrific but hard-to-find local products as well as some Scandinavian imports,” he says.

The open kitchen is inspired by the idea of a Viking butcher shop. McQueen explains: “Imagine (if you will) gathering near a roaring fire at the edge of a fjord. Here is where you’d find our food. There will be Nordic influences, traditional bar snacks, and a whole lot of meat (but meatballs are unlikely, sorry Grandma)!”

McQueen says he’s collaborating with Lexi, the chef/owner of the Old Ballard Liquor Company, to create the food concept. With a Swedish family heritage, she has “a wealth of experience with contemporary Scandinavian cuisine and aquavit,” he said.

And if it can’t get any more Scandinavian than that, long-time Ballard residents may remember a Scandinavian restaurant called Vasa Grill that occupied the same space in Old Ballard before People’s Pub (5429 Ballard Ave NW.) “We’ll pay homage to both the Vasa Grill and People’s Pub through details that recognize their former presence in our space,” McQueen says.

Skål Beer Hall will be opening in “early summer.” In the meantime, you can sign up for updates on Skål’s new website and social accounts. 

34 comments on “Skål Beer Hall is coming to Old Ballard”

  1. > See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

  2. Do you have any vegan menu items for my high strung, aggressive shiba inu?

  3. “heavy wood door fit for a Viking.”


    Expect Ballard soyboys …

  4. @Annoying Dog Parent, you should definitely not be feeding your dog a vegan diet. This can be extremely harmful to the dog, as it requires a good amount of protein for normal growth and development.

  5. Good, Ballard really needed a place for beer. Next, how about a burger place and then an ice cream shop.

  6. Jacob is actually well known troll. There is nothing wrong with the feeding your dog a vegan diet. It’s much healthier for them.

  7. Another place that will be too expensive for the cranky baby boomers who became poor when the world passed them by.

    Count me in!

  8. I’m happy to see this change. I had completely forgotten about People’s Pub, though I used to go there years ago; it certainly needed a facelift.
    @CommonSense Exactly!

  9. The drinks might be OK, but I’ve never eaten any Scandanavian food that’s any good.

    Who is this Lexi person anyway that many of you seem to know? How does owning a ‘liquor’ company that serves barely any food make him/her a good cook?

    Guess I’ll wait and see

  10. @Bjorn – Dear thing…one EATS the food to ascertain if she’s a good cook. It’s almost like you’re a troll…

  11. @Bjorn is a well known troll. He often criticizes the food served at Ingraham where my child attends, even though he rarely eats in the cafeteria.

  12. I am generally looking forward to this, but why not serve meatballs? Sure it’s stereotypical, but that would be like a new Italian restaurant saying “we don’t plan on serving anything with Marinara, because it’s too cliche!”

    Plus, drunk people + meatballs = printing money.

  13. European-ism is racism.
    Your animal carcass food and aquavit are dripping with patriarchal blood.

  14. Ate (and drank) at the Vasa for years. Worked at the “Fisherman’s Inn” almost right next door. Old Ballard was the best place in the world. Tak for bringing Scandinavia back!!!

  15. Damn. Mr. Sockpuppet must be off his medications today. Did mother forget to refill your pills?

  16. @Truth
    Your hetero-normative assumptions about my parents’ genders is…
    Wow. Just. Wow. Get educated.

  17. @Sockpuppet: I don’t care who your parents are, as long as they make sure your meds are refilled.

  18. @Sockpuppet

    I know I scold like schoolmarm and stoop to limp ad hominem attacks, but I really do enjoy sparring in the comments section. If you haven’t already noticed, I chose the most absurdly pompous name – “Truth” – out of irony, since I reflexively defend clearly the dumbest takes on important issues.

    It gets boring cooped up taking care of the ex-wives cats. Hopefully we can meet up at this new Scandi bar and share a hearty laugh about Russian bots (grrr we liberals hate Russians when we aren’t quoting Marx) controlling our elections or the best way to raise our taxes! Cheers, or should I say “Skal”!

  19. Oh dear, I seems to be rambling again. I don’t remember trying to justify Sockpuppet’s mental illness and resulting behavior. Oh well.

  20. Looking forward to this new venue Building out a Viking Beer hall. Hopefully you Honor the Old God’s in a good way. You never know if Odin may wander through to check on things. Not to mention Thor who loves great beer and a lot of Mead lol! Also remember that it took one Norwegian to chase a thousand swedes!

  21. @poe’s law in action FTW

    LOL I am quite literally sitting in a kebab shop in Helsinki as I read your comment

  22. Ballard has a great place to buy any Nordic foods at Scandinavian Specialties. They serve authentic foods from a varied lunch menu, and you can find most ingredients to make your own. No, they are not a beer hall, nor do they serve dinner. And now the new Nordic Museum on Market Street will open May 5 with a restaurant and gift shop.

  23. I find very little reason to fight the traffic from Roy to Ballard, but now I just might. I think it provides an ideal atmosphere, something many of us have been looking for, for a while now. I love my Mead’s and Hard Cider. I can only hope the menu will have the likes of Lutfisk, or maybe Fish balls in cream sauce gracing it’s pages.

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