Last night The Cask opened in West Seattle. The self-described “old world ale house and wine house,” features four beers on tap and one on the beer engine. The Cask also has a nice selection of bottled world beers, not to mention wine by the glass. With the exception of the world beers, the focus here is on local product. We posted a story about The Cask a few months ago when construction was just getting underway (read it here).
You’ll find The Cask at 2350 California Avenue SW, immediately across the street from the historic Admiral Theater. Consequently, it is also across the street from the Porterhouse Pub. How convenient. Now you have at least two reasons to visit West Seattle’s Admiral District. (MAP.) The Cask is open Tuesday-Thursday from noon – 10:00 p.m. Friday-Saturday noon – 11:00 p.m. Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
For the opening, the beer selection included Fremont Interurban IPA, Skagit River Steelie Brown Ale, Snoqualmie Falls Steam Train Porter, Lazy Boy Pilsner, and Elliott Bay’s Riot Ale on the beer engine. We considered this an exceptionally well thought-out and sophisticated selection. In addition to the taps, just inside the front door you’ll find a cooler full of world beers with most of the familiar world styles represented. These beers can be consumed on site or you can take them with you. There is a one dollar discount per bottle if you are getting beer to go.
On a sweltering evening, walking into the cool, dark confines of The Cask offered a welcome diversion from the heat. The space features a lot of dark wood, including a beautiful bar fashioned from an old-growth fir tree (fallen, not cut) and large wine casks cleverly repurposed as furniture. The bar has seating for perhaps 10 or 12 people. Along the opposite wall there are small, comfortable booths designed to seat two people comfortably, though we did see people squeezing in extra bodies without any apparent distress. Next to the front door you’ll notice a small stage and a guitar hanging on the wall. An open invitation for wayward troubadours, perhaps?
We understand that the owner, Shon MacDughlas (pronounced Shawn McDouglas), is a very good guitar player. Live entertainment is on the docket, whether it be provided by Shon or others. Last night, we walked in and ordered our beers just as Shine on You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd was beginning. I was hooked. “It’s like they knew I was coming,” I thought to myself. While there, we heard classic rock, jazz, and world music. The selection seemed well thought-out and sophisticated.
The Cask serves snack-ish foods, most of which come from a neighborhood bakery (Heavenly Pastry and Cake) and seem perfectly chosen to pair with beer. This is the same bakery that was selling fresh pretzels at SIB last weekend. Shon plans to see how things go before making any big decisions about food. For now, you will find delicious treats like fresh cheese and jalapeno biscuits—my new favorite thing in the world.
Everything seems carefully considered. West Seattle has plenty of watering holes, but this one has an indisputably grownup feel to it. I keep coming back to the word sophisticated, but I don’t want you think it is stuffy or stodgy. It is refined, yet casual. It is both cool and cozy. You won’t find any coloring books, booster seats or misbehaving children at The Cask. This place is for adults only.
Diedra Pope tells us, “I’ve never worked so hard in my life. And Shon is the one who did everything. He did all of this.” She points to the bar, the walls, the booths and everything. Diedra is the co-owner and is Shon’s wife. She goes by Dee. “I suppose it’s like an infant. Seems like a lot now, but someday I’ll look back on this and remember it as the happiest time.”
Converting a shoe store into an old world ale house and wine house is no easy task, but Shon and his wife have done it. What’s more, they seem to have done it flawlessly. Remember, this was opening night. They hit the ground running. We look forward to many more hours at The Cask, where we will sip beers and chat with friends, listen to great music, and watch Shon and Dee’s baby grow up.