The Shambles is the brainchild of Matthew Brady and Joel Klemenhagen, a pair of friends who’ve worked around Seattle on the beer scene for years. Matthew was the retail director at Fremont Brewing. Joel was a longtime beer buyer for Whole Foods. This new beer bar and restaurant in Seattle is about to open. We were there recently to sample some of the wares and chat with Matthew for a bit. You can listen to, or download, that interview below. We also share more info and some pictures below.
Listen to the audio of the interview below, or download it here.
The official opening date for The Shambles is Sunday, January 21st. The location is just off of Lake City Way at the intersection of 15th Ave NE and NE 80th St. Map. This is a 21+ establishment for reasons that Matthew explains in the interview.
The menu focuses largely on meat, though the veggie dishes we sampled were outstanding. We had the Lacinato Kale Salad as well as the Crispy Brussels Spouts. As for meat, we limited ourselves to the lamb sausage and the beef jerky. Crazy good. Hell for vegetarians. Heaven for carnivores.
And speaking of meat, they take it very seriously at The Shambles. House-cured charcuterie, house-made sausages, house-smoked jerky. There’s a shed out back where the smoker lives. They call her Norma Jean. Serious meat freaks, as the name, The Shambles, suggests. Back in medieval York, England, The Shambles was a famous meat market, a street renowned for its robust collection of butcher shops and bars. It’s still there today, but nowadays The Shambles is a bit more like a semi-permanent street fair. However, there’s still plenty of meat and beer there.
You are probably more interested in the beer. You’ll find 32 beers on tap, mostly from the Seattle area. The beer menu is diverse, with a few serious gems. These guys know beer and it shows. In addition to a carefully curated draft lineup, Matthew and Joel are dedicated to serving it the proper way. Short-draw draft lines, individual regulators, and all the rest.
As far as the visuals are concerned, here are a few design features. Above the draft beer handles there’s a cool design installation. Look close and you’ll recognize that those are staves. They were taken from barrels that once contained Fremont Brewing’s Kentucky Dark Star barrel-aged imperial stout. The same staves were used in a different way to provide the backdrop to the booze bottles around the corner.
Much of the mill work was done by a local carpenter who used wood reclaimed from a 90+ year old barn near Chehalis. To the left of the beer bar, there’s a large book shelf that also serves as the cleverly disguised door to a small office and the walk-in beer cooler. They have not yet decided which book will serve as the secret lever that opens the door.