After 28 years in the beer business, Pike Brewing knows that in order to stay relevant you need to keep growing. Pike has been in their subterranean location in the Pike Place Market since 1996, and it’s usually a packed house. From locals to tourists, the 350-seat bar and restaurant is packed, the brewery churning out favorites, and the kitchen focused on quick-delivered pub food.
Now, Pike owners are set to open a new concept that’s literally elevated from the original pub. Tankard & Tun will float above Pike Brewing’s space at the Atrium level, with window walls into a dining room, bar, kitchen and new brewery space with capacity for six 60-barrel tanks.
Slated to open summer 2017, Tankard & Tun’s space will be intimate with 50 seats in the dining room, 20 seats in an oyster bar, and 30 more seats at the Brew Porch, looking directly into the new brewery area. This will allow Chef Gabe Spiel, who has been with Pike since he was 19 years old, a chance to dig into his neighbor’s offerings and produce seafood-centric local, market-inspired small plates that are too complex for the busy kitchen downstairs.
At a recent media preview dinner, dishes we sampled used ingredients from Foraged and Found Edibles, a local purveyor of wild foods like devil’s club shoots, snowbank mushrooms and ramps. Other local vendors will also be in play. The oyster bar will partner with Taylor Oysters for local delicacies like Kumomoto oysters. Pasta dough and broth for a dungeness crab ravioli we sampled was made with barley from Skagit Valley Malting, the same Alba grain used for Pike Place Ale.
Tankard & Tun’s two bar areas will feature the full line-up of Pike Brewing beers, plus a full cocktail bar and an expanded wine list including French champagne selected to accompany the oyster bar.
The space was designed by Bumgardner from their offices right down the block. They were the original architects on the Pike Brewing space downstairs, but this time around Pike is working with the son instead of the father.
The space provided unique design and construction challenges, with five changes of level between the dining area and the brewery space. The layout was dictated in part by the offerings of the space, like peek-a-boo Elliott Bay views from the dining room, and 20′ ceilings in the brewery area. Connection to the Atrium lobby will provide owner Charles Finkel the opportunity to display even more of his breweriana, including a collection of tankards.
Adding brewing capacity was a major factor in the decision to expand, so the high ceilings in the new brewery area will be maxed out. 60-Barrel tanks will be backed into the Post Alley, then hoisted through the side of the building before windows are installed. (Pike’s marketing manager plans to put a GoPro on one of the tanks for the trip so we can follow along.) The new tanks will increase Pike’s overall fermentation capacity by nearly 30%.
Connecting the new tanks (and brewers), with the existing gravity-fed brewery posed another design challenge. The brewery starts in the basement below the restaurant and ends one level above it with a three-floor spiral staircase for brewers to access the mash-tun. With this brewery addition, Pike is extending that spiral staircase to a fourth floor and adding a steel bridge over the Brew Deck bar to connect brewers from the tanks to the mash tun without having to go through the dining area.
In addition to the aforementioned spaces, Tankard & Tun will also have a loft mezzanine over the kitchen, offering private space for events and meetings.
This is Pike Brewing’s biggest expansion in 21 years. Recent additions to the ownership team helped make this possible, as vice-president of operations and part-owner Drew Gillespie is managing construction details of the Tankard & Tun build-out.
Pike owner Rose Ann Finkel told me her fingers are crossed for an early summer opening. Watch the blog and Pike’s Facebook page for updates.
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