Pliny for Parks and our first visit to The Noble Fir

I like it when good beer is paired with a good cause. With that in mind, have you heard about Pints for Parks? Each Wednesday from 6:30 til close, The Noble Fir in Ballard donates one dollar for every pint sold to local parks. Heck, maybe you’ve never even heard of The Noble Fir.

As if drinking for a worthy cause isn’t enough to entice you, this Wednesday, November 17th The Noble Fir will tap a keg of Pliny the Elder. I know how bonkers y’all are for Pliny so I thought Pints for Parks deserved special mention this week. Also, I’ve been meaning to say some nice things about The Noble Fir, so here’s my chance.

I must admit, my first thought when The Noble Fir opened last spring was, “Great, just what Ballard needs, another place to drink.” Still, after learning about their excellent beer selection, it took me way too long to pay them a visit. Mrs. Beerblog and I stopped by recently to check the place out for the first time and found it a warm and dry respite from a nasty Saturday afternoon rain storm. Walking in and shaking the weather off of my Gortex jacket felt very appropriate at The Noble Fir.

“We’ve brought together two things we love – the great outdoors and delicious beverages.” That’s how Rick Weersing and Ellen Kelly describe their tavern. Along with 17 tap handles pouring a thoughtful selection of craft beers into 20 ounce pints, you’ll find a library of hiking and outdoor books. You will also find a staggering collection of Green Trails Maps. Seriously, this is where you must go to plan your next backpacking adventure. Rick and Ellen are serious outdoor junkies and the library proves it.

Oh, and did I mention the 20 ounce pints? That earns The Noble Fir a smiley face! Even if you are an unapologetic urbanite who thinks “backpacking” refers to carrying your laptop up the street to Stumptown Coffee, The Noble Fir entices you with a great atmosphere in which to enjoy your beer. In 20 ounce pints, no less!

The Noble Fir is a grown-ups only establishment. Another smiley face! Along with the beverage menu, which includes draft and bottled beer as well as a nice wine and cider selection, you will find a menu of “small plate” offerings—meat and cheese plates, sandwiches, soups and desserts. We were on our way to dinner so we did not eat, but the menu was enticing.

There is seating for 10 people at the L-shaped bar. Most of the other seating is at four-top pub tables. There are two flat screen televisions but I don’t recall if they were even turned on when we were there.

I would describe the atmosphere at The Noble Fir as casual and laid back, but it is also, well, noble. I don’t want to say it’s fancy, but it’s nice. The decor is understated and austere in a utilitarian sort of way. Everything you need and nothing you don’t is very tastefully provided. Indeed, it feels like a great place to read a book or study a map as you quaff a 20 ounce pint. Love that. You could stop by before attending the opera or you could stop by after paddling the upper reaches of the Stillaguamish River. Either way, you’ll fit right in.

I’ve only been once, but I really like The Noble Fir. It’s just got the right kind of vibe for me. And did I mention the 20 ounce pints?

I should also note that we stopped by unannounced and did not introduce ourselves to Rick and Ellen until we were leaving. We did not and will not receive anything in exchange for these kind words. I honestly just like the place and think the Pints for Parks idea is very cool.

You can follow The Noble Fir on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed about what’s on tap.


  1. The Noble Fir is a welcome addition to Ballard. Having imperial 20 oz pints is a cool feature; it would also be nice to see them complement those with 10 oz half-pints. With such a varied beer selection, it would nice to be able to sample a few different brews in smaller servings.

  2. Living in Ballard, the Fir is one of my favorite regular pubs. Rick and Ellen are super friendly, and the Map Room is just awesome. We come here for a pint whenever we are planning a hike. It can get busy on Friday and Saturday nights, like everywhere on Ballard Ave, but usually it’s just the right amount of crowded but not loud. If I have one complaint though, and it’s a small one, it’s that Rick does love his IPAs. 🙂 Usually half the taps are some assortment of Standard and Imperial IPAs, so if that’s your thing then you’ll love it. Recently I’ve been off the hops and the big beers though, no real reason, but fortunately they usually have other excellent things on. They’ve usually got a Chuckanut on, and they’ve had Petrus recently, for example. So it’s all good in the ‘hood. Also check out the hand dryers in the bathrooms. They’ll take paint off; it’s quite a thing. Finally, I think they open at Noon on Sundays, so we sometimes stop in for a pint while shopping the Ballard Farmer’s Market.

  3. While the beer selection looks yummy, the menu sets off alarms.

    When ever I see “pate,” “infused” and “artisan”, and start to panic and check my wallet.

    What ever happened to Super Nachos?

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