Reopening the Ballard Brewery District


Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood has a higher density of breweries than any other neighborhood in the USA and probably the world. I honestly challenge anyone to prove me wrong. As Washington prepares to reopen with its “Safe Start” plan, Seattle has now moved to Modified Phase 1, which allows brewery taprooms to reopen under specific guidelines (see our previous post).

In Ballard, that means at least a dozen brewery taprooms stand able to reopen if and when they choose. I lose count once I run out of fingers.

Though we do not know exactly what kind of schedule each brewery is on for reopening, we do know what to expect when they do. The Ballard Brewed Coalition released a statement today about its unified plan for reopening. The breweries decided that it would be best for customers to know what to expect when the day comes, so they’ve worked together closely to come up with their own set of guidelines.

Check it out, know what to expect, and don’t f*** it up!

Ballard Brewed Coalition

Limited Taproom Reopening Information

The Ballard Breweries are glad to be part of the Governor’s plan to re-open businesses in Washington as safely as possible, guided by the science and data available. In adherence with public health guidance, you can expect the following at your Ballard Breweries.

  • FEWER GUESTS: Fewer people will be allowed into our taprooms than we are all used to.
  • Up to 50% rated occupancy outside / 25% inside
  • No bar seating (or standing) is permitted during Phase 2.
  • Tables will be spaced 6’ apart or separated by a physical barrier. Tables should not be
    moved for any reason.
  • Protocols will be in place to ensure adequate social distancing throughout the taproom.
  • Please be on the lookout for signs and instructions.

5 MAX: All parties must be 5 guests or less. Dogs and children must be seated with their adults at all times. When moving throughout the space (ie for restrooms) children must be accompanied by an adult.

RESERVATIONS: Most breweries are NOT taking reservations. If we are at max capacity when you arrive,
please come back later — and visit one of our neighboring breweries in the meantime!

BOX IT IN! We have created an online form that will be accessible at each brewery. You are welcome to record your name and contact information for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. Information provided voluntarily will only be used if needed by public health authorities and will be discarded after 30 days.

EXTRA SANITIZING: Hand sanitizer will be available at entry (assuming supply availability) Point of sale
systems will be sanitized between each customer. Other high touch surfaces will receive extra sanitizing during taproom open hours. These surfaces include tables, chair backs, door handles, light switches, water stations, restroom fixtures, etc.

SAMPLES: Many breweries will NOT offer sample tastes during Phase 2.

WATER: Please request water at the bar if no water station is available


  • Bus your own table
  • Wear a mask anytime you are not at your table (as you are able)
  • Be alert for signs to help you navigate newly arranged taprooms
  • Use the online form to record your visit for contact tracing purposes
  • Be patient and kind! Everyone is trying to navigate the new normal in the safest way possible
    for all patrons and staff. Let’s all be extra patient with one another!
  • ASK US if you have any questions!
  • Please check with Individual breweries for opening dates, hours and other policies

Guests who are unwilling to adhere to taproom guidelines may be asked to leave.



  1. I hope what was/is going on outside of Fremont Brewery does not happen at others in Ballard. There was a long line of people waiting to get in, which extended well around the block, and it looked like most were standing closer than 6 feet apart, and almost none of them had masks.

    Now I know that Fremont can only control what goes on inside their business, it probably would have been a good idea for them to walk the line and politely recommend people wear mask in line also. Or maybe they should have done a reservation system in place to avoid that kind thing.

    We all want to get back to enjoying beers at our favorite breweries, but please people, use common sense!

  2. Have you seen the protests in Seattle and all over the country? Social distancing is over.

    1. Yes, I am extremely aware of the protests, and believe the benefits of protesting against racial injustice, social injustice, police brutality or corrupt government, outweighs the risk of spreading COVID. I don’t however feel that getting a pint or two of beer from your favorite local brewery, is not worth the risk.

  3. I went by Cloudburst last Friday for some beer to go and they expressed that they don’t plan on reopening the downtown facility to indoor seating for modified phase 1 or phase 2. That’s unfortunate but every business has to do what they feel is safe for them and their patrons. Counterbalance brewing was awesome and opened as soon as they hear the news of the updated phase as did Future Primitive and more… Having a pint at Counterbalance felt like Prohibition just ended it was exciting.

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