There’s no shortage of excellent beer in Seattle. From new breweries pouring weird infusions in branded pint glasses to neon-lit dives that sell a goblet of Rainier for three dollars, Seattle has a beer spot for pretty much every situation. Except hunger. Sure, there might be food nearby - maybe there’s a truck outside the brewery serving mac and cheese fried on a stick, or your happy hour go-to has wings and truffle fries that you’ll chase with nachos and a burger, or the fancy gastropub has a fancy burger. But if you want food that’s actually just as interesting as your beer? Not a chance. That is, until No Anchor.
No Anchor is a place that takes its food just as seriously as its beer. And there’s no burger in sight.
The menu is made up of fancy riffs on coastal bar food, like the shrimp roll on a pretzel bun that makes us not care if we ever take that two-week road trip to Maine. Stranger-sounding stuff includes raw radishes dipped in parmesan custard and dusted with an unidentified black powder, and smoked trout toast covered in a meadow of edible flowers. Turns out, this is exactly the kind of food we want to be eating with beer. We just didn’t know that until No Anchor came along.
The food doesn’t just taste great - it pairs like a charm with their fantastic beers, some of which you can’t find anywhere else. From smoked pear weisses to sour stouts, the draught list is plotted out on a coordinate plane they’ve designed around an X-Y axis with four categories (approachable, traditional, modern, and esoteric). This is the only scenario in which we are ever happy to use geometry, and it’s all part of what makes No Anchor so special. And we haven’t even gotten to the space yet.
It looks like a mashup of your parents’ musty suburban basement where you used to get drunk on Midori, and the cabin of an old ship. The vibe is retro-nautical, like if a tackle shop on the side of the road served beer. On one side of the room, there’s a slick subway tile backsplash across the bar taps. On the other, a glass display case containing a mason jar filled with creepy baby doll arms. It says a lot about No Anchor that we’re not even put off by the thought of how many Cabbage Patch Kids had to be x-acto-knifed in the name of eclectic decor.
No Anchor is really for anyone. If you’re a beer person, this is your new reason for getting out of bed in the morning. If you’re not a beer person, you’re still going to eat an incredible meal (and you can find something else to drink). If you’re on weekend number 28 of PBRs and tater tots at your go-to spot and you’re looking for a change of scenery, No Anchor will save you from the rut you’re trapped in. Although you might very well end up here for the next 28 weekends.
These are crunchy, seasoned with Old Bay, only cost three dollars, and come in a vase. No reasons exist for you to not get them.
Remember those breadstick Handi-Snacks that came with processed “cheese” to dip in and had no hand in nourishing you as a child? These are like the slightly-more-nutritious version of those. Served with a creamy parmesan custard for dipping, they’re addicting.
Mousse-y trout on a piece of rye sourdough toast with what looks like more flowers and fronds on top than an engagement photo shoot. Despite this looking like a scene out of a fabric softener label, it tastes excellent, especially if you’re also sipping on a smoky beer.
Maine, watch your back. Fresh crab very lightly dressed, topped with chives, and overstuffed in a pretzel roll with homemade potato chips seasoned with ketchup salt. This is the thing to get here.
If you’re with another person, you’ll want to get one crab roll and one shrimps roll and share. This one has the same pretzel bun and chips, but is filled with little shrimps tossed in lemon aioli and dotted with a spicy sriracha-like sauce. Not as good as the crab roll, but this is for you if you’re on team mayo.
Beet dumplings filled with potato and fresh cheese - a pretty great bowl of dumplings, but the other seafood dishes here are more worthy of your time.