Amidst the Pike Place Market expansion buzz, you may have missed the construction going on just down the street. But today, an unveiling: Pike Brewing Company is opening a new seafood-centric restaurant just above the brewpub on First Avenue, and it may just be your new downtown go-to for oysters and beer.
Shiny and modern in a way little of that area is, Tankard & Tun hasn’t been an easy construction project. The restaurant stands where four retail shops were before. In their place, a nearly 70-seat dining room with flour-to-ceiling windows and water views, an oyster bar, a mezzanine that will make a killer private dining/event space, and an area they’re calling the brew deck that looks onto six fermentation tanks so large they had to be hoisted in through the window. Those tanks were a big impetus for opening this space—Pike Brewing will be able to increase their production by about 30 percent, said co-founder Charles Finkel, and put out some of the specialty beers they’ve had to put on the back burner, particularly during the busiest summer months.
But Tankard & Tun doesn’t exist for entirely practical production reasoning. The goal is to offer a more specialized dining experience, where customers can enjoy slightly more sophisticated food and beer pairings that just isn’t possible with how busy the downstairs pub is. Chef Gabe Spiel, who started his career as a line cook at the Pike Pub 16 years ago, has designed a menu that ranges from traditional (beer-battered rockfish) to experimental (steamed mussels in licorice liqueur), all with two recommended beer pairings to either complement or contrast each dish.
A note on the name: “Tankard” refers to the kind of beer mugs you’ll see lining the walls—all decorations from Finkel’s personal stash of beer paraphernalia. “Tun” references the mash tun, the huge vessel you’ll see outside the front entrance that converts grain starch to sugar in the beer fermentation process.
Starting Thursday, hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight daily.