STILL SMOKIN'

Though much of Ballard's been recast as a hamlet for artists, rockabilly types, and young professionals, the Ballard Firehouse remains a haven to proud butt-rockers and unapologetically mainstream folks. The converted fire station stands as a brick beacon just off Market, with a ramshackle portable marquee that announces local favorites like Hit Explosion and hordes of once-princely acts on the comeback trail, like Ratt or Steve Miller. To go along with the rockin' tunes, there's food, liquor, darts, video games, and a nifty brick-walled atmosphere. All they need is a guitar-playing dalmation and it'd be the coolest place in town. 5429 Russell St. N.W., 206-784-3516.

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