The Kangaroo & Kiwi Heads to Ballard

Drinking in a library, with impunity.

The Watering Hole: The Kangaroo and Kiwi Pub, 2026 N.W. Market St., 297-0507, BALLARD

The Atmosphere: The Kangaroo and Kiwi (K&K for short) recently reopened after relocating to Ballard's Carnegie Public Library from its previous home near Green Lake. The move ought to make Australians, New Zealanders, and Seattleites rejoice: A brick-and-mortar establishment in the most literal sense, the gorgeous old building is truly a gem. The ample interior is basically divided into thirds: the main bar, the pool room, and a separate dining/seating area. The walls are dotted with framed rugby jerseys and other sundry Aussie swag, and the freshly buffed hardwood floors are just one example of the substantial face-lift the space has received. An expansive patio with a small garden and picnic tables immediately qualifies as the neighborhood's best outdoor drinking locale. During Tuesday-afternoon happy hour, half a dozen dudes are hanging out inside, drinking beer and watching various forms of football on TV.

The Barkeep: Todd Wiege tended bar for a time at the old Green Lake K&K, but briefly decamped to Quinn's Pub on Capitol Hill before rejoining at the new Ballard location. Sporting a Mariners cap and rocking a Black Keys Pandora station on the bar's stereo, the affable Wiege chats about backpacking in Europe, Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch's recent DUI, and his upcoming wedding.

The Drink: Naturally, the Australia and New Zealand–themed pub serves Australia and New Zealand–inspired drinks. Wiege whips up one of the house specials: a Queensland Iced Tea. He muddles lemon wedges with ice and a few sprigs of mint, then adds a healthy pour of Sailor Jerry rum, a dash of orange liqueur, and Bundaberg ginger beer imported from Down Under. The ingredients are shaken, strained, and served on the rocks in a pint glass.

My tasting notes from the first sip: "Damn, that's refreshing!" The drink is tart and minty, and tastes like a lemony mojito. Asked about the special ginger beer, Wiege (a Seattle-area native) says it's popular in Australia, and he likes it because it's "not as spicy" as other versions sold in the States.

"The Aussie version of a Dark and Stormy is made with Bundaberg rum," he says. "But you can't get it in the U.S. The only way is if somebody goes [to Australia] and brings some back, but then we can't sell it."

The Verdict: The lemony rum concoction is ideal for a sunny summer day, and the Kangaroo and Kiwi is a perfect fit for the old Ballard library. "It's worked out great," Wiege says. "It looks like a traditional Aussie pub. They're always in old buildings."

khamilton@seattleweekly.com

 
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