The Watering Hole: The Kangaroo and Kiwi Pub, 2026 NW Market St., 297-0507. BALLARD.
Photo by Keegan Hamilton Todd Wiege and the Kangroo & Kiwi's Queensland Iced Tea
The Atmosphere: The Kangaroo and Kiwi (or K&K for short) recently reopened after relocating to Ballard's Carnegie Public Library from their 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 of the term, the gorgeous old building is truly a gem. The ample interior is basically divided into thirds between 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 facelift the space has received. An expansive patio with a small garden and picnic table seating immediately qualifies as the neighborhood's best outdoor drinking locale. During Tuesday afternoon happy hour, a half 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 LakeK&K, but he 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, Seahawks 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.
Australia's finest ginger beer
He muddles lemon wedges with ice and a few sprigs of mint, then adds a healthy pour of Sailor Jerry rum, a dash 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 kinds sold in the States.
"The Aussie version of a Dark and Stormy is made with Bundaberg rum," Wiege 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."