The Place: The Waterwheel Lounge , 7034 15th Ave NW, 784-5701, BALLARD

The Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 am - 2 am

Uptown, Downtown or


The Waterwheel's Brunch Invites You to Ride it Out


The Place: The Waterwheel Lounge, 7034 15th Ave NW, 784-5701, BALLARD

The Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 am - 2 am

Uptown, Downtown or Down Home: Downtown, back in time. The Waterwheel Lounge has been in existence since 1974, and if it's been updated since, you could never tell. Un-ironic wood paneling, high-back stools, classic rock and new wave anthems pouring out of the jukebox and the kind of clientele who aren't ashamed to be slurry drunk during church hours make for a laid-back, entertaining place to waste an afternoon.

Bubbles, Bloodies or Black Coffee: "I'd rather be a good liver than have one" is the quote from Carol, owner of the Waterwheel, that pops up as you enter their website. It should be a good indicator that when it comes to booze, this place is not fucking around. The Sunday drink special of $3 (J. Roget) Mimosas and Bloodies is meant to get the job done. My translucent greyhound was also a mere $3 and so stiff I surrendered with a quarter of the glass still full. The coffee comes to you via a Mr. Coffee and is supermarket brand from a can, but it was freshly brewed and inoffensive. There is no sense pretending coffee at the Waterwheel is made for java snobs or even enjoyment. It is a regularity device employed by folks attempting to get their sober on and those who've given up the sauce but still love the bar.

Hungover, Hooked-Up or Hanging with the Family: No kids, thanks, this place is a true BAR. It is a good spot for a hangover that is manageable, but may be too boozy and beer-scented for a serious bender recovery. The food however, will do you right. This is the spot to bring a hook up who really likes to drink and you're cool spending the entire day with, because once you settle in here, be it in the darkened bar or outdoor patio, you are in for the long haul.

What's Cooking: That old adage about books and their covers comes to mind at the Waterwheel, as what is going on in their kitchen, for brunch anyway, is completely unexpected. It's like some handed you a Wal-Mart jewelry box that contains vintage Cartier. The Pulled Pork & Caramelized Onion Scramble (seasoned pulled pork, caramelized onion, roasted tomato, garlic and thyme $7.99) was the perfect combination of fresh and savory. The meatiness was incredible and had a flavor not often found at breakfast -- that of a slow-cooked Italian style Sunday roast. The pork was so perfectly executed it practically disintegrated in my mouth. The underlying bed of hash browns served as a sponge for the tasty, juicy pork and veggie drippings and made for one of the all-around best and most surprising breakfasts I've encountered. The menu also boasts scrambles suitable for vegetarians, french toast for fans of morning sugar, and on the day of my visit some impressive looking crepes in both sweet and savory varieties.

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