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Going underground

Olympia bar funky but flavorful

The club sandwich at Oly Underground doesn’t skimp on the insides. Photo credit: Jake de Paul

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Announcer: If you have not taken your stomach for a ride in downtown Olympia, then it is missing a great deal about Northwest cuisine. While there are plenty of places cooking fancy dinners on the waterfront, in Olympia, the mood and scene are often funky at best.  There is no pretense in the capital city ... at least not at the Oly Underground.

Jake: Oly Underground is an adults-only establishment, and they have the drinks to support it.  Aside from a large selection of draft beer, this is a fully stocked bar as well.  Though it was mid-afternoon on my visit, the ladies at the table next to me said they come solely for the Bloody Mary. So, I gave it a shot, and they were right, loaded with flavor and just the right kick, it was also garnished with, well, just about everything - pickled asparagus, olive, pepper, onion, and even a lime.

Jason: They have plenty of big screens showing sports with high bistro tables, regular seats and even couches - you name your mood and they have the seat for you.

Jake: The sharable menu here is a bit limited, but what they lack in choices, they certainly make up for in quality.  The fish tacos include full filets of Mahi Mahi, and topped with fresh onions, tomatoes and shredded cheese.  But the star is actually the Mexican Ceviche which includes the same Mahi Mahi soaked in lime juice and mixed into a salsa-like dip with the freshness of avocados, tomatoes and cucumbers; the spice of onions and jalapenos; and a little cilantro.  This is not the standard chips and salsa offered elsewhere.

Jason: The pizza is sizeable for two or one hungry person, and it shares that great tavern flavor you get from a pie in a bar.  Nothing fancy, thin and crisp, the ingredients were fresh with just the right amount of drippy grease.

Jake: Much like the burgers, the sandwiches are large and hearty, even the club sandwich isn't on the lighter side of things as it is triple-stacked on sourdough bread with piles of ham, turkey, and they don't skimp on the bacon either, which I appreciate.  Then add two kinds of cheese; Swiss and cheddar along with crispy lettuce and fresh tomatoes, and you will not leave hungry.

Jason: The turkey sandwich is the same - a generous heaping of cranberry on a rustic sourdough.  The sweet potato fries, however, were soggy - they need to crisp those babies up a bit.

Jake: I saved the best for last.  The most unique thing about the Oly Underground is the varied selection of side dishes available with any burger or sandwich. You have the choice of the house salad, house-made side winder fries (which I went with), sweet potato fries, tangy BBQ baked beans, or even baked macaroni and cheese.  The side dish that is nearly a meal in itself - is also available at no extra cost - is the baked potato; loaded with fresh tomatoes, green pepper, mushrooms, green onions, bacon, and then topped with sour cream.

The Oly Underground, 109 Legion Way SW, Olympia, 360.352.7343,

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