Back to Archives

Jake steps up to the plate

Jake Hathcocks moves his beer up the street

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

The birth of a new beer pub always brings a little tear to my eye. But a new one just steps from my house makes me openly weep like a dad on his daughter’s wedding day.

Such bawling came with the opening of Jake’s Bar and Bistro at 215 Wilkes Street in downtown Steilacoom. The eatery and beer Mecca is the latest incarnation brought to the South Sound by Jake Hathcock. He used to run Steilacoom Wine and Brew that overlooked the ferry terminal, but learned through a series of renovations during the two years of operation there that the digs just didn’t fit what he had in mind.

“You can only get so many people in 400 square feet. I was hitting the glass ceiling too many times over there.” he said. “Food was the major factor.”

The old dig allowed for beer by the glass and takeaway brews in bottles from around the world, but there was no kitchen. People like food with their brews, so he had to find a place big enough for a kitchen. Luckily, there was a new development under construction down the street that seemed perfect.

The new space offers 42 beers on tap and another 100 in bottles, not to mention a collection of small winery wines from around the Pacific Northwest.

“This is unique for the area,” he said. “It really is. The emphasis here is on the beer and the food.”

There are beers found at Jake’s that can’t be found anywhere outside of the most complete beer halls of Seattle. There is, for example, St. Bernardus and Gulden Draak, Belgian brews that are so smooth but complex that you will likely see God after the first pint if not for the flavor then for the 10-percent punch it packs into the glass."

One of the most obvious things of note is that there are no beer taps at the bar. Patrons will only find a wall of 42 black hoses. They have to either read about the beers before they order, sample until they find what they like, or talk to the bartender for recommendations. All of this is by design.

“I want the beer to sell itself,” Hathcock said. “I don’t want them to be sold through marketing or what someone is used to. We have a beer menu that’s the size of a small novel.”

The menu offers hot sandwiches, pasta dishes and dinner salads to run alongside the beer with more entries to be added to the menu as the bistro finds its audience. Actually, it will likely have several audiences since it plans to have events every night of the week, from live jazz and trivia nights to beer and wine tastings and maybe even some performance works.

[Jake’s Bar and Bistro, 215 Wilkes St., downtown Steilacoom, 253.581.3300]

Other beer news

It doesn’t seem like a year ago, but apparently it has been 365 days since 99 Bottles opened its doors in Federal Way. The pioneer general store of malted goodness offers bottles, mixed sixes and racks of some of the best beers the world offers. This is not a Safeway aisle of beer. This is for beer adventurers. At last count, the store has more than 800 types of beers from 50 countries in stock to quench the thirst of even the most particular beer drinker.

New shipments arrive weekly. This week’s delivery will be special since the store will be marking its one-year anniversary from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 20. Beer partygoers will meet special guests from Rogue: Matt Thompson and David “Hutch” Hutchinson, head brewer of the Issaquah Brewhouse. On tap will also be a special sampling of Hutch’s brews, Menage a Frog and Bullfrog Ale, as well as Rogue Ales.

comments powered by Disqus