McMenamins Queen Anne Restaurant & Brewery

The spouse, daughter and I, and some visiting relatives, recently checked out McMenamins Queen Anne. This was our second time at a McMenamins brewpub: we previously visited Dad Watsons in Fremont. Rather than re-write essentially the same post as before, I think it might help to first read my Dad Watsons post, then return to this post. I’ll describe our Queen Anne visit and talk about how it differed from Dad Watsons.

There’s no denying that McMenamins Queen Anne is in a great location – just north of Seattle Center on Roy Street – an easy walk from the Space Needle, EMP|SFM, etc. However it is smaller than Dad Watsons and most of its space is for no reason that I can see off-limits to minors. At Dad Watsons, except for the bar, we did not observe any off-limits areas.

McMenamins Queen Anne is a seat-yourself place with only 6 booths and a corner table in the all-ages area. We walked in to a half empty restaurant but still had to stand and wait 20 minutes or so for a booth to become available. Prior to our party of 7 being seated, each of the six booths in the all-ages area was occupied by a couple with no kids – frustrating. Each booth can sit six at a pinch, and a chair can be placed at the end for a seventh guest. The restricted area has the same booths – just many more – and it also has German-style beer hall tables and benches that would be perfect for large family groups.

McMenamins Queen Anne has the same pub menu and a similar beer selection to Dad Watsons. And like Dad Watsons, McMenamins Queen Anne delivers basic pub fare, OK beers, so-so service – nothing outstanding – and nothing that compels me to return. The spouse and I passed on the standard lineup of Hef/Golden/Pale/IPA/Ruby/Porter/Stout brews and went with two seasonal offerings: a very respectable Altbier and the Fresh Hop.

For all their similarities if I were asked to choose between McMenamins Queen Anne and Dad Watsons there are some differences that would lead me to choose Dad Watsons. It has nothing to do with the food, the beer, or service: it is physical differences, especially the limited all-ages seating at McMenamins Queen Anne.

Based on these visits the overwhelming feeling I have about McMenamins is of a cookie-cutter corporate chain that lacks the individual touches that other chains; Rock Bottom for example, use to deliver a unique experience. In the end we had a good time – but that was due more to the company than McMenamins – we could have had just as good a time if we had gotten together at Red Robin (actually the food would be better).

McMenamins Queen Anne is great from the Fueled by Beer standpoint: approx 1.5 miles walk from the heart of Downtown at Westlake Center. Numerous buses from downtown  (along 3rd Avenue) pass close by Seattle Center along 1st or 5th Avenues. Get off at Mercer, walk east from 1st, west from 5th, Roy parallels Mercer 1 block to the north (see map)

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