I’ve passed by this place many times going between Belltown and downtown, and walked under the beat-up sign outside that proudly proclaims “Famous Burgers”. Since this is the Year of the Burger, I figured it was time I actually went inside.
It’s a quirky little place. There are dragon heads mounted to the wall like some fantasy game hunting lodge, a giant car air freshener hanging above the bar, and bright orange walls. The outside is so unassuming and dark, I was genuinely surprised by how bright it was inside.
Two Bells was called an “unsung bar hero” by SeattleMet. The original Two Bells opened sometime in the 1920s, but the current iteration and menu began in the 1970s with new owners. Ownership changed hands again in 1999.
The bartenders are attentive and pleasant without hovering, but the burger did seem to take a while to come out. I tried to figure out approximately what time I’d ordered so I could gauge how long it took, and I think it was at least 25 minutes.
5 oz. of freshly ground beef charbroiled to your order and served on a French baguette. All burgers come with mayo and mustard on the roll and with tomato, lettuce, pickles, and red onion on the side with choice of potato salad, potato chips, coleslaw, soup or baked beans.
Tavern Burger, with bacon and grilled onions $12.95
Baguettes and elongated burger patties are a little bit quirky, too. The baguette was a little bit hard to bite through–that’s a lot of very hard, crunchy bread for 5 ounces of meat–but it was delicious. I’m a sucker for good bread, and they use locally made French baguettes and local ground beef.
They make everything in-house, which means the coleslaw I got was disappointing. It was…dry. Almost as if it had been under a heat lamp too long, except that it wasn’t hot. I’m picky about my coleslaw and it wasn’t good. I hear through the internet that the baked beans are divine.
The burger was juicy and tender once you got past the baguette.
The place has lots of regulars, sipping their locally crafted beers to wash down the burgers. I wouldn’t mind at all joining them to try some of the other burgers: the Blue Burger with bleu cheese and cracked black pepper, or the BBQ Burger with smoky BBQ sauce and bacon. I might even check out one of their VHS Movie Nights on Thursdays. But I’ll give the coleslaw a pass.
The Two Bells Bar & Grill
2313 4th Ave
Open Mon-Fri 11AM-2AM, Sat 1PM-2AM, Sun 11:30AM-2AM
Brunch Sunday 11:30AM-3PM
Kitchen closes at 10PM daily