Lonely Planet Writer

An authentic Scandinavian beer hall is set to open in Seattle

Skål, meaning ‘cheers’ in Norwegian, will be the name of a new Viking bar due to open in Seattle’s waterfront neighbourhood of Ballard this summer.

The waterfront at Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park in Seattle. Image by Getty Images

The new drinking spot will be designed like a Viking mead hall (or Viking living room). “The mead hall was the center of the community,” said Skål’s owner Adam McQueen, “a welcoming spot to gather or to host visitors from afar. It was the hall where stories of adventure, exploration and new ideas were shared and debated over food and drink.”

The beer hall will bring a taste of Scandinavia to Seattle. Image by Skal Beer Hall

In the venue’s main great hall, there will be Norse mythology touches, including a huge central fireplace to gather around on dreary Seattle nights. The drinks will be served in large ale horn mugs, and choices include a rotating selection of local craft beer, cider, and mead, regional wine, and speciality cocktails with an emphasis on the popular Scandinavian spirit – Aquavit. “We’re looking forward to featuring some of our terrific but hard-to-find local products as well as some Scandinavian imports,” explained McQueen, who has part Norwegian and Swedish ancestry.

A Viking beer hall at Lofotr Viking Museum, Borg, Norway. Image by altrendo travel/Getty Images

Meanwhile, the open kitchen will be inspired by the idea of a Viking butcher shop and will feature bar bites and shared plates that explore wild flavors from the woods and sea. Imagine being at a gathering “near a roaring fire at the edge of a fjord,” said McQueen. There will be game, meat skewers, a large rotisserie for chicken, pork, and rabbit. “We’ll also have lamb and pork sausages, potato dumplings and pickled herring,” revealed McQueen, but those searching for meatballs will be out of luck, it’s not a dish Skål plans to serve.

The beer hall will open in the summer. Image by Getty Images

Those who really want to integrate into Scandinavian culture can get involved in Nordic events, classes, and partnerships with the local Nordic community groups at Skål. “Who knows – maybe even Kirk Douglas will appear on the big screen in the classic movie The Vikings!” said McQueen.

Ballard has a strong Nordic community, it’s common to see flags and shops inspired by the region, plus community groups, museums, and statues. Ballard is also home to the largest Syttende Mai celebration (Norwegian Constitution Day) outside of Oslo, attracting 20K visitors each year, plus a new $200+ million Nordic Heritage museum will open in downtown Ballard in May. Visit the Skål Viking beer hall in early summer, see here for more info.