Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2005
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Susan Ward 206-786-0094


BalMar Combines Old and New

SEATTLE – Ballard’s newest addition, the BalMar, at Ballard and Market (5449 Ballard Avenue NW), opened on Monday. The 4,000-square-foot lounge is designed for conversation, cocktails and comfort. Its 1920’s two-story space, which debuted as Ballard’s first department store, has been given a facelift, but maintains many of its original features and character, such as exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and light fixtures. The lounge melds old and new, with contrasting elements and styles, from repurposed church lights to custom-built red terrazzo bars; from industrial metals to soft pillows. Effort was made to use reclaimed materials as much as possible, which are incorporated into contemporary artisan touches throughout.

The BalMar has a full bar menu, serving hand-crafted cocktails and a selection of European and Northwest beer and wine. Manager Treg Finney will spotlight artisan spirits, hoping to introduce some well-kept secrets to our customers. The food, under the direction of Chef Andrew Ingram, continues the theme of relaxed mingling with sophisticated, sharable small plates, perfect for grazing with friends. Ballard’s fishing heritage and Scandinavian roots inspire several selections, such as House Cured Salmon Gravlox and Kobe Beef Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry. Ingram’s creative menu items showcase wild seafood, Washington organic sustainable produce and small ranch organic meats.

Co-owners Andrea Martin and Steve Mako, both Ballard residents, bring complementary skills to their first venture together. Steve practically grew up on Ballard Avenue. His father, Zoltan Mako, has owned the building for 35 years and ran an office machines store there. Rather than putting him in daycare, Steve’s parents brought him into the store each day during his early childhood, and he later worked with his dad there for 14 years. Friends used to call Steve the “mayor” of Ballard because of his enthusiastic promotion of the neighborhood where he grew up and has never left. He’s been predicting the resurgence of Ballard for more than a decade. Steve has been a general contractor for the past six years and handled the building’s makeover, utilizing the talents of many friends in the design and craftwork throughout. Andrea has been bringing people together for social adventures for the past six years with her company Space City Mixer. The lounge reflects her interest in creating a space for meeting, mixing, and having fun in a relaxing environment. BalMar will realize her vision of Ballard as a place to enjoy old school Seattle style prepared by a new generation of Ballard locals.

The BalMar’s modern but timeless style will make it a comfortable hangout that will quickly become Ballard’s contemporary living room and a Seattle destination. Low couches and movable tables and ottomans create both intimate spaces and open, communal seating options that encourage interaction. Live DJs on the weekend will add to the atmosphere without overpowering the conversation. Upstairs, the “rec room” features two pool tables, more seating, a second bar, and a space that can be reserved for private parties.

The BalMar is open daily from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.