Date Night #19: Ha! Is Seriously Good Food, Drink, Company

HaWe did rock, paper, scissors to decide whether to dine out or in, so you know we weren’t going far if “out” won. It did. We should’ve walked, but it was the end of a busy week, I’d already clocked my official exercise for the day, and the rain was intermittent.

So we drove just 1.1 miles to the south of us, to upper Fremont, home of a tight little block of eateries, drinkeries, and the Fremont Abbey (a funky arts center hosting concerts, education, and other events). The bar/restaurant Ha! is on Fremont at 43rd Street. Now I could spend some time here describing the feel, the philosophy, and the food sourcing, but Ha!’s website does a really nice job of that.

As its name implies, Ha! is casual and friendly. And the food is definitely comfort food, but not the boring kind. My Dungeness crab melt (with Gruyere) was so decadent that my choosing greens (a hefty side of nicely dressed salad) over fries registered pretty low on the virtue scale when all was said and eaten. I can only assume that Mike’s Brioche burger was good enough because it disappeared before I could spread my napkin on my lap.

As for drinks, I was going low-key and low volume, so I nursed a pint of Elysian Men’s Room Red. Mike enjoyed his standard martini (or two), delighted to find that the rail gin is Bombay. Sitting at the bar, we discovered that we were in the right place at the right time when Eric the bartender had us sample a Smoking Gun – basically a Negroni made with smoky scotch instead of gin (add Compari and sweet vermouth). Yum! And this from a woman who doesn’t care for Negronis or scotch.

We were full before we were ready to be full, so had to commit to returning soon. Maybe we’ll sit at a table next time, or hire the intimate back room for a private party. I don’t know, this bar has huge appeal – not only for the friendly regulars, one of whom gave up his seat for us, but also for the inspirational exchange of cocktail recipes flying about. Oh, and need a phone charge? They probably have the charger you need and will plug you in while you drink or dine. We’ll be back soon, but next time we’ll walk.

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