TIKI • SHUFFLEBOARD • ROCK N’ ROLL
2226 2nd Avenue | Belltown
Open: 3-2 daily
After leaving the Rabbit Hole, we hopped next door to the Lava Lounge with our friend Sam. A wooden tiki god watches over the front entrance that, like most bars on this block, has a small, gated patio.
The tiki-themed décor, whose focal point is a large, undersea mural, is actually just a disguise for a dive bar that keeps it rockin’ with heavy metal, hair bands, and Hendrix.
Sam played Street Fighter II while we waited our turn to use the free shuffleboard table. Their “shuff” table is a bit different than what we are accustomed to (it’s much shorter and lacks full side-gutters), but shuff is shuff, and this was shuff enough for our stuff. We got in a few, short games before we decided to hand the table over to the next crew waiting patiently.
If shuffleboard is not your thing then a) what’s your problem, buddy? b) there are darts and a trio of arcade machines to entertain you, and c) there are plenty of stools at the bar where you can drown your face in a beer, while harmonizing guitars shred your ears off.
Be prepared to hold your nose as you enter. The Lava Lounge’s distinct aroma of bathrooms, barf, and beer takes a little while to get used to.
Despite the appearance of a tiki bar, this isn’t the type of place that serves Polynesian cocktails in fun-shaped containers with oversized umbrellas. Your best bet is to choose one of the 12-or-so beers on tap; we went full-on divey and opted for PBR.
“Gentlemen” and “Ladies” have been replaced with “Guns” and “Roses,” to be consistent with the bar’s hard rock theme (wait, isn’t this bar tiki themed? It’s a bit confusing). Mandy reports that the one-stall ladies room was surprisingly clean. Adam avoided spending any unnecessary time in “Guns,” as it is probably largely to blame for the bar’s distinguished scent.
Despite the smell, we actually enjoy this tiki-meets-Jimi bar because of the music and shuff. It’s worth stumbling into after checking out some of the other bars on the block.