King's Hardware

Country Glamour

"It's an aesthetically minded simulacrum of the Midwest," observed my drinking buddy, a native South Dakotan, of King's Hardware. Which sums up Linda Derschang's latest venture: a place for urbanites to rediscover their roots, wherever that North Country may be, drinking Rainier from a can and using "simulacrum" in casual conversation. Recently opened in the historic Ballard Hardware space, King's fits the bill of neighborhood tavern—the whole hood seemed to be there for happy hour (every day from 6 to 8 p.m.). Heaviness pervades, from the varnished veneers and taxidermy on the walls to the menu. After a few $2 pints, we tucked into thick, artisanal burgers like the delicious B&B, topped with coarse bacon and blue cheese ($7.95), and a side of sweet potato fries ($3.95). My Dakotan enjoyed the Red Star, done meatless, with beet relish and goat cheese ($8.95) and crispy onion rings ($3.95). While a persistent draft from the outdoor patio chilled us considerably, we felt right at home beneath the light of vintage rec-room lamps. At least until the bill arrived. KATE SILVER

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