Eight is Great

Dim the sun and head to Ocho.

When the sun goes down over Ballard this time of year, there's no better spot to be than Ocho. Perched on the corner of Northwest Market Street and 24th Avenue Northwest, this new little tapas bar is a glass box practically drenched in sunlight during the hours the great ball of fire hovers above the Olympics. The tables are snug and the bar is a brief L-shape, which is to say you'll probably bump elbows or knees with someone else. But somehow all that glass and natural light would comfort even the most severe claustrophobe. The deal at Ocho is small plates and stiff drinks, all of them fairly inexpensive (hardly anything on the chalkboard menu is priced over $6). The patatas bravas—cubed potatoes speared with toothpicks and served with mayo and hot sauce—are salty and filling, while the mushroom toast is deceivingly tiny and delicious (at $1 a pop, it's hard to pass up ordering one after another). The bar boasts a brief list of microbrews, but most come here for the mixed drinks. Of course, the $10 margarita is eye-catching (and supposedly worth every cent), but their devilish sangria is the real ass-kicker: a blend of red wine, sherry, brandy, and fruit served in a pint glass. It's a tapas bar, for sure, but Ocho isn't bothering with recreating Spain, thank God. It's Ballard-style tapas: small plates, pint glasses, and Tom Petty on the house system. 

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