Expansion Mode

Renee Erickson's Restaurant Group Plans a Beer Hall and Pizza Bar in Pioneer Square

The former FX McRory's will make way for Lowlander Brewery, Un Po Tipsy Pizzeria, and a full-service restaurant that's more classic Erickson.

By Allecia Vermillion April 24, 2024

Renee Erickson taking over FX McRory's probably wasn't on anybody's bingo card, but we're here for it.

Renee Erickson’s Sea Creatures restaurant group announced a massive project in the RailSpur development in Pioneer Square, specifically in the former FX McRory’s space.

Taking over one of the city’s historic stadium-adjacent sports bars should be the first clue: this is leagues different from other Sea Creatures projects like Lioness, the glowingly intimate enoteca Sea Creatures recently opened on Phinney Ridge.

Lowlander Brewery will be a 100-seat beer hall and tank bar, where house-brewed lagers get dispensed from specialized tanks straight into drinkers’ glasses. It’s a movement that’s taken hold in places like London and the Czech Republic; Sea Creatures says this will be “among the first” tank bars in the US. Fans of tank bar systems say they deliver a pint with more integrity than the one you get via a bottle or typical tap. The space will have TVs and a definite slant toward people heading to nearby stadiums.

Sea Creatures partner Chad Dale is the one who’s way into beer, says Jeremy Price, the company’s president and the third cofounder along with Dale and Erickson. Price holds season tickets for the Seahawks and Mariners, and liked the idea of bringing something to a part of town where he spends a lot of time, not to mention bringing energy back to FX McRory's, a former warehouse where sports (and whiskey) fans congregated for nearly 40 years before it closed in 2017.

Lioness's neighbor, Holy Mountain Brewing, has offered some informal guidance, since Sea Creatures is going straight from zero brewing experience to attempting something that’s uncommon in the US. “There are a lot of breweries in Seattle,” says Price. “This felt like a way we would be adding to the conversation.”

The space felt too big to just be one thing, so Sea Creatures nestled a few other businesses within. Including a pizza bar that will dispense wood-fired slices. Un Po Tipsy Pizzeria will also have some pinball games, 30 seats, and a counter for stand-up slice eating.

A little full-service restaurant will bring things back to Erickson’s general vibe. The name and specifics are still taking shape, but some favorite London restaurants (Noble Rot, Brat, Rochelle Canteen) have entered the conversation.

Most of Sea Creatures’ new projects begin with Dale, who is also a developer. He was the first one to visit RailSpur’s complex of three historic buildings, and encouraged his other two partners to check it out. Price was impressed: “They have a real vision and aren’t just trying to build the cheapest thing possible to make the most amount of money possible.”  

The days of grabbing a Renee Erickson slice and a tank-to-glass beer before a Mariners game are still a ways off. Construction at 419 Occidental Ave won’t begin until October, at least, and doors should open at some point in 2025. 

In some ways, this venture feels like a market departure for the company built on tiny, personal endeavors like the Walrus and the Carpenter. But the dynamics between Price, Erickson, and Dale have given us some big swings along the way, like Willmott's Ghost and Deep Dive in the Spheres. Lowlander feels like a welcome arrival in Seattle's sports bar ecosystem. And either way, it's bound to be stylish.

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