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Originally published September 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 18, 2008 at 12:06 PM

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Frelard/Balmont: So hip, it defies definition

An up-close and personal look at growing Frelard — or is it Balmont? — district of Seattle, the land between Fremont and Ballard.

Seattle Times staff reporter; Seattle Times staff reporter

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We know there are more important things to debate, but is Leary Way Northwest, between Northwest 43rd and Northwest 44th streets, in Fremont or Ballard? Many locals refer to this area as Frelard — or Balmont — in a belief that it's a gray area between the two hoods.

We called City Hall to resolve this, and, well, now we're even more confused. According to the wise men there, the correct answer is ... Interbay-Ballard. You heard it here first: Inlard.

Whatever you call it, take note, because it may be the next hot block of pubs. Decent beers and fries along this strip.

To be diplomatic, we asked each establishment which hood they think their business is in. (A note to City Hall: None answered "Interbay-Ballard.")

1. Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub, 4301 Leary Way N.W. Popular pit stop for cyclists since the Burke-Gilman Trail passes by a few feet away. Also serves weekend brunch, but that's really for people who can't get into Dish. Its business card declares its location as Fremont.

2. Ballard Grill & Ale House, 4300 Leary Way N.W. Locals know it as the Four Bs, as in "Ballard's best burgers and brew." Huge, dive-y sports bar, complete with bags of Doritos and peanuts for sale behind the counter. Free pool on Mondays. We're guessing it believes it's in Ballard.

3. Treehouse Bar & Grill, 4332 Leary Way N.W. This is not a backhanded compliment, but Treehouse must have the cleanest men's room of any bar. Decent menu, but it's just wrong to brag about your house-made veggie burgers. Considers itself in Ballard.

4. Anita's Crepes, 4350 Leary Way N.W. Scheduled to open this week. Anita's must run a stall in every farmers market in Western Washington. Now it will have its own restaurant this fall. French theme, with an extensive crepe menu. Said owner Anita Ross, "We are in Ballard. And I don't like 'Frelard.' "

5. The Leary Traveler, 4356 Leary Way N.W. Hip new bar with European pub grub. Already getting lots of love in the hood. Serves sweet-potato fries with different aiolis. Think it's in Fremont.

6. Dish, 4358 Leary Way N.W. Love the 70 different hot-sauce bottles on display behind the front counter, like it's a bar. One of Seattle's best weekend brunches. But you know you're in for a long wait when lawn chairs and a free coffee stand are propped in front of the diner. In fact, the staff was too busy to play our "in Fremont or Ballard" game.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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