Beyond the Ale: The search for Juneau’s best bar food

Beyond the Ale: The search for Juneau’s best bar food

For our first bar food review, we decided to first try Devil’s Hideaway.

It’s no secret that Juneau’s food scene punches above its weight for a city of this size. 2019 marked an uptick in visits by celebrity chefs, the return of some old favorite restaurants, and the birth of some new ones.

Between the local gourmet and a wave of innovation in the kitchens of the bars and grilles of Juneau, we couldn’t help but wonder how some of the delicacies tucked away from easy view were faring as well. That prompted us at the Empire to want to go beyond the ale, and provide the public with a rolling evaluation of Juneau’s bar food.

For our first bar food review, we decided to first try Devil’s Hideaway, the in-house kitchen located inside Squirez. A favorite of many since opening seven years ago, Devil’s Hideaway serves wings, burgers, sandwiches and other bar staples. Located above the Don D. Statter Harbor in Auke Bay, Squirez’ views during the daytime and presence as the only full bar at that end of town make it a good choice.

Our staff picked a range of food and evaluated it independently. All of these evaluations reflect the experience of the individual journalist, and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation for or against any given restaurant.

Evaluations will be made on the quality of the food and the service, focusing primarily on staple foods or restaurant specialties. The intention is to evaluate all bars with a kitchen, though the scope of the series may expand to breweries and distilleries with their own kitchens.

Purgatory Burger from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Purgatory Burger from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Nolin Ainsworth — Purgatory Burger

“It’s not spicy enough but it does try,” my co-worker said as I took my first couple bites from the delicious treat. I disagreed. Heck, you could smell the sriracha when the open-faced burger arrived at the table. The sriracha-glazed onions and pepperjack cheese paired well together, but the real all-star of the meal might be the thick cuts of bacon, which were about twice the length of the burger.

The cheeseburger is best with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, which help buffer the spiciness of the onions and fried jalapenos. The latter topping blends in with tater tots (burgers comewith the option of fries or tater tots), and I unearthed more than a few of them in between my tots. Yum!

The loaded fries basket from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

The loaded fries basket from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Ben Hohenstatt — Loaded Fries

The loaded fries come with two forks, and while the portions merit it, for me that is just a suggestion. The loaded fries, in my opinion, are the platonic ideal of food that significantly shortens lives. They come out piping hot and correctly crisp. This allows the fries to absorb the copious quantities of sour cream, cheese, pico-like diced tomatoes and other condiments that smother the fries. The bland coolness of the sour cream helps offset any spicy flavors that come through, and crispy, salty taste of bacon complements everything else.

These absolutely should be ordered as a meal replacement or an app shared at least three ways because they’re probably too hearty to serve as an appetizer for most stomachs. They’re not the fanciest dish, and you’ll want a stack of napkins, but these come highly recommended.

The Taco Tuesday special from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

The Taco Tuesday special from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Michael S. Lockett — Steak Tacos

Squirez was louder than I expected on a Tuesday. Also, way more ‘90s music — when was the last time you heard Hootie and the Blowfish?

I took advantage of Taco Tuesdays at Devil’s Hideaway to order the steak tacos. They took about 10 minutes to get served, which is a pretty quick turnaround. I know it can take a little longer if they get busy.

The tacos were solid. They were nothing groundbreaking, but they don’t need to be, they’re tacos: tacos are good. Generous portion sizes inside the three tacos was certainly a plus; an underpacked taco can be a dealbreaker. The guacamole was a bit flavorless and salty, but Juneau produce is a tricky game and I’m not a huge guac connoisseur anyway. Good soft flour tortillas, obviously superior to corn tortillas in every possible way. They came served with tater tots, which are both an ideal accompaniment to the tacos and arguably the finest side for a main meal. Fries ain’t got nothing on tots, I will die on this hill.

I’ve eaten many tacos in my life and I feel qualified to say that these were good tacos. I would eat these tacos again.

Peter Segall — Fish and Chips

It looked like fish and chips should: a mass of beige with a nice lemon on the side. The fries were nice with the right amount of crunch, but while the batter was nice and crispy, there was something very disappointing about the fish. I was immediately reminded of frozen fish sticks, which isn’t something I want to pay $13 for. The fish was cod, which isn’t in season right now so maybe they’ll be better at another time of year. But in mid-November … it wasn’t great.

Overall

Food good! Kitchen good! View usually good! 8/10.


• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.


The fish and chips basket from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

The fish and chips basket from Devil’s Hideaway at Squirez Bar in Auke Bay. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 15

Here’s what to expect this week.

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A king salmon is laid out for inspection by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during the Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 25, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Emergency order bans king salmon fishing in many Juneau waters between June 24 and Aug. 31

Alaska Department of Fish and Game says low projected spawning population necessitates restrictions

Three cruise ships are docked along Juneau’s waterfront on the evening on May 10, as a Princess cruise ship on the right is departing the capital city. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Sitka residents join those in Juneau proposing hard caps on cruise ships as tourism grows

Two ballot measures could be presented to local voters in the two Southeast Alaska towns this fall

James Whistler, 8, operates a mini excavator during Gold Rush Days on Saturday, June 17, 2023. People young and old were offered a chance to place tires around traffic cones and other challenges after getting a brief introduction to the excavator. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
There’s good reason to be extra charged up for this year’s Juneau Gold Rush Days

Digital registration for logging/mining competitors new for 32nd annual event this weekend.

Glory Hall Executive Director Mariya Lovishchuk points out some of the features of the homeless shelter’s new location a few days before it opens in July of 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire file photo)
Mariya Lovishchuk stepping down after 15 years as executive director of the Glory Hall

Leader who oversaw big changes in Juneau’s homeless programs hopes to continue similar work.

Most Read