The Baranof, one of Juneau’s iconic hotels, is the home of the Bubble Room, a bar discreetly tucked away in the interior of the hotel. Purple lit and tastefully decorated, the long, narrow bar is open to one of the hotel’s hallways. While there’s no view to speak of, the bar is comfortable and certainly well located.
It’s not particularly advertised — I had never heard of it after being in town for six months until another Empire staffer mentioned it.
Service was quick and bartenders were attentive, though there weren’t many people there on a weekday night. Food was surprisingly affordable for what would be called bar food, though the entrees did get a little steeper.
My review of the halibut fish and chips from Sandbar was well-received from family and friends, and so, I wanted to recreate that memorable eating experience with another halibut dish. Unfortunately, I won’t remember much about my time at the Bubble Room. Nothing stood out about the pan-seared halibut with mango chutney. The meat was moist and tender, but the chutney didn’t do it for me. Next time, I’ll stick to Sandbar to get my halibut fix!
Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Full disclosure: I forgot my lunch at home the day of the review, so grading was done on the kindest of curves. The sandwich arrived on a fluffy bun topped with a delightfully greasy X of bacon. The crispy chicken sandwich scratched a Chick-fil-A itch I did not realize I was fostering. It had the right amount of snap that was augmented by lettuce, onion, a pickle and some tomatoes. It could have been improved with a little spice or a taste beyond breaded chicken to make it stand out, but the sandwich made no such promises in its description, and I won’t hold that against it. The fries that accompanied it were also completely solid. If you’re a Lower 48 expat like me and miss KFC or Chick-fil-A sandwiches, I fully endorse this solid rendition of a fried chicken sandwich.
Michael S. Lockett
Baja chicken sandwich
We sat in a hallway with a flickering light and every movie I’d seen about scary hotels in the great white north came back in an instant. That said, I liked the bar, how quiet and tucked away it is. It’s somewhere I’d go for a quiet drink and a bite to eat on a weekday if I wanted to feel like I was time traveling at basically any point in the last 60 years or so.
And the sandwich! It was fine realization of sandwich. Good spice, good crunch, excellent weight of chicken. Southwest flavor done just right.
Also, easily the finest bathroom in anywhere we’ve yet reviewed. High marks.
Emily Russo Miller
The meal was consistently inoffensive. Steamed veggies were nothing to write home about, but the mashed potatoes were creamy, buttery and great texture. The steak was slightly peppered and … a steak. Cooked to order and paired great with a chocolate martini.
Butcher’s Grind Burger
It’s nice when you have a burger with fresh enough vegetables you taste the individual flavors of each. The burger at the Bubble Room was a quintessential restaurant burger, nice bun, good vegetables and meat that was clearly distinguishable meat. The patty itself had good beef flavor, even if it was a little overdone. Fries were nice and crispy with a nice potato taste.
Can’t emphasize the fresh vegetables enough.
Service was quick and friendly. Bartenders were patient as we tried to get five people to show up at a pre-agreed time, which I appreciated. The bar was quiet, nice and dark, and tastefully lit — it had a nice, quiet, tucked-away vibe which set it apart from downtown’s raucousness or more popular restaurants’ family oriented atmospheres.
The menu was eminently serviceable. Not a huge amount of options, but a good, rounded menu with some quick options on one end and more involved entrees on the other. Good vegetables, good presentation, and good decor rounded out somewhere you could enjoy for a quiet meal before heading to a louder bar or perhaps calling it an evening.
About Beyond The Ale
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.
Beyond The Ale will return next week with our next bar food review.