South Pacific Café owners bring new tap room to Battle Ground

38˚ Below features 25 taps, a cocktail menu, food and vintage arcade games

38 below

The owners of South Pacific Café in Battle Ground are at it again and their newest venture brings bragging rights to North County.

On July 8, 38˚ Below opened next to South Pacific at the corner of Main Street and Parkway Avenue. This winter-themed watering hole boasts the first custom frost rail bar top in Southwest Washington.

According to the company that sold the unique feature to owners Mike Casetta and Matthew Seise, it is only the eighth frost rail in the Pacific Northwest.

Designed to keep drinks cold, the frost rail serves double duty as another signature piece that differentiates 38˚ Below from the influx of area craft cocktail bars and tap rooms.

“We wanted to be someplace, not just any place,” said General Manager Marshall Collier. “We wanted to offer great cocktails, a local feel and a great tap experience.”

In addition to 25 taps and a strong craft cocktail menu, 38˚ Below offers a handful of vintage arcade machines that have been refurbished, backlit with LED lights and are capable of playing more than 416 games. There’s even a table top game and pinball machine.

Catering to the 35 and over crowd, Collier said they wanted to provide entertainment in a smaller space where people could enjoy a more upscale experience in comfort but still have an excuse to move around and socialize.

Casetta added that 38˚ Below intends to bring a portable stage to the front of the space in the next month or two. The state will showcase amateur comedians, open mic and one- and two-man bands.

Throughout 38˚ Below’s 1,100 square feet, guests can view six flat screens, all tuned to sports. Eventually, two of them will be dedicated to the winter theme of the adult-only establishment, broadcasting snowmobiling, snowboarding, ski jumping and the like.

Concentrating on a nearly all-custom bar, 38˚ Below aims to offer the best pouring beer in Southwest Washington. To that end, all handles run on individual regulators; their Green Air system pulls ambient nitrogen from the air and properly mixes CO2 and nitrogen for a “perfect” pour; and the system offers slow control.

In addition to serving drinks, Casetta explained that the establishment’s limited food menu is actually pretty substantial, with about 18 items to choose from. Fondue, chili, salads and cold plates are assembled in the small on-site kitchen while a handful of tried-and-true favorites like Jägermeister Steak Strips, Bacon Wrapped Prawns and BBQ Wings are skillfully prepared next door at South Pacific.

The vision for 38˚ Below is to bring a slice of Portland and Vancouver to a Battle Ground community that, Casetta and Collier said, doesn’t want to deal with the hassle and liability of a 30-plus minute drive.

“We wanted to create a place where you can bring your wife, your best friend, your business partner from out of town,” said Collier. “It’s a higher-end experience in Battle Ground that I think is really needed. We’re not about quantity but quality. We make you feel like a V.I.P. the minute you step through our door every time.”

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