Because We Are at Our Favorite Spot
Doom: The perfect excuse for our annual happy hour issue. This year we are adding a few more favorite spots to help us forget the doom of the unknown – or of the evening traffic jam.
If the world was ending, it would be worth setting aside a few pre-apocalypse hours for a final get-together with your friends at a bar. Not just any bar, of course; this is the last happy hour of your life, presumably.
If you want that ultimate libation to be a statement of your insouciance in the face of impending incineration, of your dignity in dealing with doom, then let us suggest the chic Art Lounge on the ground floor of the Four Seasons (99 Union Street, Seattle; 749-7070; fourseasons.com/seattle/dining/art_lounge). You can have your drinks at the bar, in comfy armchairs or at tables by windows that overlook the old Seattle steam plant on Western, with Elliott Bay beyond.
On a Tuesday evening visit, the lounge was moderately crowded, but a window table was available. Our waitress was pleasant, prompt and professional. Notwithstanding the high ceiling, noise levels were reasonable and it was easy to carry on a conversation, although the background music was a bit on the loud side. The bar itself is a spectacular, modernist creation, creatively lit and minimally decorated.
Drinks and appetizers are on the pricey side, however, and not really very much cheaper during happy hour (5 to 7 p.m. daily). The cocktails are a bit on the frou-frou side, including a “Lusty Lady” (Absolut ruby red vodka, cranberry and prosecco) and a “Gelt-y Pleasure” (Absolut citron, frangelico, prosecco and gold sugar dust).
This reviewer had the $4 mini burger, which was pleasant but unexceptional. If you are a cheese lover, the unlimited access to the cheese and antipasto bar for $14 is really quite good. Bottom line: This lounge is a first-class choice to celebrate any important occasion with your friends or colleagues. With a good sunset view of Elliott Bay and an elegant ambience, it is a great choice for a last toast before the lights finally go out.
Stay Close to Home
No need to travel far to watch the world end if you live in West Seattle. Our new favorite local hangout is The Cask (2350 California Ave. SW, Seattle; 938-2275; thecaskseattle.com). We stumbled (not literally, of course) upon this place, and when we first walked in we knew we loved it. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed; the bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable.
It is a great place to unwind after work or just chill on the weekend. It is mellow enough that you can actually have a conversation. This is definitely a “locals” place; you will not find the Alki tourist crowd.
What we really love about this place, besides its welcoming atmosphere, is its beer and ale selection. The Cask carries some mighty delicious ales, hard ciders and lagers from around the world. We recommend the Black Douglas ale, a dark, ruby ale from Scotland, or Brew Dog, a Storm Whisky IPA that has been aged in Islay Scotch whisky barrels.
If you want to stay close to home in Capitol Hill, there are many choices, but the eggplant fries entice us to choose Poppy (622 Broadway East, Seattle; 324-1108; poppyseattle.com). Words like eclectic and unique might be overused in food reviews, but Poppy truly deserves such descriptions.
A recent group outing resulted in more than one of us exclaiming more than once, “I have never tasted anything like this before.” Everyone wanted to come back. The cocktail list is creative. Try the “Loveless” for a complex gin drink. The wine list is well worth perusing.
Happy hour is from 5 to 7 p.m., with a late-night happy hour from 9 to 10 p.m. After a few of the specialty cocktails featured in the happy hour, you should be in a better mood to meet your doom.
It is possible that some people might want to resort to comfort food as their last meal. For that, we feel fine sitting at the copper counter at Harvest Vine in the Madison Park area (2701 E. Madison, Seattle; 320-9771; harvestvine.com).
Chef Joey and his able crew serve wonderful Basque/Spanish-style pinxchos (tapas) and other delightful, locally sourced, small plates. Keeping with the theme, they sport a wonderful list of Spanish wines. The menu changes to accommodate what is in season.
For a wonderful “last meal” consider a bowlful of spicy, greasy and salty pardon peppers, the (definitive) gazpacho soup, (perhaps the best) beet salad (you have ever had), and either fish, seafood (try the scallops!), lamb or slices of the exquisite jambon. Of course, this would all be served with copious amounts of earthy Spanish rioja wine and Harvest Vine’s fine bread, and if there is still time before the doom, the flan by owner and pastry chef Carolin Messier will get you started on your heavenward journey.
Harvest Vine is open daily from 5 to 10 p.m. and for weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special, near-monthly dinners showcase interesting Basque/Spanish food and wine, and sell out quickly, especially if the end of the world is nigh.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Christopher Howard at 206-407-1524 or at email@example.com; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the January 2012 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.