Monday, January 11, 2010

Bathtub Gin & Co: Modern Speakeasy, 1929 Glamour

Who knew that a bar that looks like this on the outside . . . . . . could look like this on the inside?
Talk about a reason not to "judge a book by its cover".

Last Friday night after work I met Matt at the Bathtub Gin & Co (2205 Second Avenue, Seattle 98122). I had read about it in the latest issue of Seattle Magazine and kind of wanted to check it out. I knew from reading the article that it would be a bit of a challenge to find because it is located in an alley and has no sign (except the address numbers). I forgot to mention this to Matt and a few minutes before we were supposed to meet up he sends me a text that says: "where the f*** is this place?". Needless to say we both ended up finding the place, which was a complete and total pain in the ass in the pouring rain, but I guess that is kind of the idea.

The back alley way and lack of sign sort of make you feel like you should know a password to get in a la 'Some Like It Hot' , but (thankfully) the owners decided to leave that step out. Once you walk in the door you have the option of heading up the stairs to the smaller room of the VERY small bar or down the stairs to the 'larger' lounge space, complete with a comfy couch and chairs. The interior is exposed brick decorated with old fashioned polished wood, books and candles . . . oh, and, a LOT of booze.

We sat at the one small table in the top room right next to the bar. The only reason we were able to secure this table is that we got there right as the bar opened at 5, and by about 5:30 the place was packed. The cocktail menu has a speakeasy, New York in the late 20s vibe to it as well. I don't exactly remember the names of all the cocktails, but I ordered a Park Avenue West (well, actually, I had three) which was comprised of gin, pineapple and a few other things . . . delicious, but dangerous. It tasted like it was 75% pineapple, but after the way I felt the next morning, I am guessing it was 75% gin. Matt ordered an old fashioned or three (not on the drink menu), and they were quite generous with the bourbon in it . . . I tasted it and my eyes almost popped out of my head.

We had a great time exploring this little Belltown treasure, but there were a few problems. One: there is only ONE unisex bathroom stall. This is bad when you have a packed bar full of people drinking liquids. Chances are more than one person is going to have to pee at the same time-- duh. However, the bathroom is super cute and clean. Two: they are extremely understaffed. After the bar got packed at 5:30 ordering another round was quite the project because the bar tender was so busy and the only had a bar back-- no wait staff. Even after putting in our order we had to wait like 10 minutes for our drinks . . . leaving us to swirl our ice around and frown.

We left the bar at about 8:15 and the place was still packed and getting fuller. So, if you are planning to go, go early and secure yourself a place at the bar so you can easily get the bartenders attention for easy reloading. Overall, it was a cute place, with a fun vibe and I would definitely recommend that people give it a try.

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