WHERE TO GO, who to know, what to order (Hint: It’s all about classic cocktails). Seattle Met has the lowdown on the city’s 25 best bars right now. Plus, there’s a whole new deal at happy hour: High-value venues where you can snack and sip the best for less. And don’t miss Sauced serving up quality conversations with Seattle’s all-star bartenders.
Even Jamie Boudreau himself—cool, media savvy Jamie Boudreau—betrays a certain dismay at the fact that he’s at Tini Bigs, the Lower Queen Anne bar that, until he joined the staff eight months ago, was little more than a novelty lounge whose very name conjured an era when drinks were not taken so seriously. “It was sort of stuck in the ’90s,” Boudreau says, the vowels strained through a Canadian accent, “with really big, really juicy drinks.”
Not a natural fit for a chief instigator in that ever-growing cabal of young drink slingers who eschew party mixers (Sex on the Beach, appletini) and advance classics like the Manhattan and the old fashioned—drinks that celebrate spirits rather then masking them behind a cloak of fructose.
Lured here from Vancouver’s Lumiére—one of the spawning grounds of the BC cocktail revival—to head Seattle’s Vessel, Boudreau soon found himself in the middle of a management shake-up that left him barless. Then Tini Bigs’ Keith Robbins tracked him down. “The owner called me up. The goal was to do classic, alcohol-forward drinks.”
And that he has. Under the lounge’s ornate tin ceiling, Boudreau’s long, handsome face and black shirt slide back and forth behind the bar, arms flailing maestrolike, as he powers through antiques (Morning Glory, the Presbyterian) and originals (Jerry’s Ruin: spiced rum and hints of cranberry, lime, and cinnamon). The effect on the bar: “It’s not as packed as it used to be. We’re busy but not packed,” confesses Boudreau. But those patrons who do flock there—they aren’t drinking appletinis. You won’t either. Tini Bigs, 100 Denny Way, Lower Queen Anne, 206-284-0931; www.tinibigs.com
The Doctor Will Serve You Now
Cap Hill cocktail cognoscenti, forgive our blabbing. But did you really expect us not to spotlight Erik Chapman, bar manager at Sun Liquor? The man is, after all, a gin genius whose made-from-scratch resurrections of old-school classics like the Martinez and the Corpse Reviver #2 will instantly become your new staples. Not sure what to order? Not a problem. It’s with enviable élan that Chapman greets noncommittal customers with “Well, whatareyaintorightnow?” Give him one ingredient—bourbon, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, even coconut milk—and he’ll mix magic. And maybe it’s the caffeine kick he gets before every shift from nearby Top Pot, but the man loves to chat, and anyone looking for an eager ear finds it whenever Chapman’s behind the bar. As one regular put it: “He’s like the neighborhood doctor.” Sun Liquor, 607 Summit Ave E, Capitol Hill, 206-860-1130; www.sunliquor.com