Up there with Seattle’s timeless treasures—the University of Washington, Mount Rainier on a clear day, Sylvester the Mummy at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop—stands the inimitable Virginia Inn, which for over a century has held down the corner of First and Virginia on the sheer, soul-satisfying strength of arty atmo, terrific beer, and a legendarily populist heart. (When owners Patrice Demombynes and Jim Fotheringham revamped the seedy joint 27 years ago they froze prices for all the fixed-income old-timers who depended on it.) Now there’s even more to love, as the pair expanded the bar into the neighboring space once home to Market Graphics, upgrading from a galley to a full kitchen and extending the classy brick-walled, wood-boothed, lavishly windowed space into an area twice its original size, but no less intimate. Now you can come to the VI you’ve always loved and actually score a seat. You can score a $22 steak frites, too, but—fine French wine list and pâté with cornichons notwithstanding—we continue to love the VI best for its cheeseburger and fries. (No, wait. Make that Dennis Hopper’s autograph on a movie poster in the men’s room.)

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