Behind the Bar

Bar Spotlight: The Hideout

Cool enough not to call itself a speakeasy, not so cool that you don’t want to drink there.

November 2, 2009

Call your bar The Hideout, place it in a forlorn-looking bit of street front along Boren Ave at Madison, and you might give off the impression you want to be left alone. But rest assured, the Hideout is not at all standoffish. Just because there is a portait of David Bowie on the wall doesn’t mean the staff and regulars will see through to the Banana Republic tags inside your shirt and abuse you.

No, no, the people at Hideout are nice. And the bar is a gem not just because there is a vending machine full of art, or wall-to-wall paintings, or beautiful faux-crystal chandeliers. There’s also the drink situation: your Hideout bartender will make you a Derby: whisky, Benedictine, and Angostura bitters ($8) and the Man About Town: rye, Campari, Dubbonet, and Fee Bros Old Fashioned bitters ($8), or she will make you a novelty cocktail like the Andy Warhol: a cosmopolitan and a polaroid picture of yourself. (Get it? No? Just pretend.) It is the rare bar that would serve the latter and yet do such a good job at making the former two.


• You can buy Nat Sherman cigarettes here, the cute rainbow-colored ones, for $1 a smoke.
• Unless you’re the sort who can smoke one cigarette every two years and then just walk away Renee, it’s probably a bad idea to do so.
• Whenever I see scrubs-clad employees smoking outside the Swedish Cancer Center (on the other side of Madison from Hideout), I make up stories about them so that I can reconcile the apparent incongruence between the two facts I know about their lives.
• The Hideout is owned by glass artist Greg Lundgren, of Vital 5 Productions, and mixed media artist Jeff Scott. These two guys have their paint-stained fingers in all kinds of goings-on about town.
• For instance, Greg Lungren made glass enclosures for the Capitol Hill Cupcake Royale.
• Other facts about local art I should know but don’t because I’m too busy drinking.
• Benedictine is an herbal liqueur that hails from France.
• Eavesdropping on a conversation about speakeasy-style bars that the bartender at Hideout was having with a customer, I heard her say this: "I think there are a number of bars in Seattle going for that speakeasy vibe, they just never felt the need to say so.” Oh snap, Hideout bartender.

Previous Bar Spotlight.

Hey speaking of art, have you checked out Culture Fiend, our A&E Blog?

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