Seattle is well known for its coffee culture, with the highest number of coffee shops per capita and the original home of caffeine behemoth Starbucks. Little is often said about Seattle’s cocktail culture, and possibly for good reason. Cocktail lounges in Seattle are few and far between but when a good one can be found, it’s a treasure, much like a sunny day after weeks of rain.
I spent a half a week in Seattle, mostly downtown, with jaunts to Queen Anne and Capitol Hill mixed in. Although I had some great local whiskeys and beers, I was determined to find a proper cocktail, and on my last night I did just that. I journeyed half a mile uphill in the rain to reach the Hideout.
I pushed the door open, and on the other side found a dimly lit room with tall ceilings and three precisely placed but individually distinct chandeliers. The walls were covered with pop art, some which ranged from looking like they belonged in a video game to looking like they could be hung at the Whitney. The funky, slightly trippy sounds of Anderson Paak emitted from a single speaker. A long booth lined one side, but naturally I drifted to an uneven stool at the end of the bar.
The liquor selection behind the bar was impressive, and the curated cocktails on the menu were equally extensive. After my typical chat of deliberation with the bartender, I decided on the Free Witch – pisco, salers, guava, honey, and bitters.
The orange concoction was poured over one giant ice cube in a lowball glass. It smelled tropical and I worried that I would be capping my night with a fruity, sugary drink. I took a sip, which was indeed sweet, but with a slightly bitter aftertaste – the effect of the pisco. The tropical taste of the guava shined through in every sip, but the sour of the pisco and peychaud’s bitters countered this sweetness in a delightful way. This bittersweet combination was indeed quite delicious and took some time to drink.
I kept myself busy studying the pieces of art one by one, methodically selecting and then de-selecting ones which I thought might look nice at home. The bartender asked to take a Polaroid photo of me, somewhat of a tradition at the Hideout. I raised my glass to the camera and toasted my rainy home for the past few nights.
The snapshot caught a bright moment on a rainy night in a dark bar, one which I’d highly recommend to anyone looking for a well-done drink in this proudly unique corner of the country.
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