Sex In The City— Readers' Picks

Best First Date Restaurant

CARMELITA

(7314 Greenwood N., 706-7703)

Things to do at Carmelita to impress your date:

1. Know the difference between a remou-lade and a gremolade.

2. Correctly pronounce menu items such as tyrosalata, muhumara, caponata, and manchego. Bonus points for actually knowing what they mean.

3. Make reservations for the outdoor patio or the intimate backroom "salon," tucked away from the noisier, more family-friendly main dining room.

4. Admire the artistry behind decadent dishes such as the truffle pappardelle parcel and ricotta gnocchi with English pea ratatouille. Then dive in.

5. Statements to avoid: "I'd just about as soon have this as a big, juicy steak" and "Wow, you don't even miss the meat!" Some things should be thought, not spoken. E.C.B.

Second place: Serafina (2043 Eastlake E., 323-0807)

Best Place to Propose

THE SPACE NEEDLE

Something about being 500 feet in the air makes people want to propose. What is it? The view? The serenity of being away from the city? The food at the Sky City restaurant? Let's get real. The truth is, it's all psychological. There's something about the feeling of knowing you're 500 feet up and there's no escape. You proposed, your partner responded, in the affirmative or not, and now you're in this thing. The only escape is jumping out, which is suicide, or going down the elevator with the person to whom you've just proposed. You've committed to changing your life in one way or another. You needed the Space Needle to do so. Pussy. S.P.R.

Second place: Kerry Park (211 W. Highland, 684-4075)

Best Place to Break Up

OVER THE PHONE

They say that breaking up is hard to do, but they don't live in the Puget Sound Conflict Avoidance Zone like we do. Who among us hasn't used the phone to break up—by not answering, not calling, or just by saying "We need to talk" in that unmistakable tone of voice that renders the rest of the conversation moot? So it's embarrassing, so it's maybe a little immature, so what? It's convenient, there's no temptation to back down, and nobody has to pick up the check afterward. Better still, it won't ruin any perfectly good bars or restaurants for future romantic uses, as all the failure and shame lingers in the bedroom where it belongs. R.L.

Second place: "Over e-mail" (HA!)

Third place: "At home" (whose, though?)

Best Place to Pick Up Someone Straight

NEIGHBOURS

(1509 Broadway, 324-5358)

Hey, we never said exactly who it was that was picking up on someone straight. Neighbours has "gay bar" written all over it—club music, drag queens, Kylie Minogue CD-release parties—but it's increasingly Breedersville, U.S.A. This may be because straight guys have finally clued in to the amount of hot young women who accompany homo boys on a night out, or because Neighbours' popular, pansexual Rock Lobster nights are the real walk on the '80s wild side that people going to Polly Esther's can only dream of. Or is it that the ladies are actually showing up with het men in tow? When asked whom he thought the women were coming with, Thursday night hostess Vesta Buhle saw no mystery, deadpanning simply, "Their fingers." S.W.

Second place: Polly Esther's (332 Fifth N., 441-1970)

Best Place to Pick Up Someone Gay

NEIGHBOURS

(1509 Broadway, 324-5358)

Homo, het, whatever. How can a club that wins "Best Place to Pick Up Someone Straight" also take the crown for cruising gay folk? Well, Neighbours is still here, still queer, and everybody's used to it. Queer kidz know they can size each other up to Madonna's latest remix, and those crazy college boys can feel naughty and experimental, thus attracting droves of shameless, savvy homos who have a taste for crazy college boys feeling naughty and experimental. No one seems to care, since no one in his right mind would head here looking for long-term partner material. It's back to Rock Lobster hostess Vesta Buhle to set the record straight, as it were: "You can go there under the guise of heterosexuality, find yourself a cornholing faggot, and still be looked upon as heterosexual." S.W.

Second place: Broadway

Best Place to Pick Up a Dyke

WILDROSE

(1021 E. Pike, 324-9210)

The Wildrose: Seattle's one—and only—lesbian bar and a place where everybody is welcome. Grab lunch or a quick drink after work; stay for dinner; enjoy the late-night pick-up menu! There are specials: pool tournaments (gotta love a girl with good hand-eye coordination); karaoke (give voice to your desires); DJs and dancing (stretch and warm up); TV (talk about the game to break the ice); spoken-word events (who doesn't adore a woman with a brain?); movie nights (keep that pesky popcorn out of the sheets). Don't be shy; sooner or later, everyone comes by: regulars, maybe someone with Mom and Dad visiting, first-timers, mixed groups, gay guys. So when you're trying to pick someone up, be sure of whom you're talking to. J.G.

Second place: Broadway

Best Pick-Up Bar

BELLTOWN BILLIARDS

(90 Blanchard, 448-6779)

Maybe it's all that leaning over the pool tables that gets people feeling randy, or merely the fact that those who come to this First Avenue hot spot seem required to pass an unspoken "You Must Be This Hot to Enter" test at the door; either way, Belltown Billiards is the place where PYTs come to kick their game—and we don't really mean billiards. Not that everyone in the room actually looks like future Baywatch fodder; just that this ain't no dirty-Levis-and-a-hoodie pool hall, so do the best with what you've got or spend the whole night playing singles, sweetie. Salsa, DJs, and the occasional live music act provide further opportunities for booty-checking and opening gambits. L.G.

Second place (tie): BluWater Bistro (1001 Fairview N., 447-0769; 7900 E. Green Lake Blvd., 524-3985) and Linda's Tavern (707 E. Pine, 325-1220)

Best Place to Make Out

ALKI

I love making out. I love the triumvirate of tongue, saliva, and lips. I love a nose against my face and a hand on the back of my head. I love embracing so tightly that breasts press against my chest and slight moans ooze from the corners of my mouth. I also happen to love sand, saltwater, and boardwalks where Asian kids in Hondas and high-school girls on RollerBlades hang out. Somehow, some infinitesimally impossible way, all of these fantastic things came together in a place known as Alki. It's amazing. Whether it's on a log (after Spud's), on a bench, or in my Datsun, Alki facilitates getting my groove on. And it can do the same for you. So get horny, get your lips ready, and get there. S.P.R.

Second place: Discovery Park (3801 W. Government Way, 386-4236)

Best Place to Have Sex in a Car

VOLUNTEER PARK

(15th and Galer, Capitol Hill)

"BACKSEAT" actually garnered the most votes this year. No, you silly, silly readers. We meant Best Place to PARK Your Car and Have Sex. But we do feel lucky to have such a witty readership. Ha ha. "Backseat!" Very funny. Come on, "backseat"? It's so obvious. What about the less-fabled front passenger seat? Any MG owner will tell you that's nice, too. Or the trunk? It solves the whole privacy issue, doesn't it? Well, however you do it, you prefer to park it—the car, the love bug, the coupe de thrill, the shaggin' wagon, if you will—in Volunteer Park. A likely choice, but remember what your mother warned you about that place—watch out for perverts! K.M.

Second place: Golden Gardens (8498 Seaview N.W., 684-4075)

Best Place to Buy a Mattress

BON MARCHɼ/B>

(downtown: 1601 Third, 506-6000)

If you think buying a swimsuit is embarrassing, wait until it's time to buy a mattress. "Just try it out," the salesman says, as if lying down fully dressed in the middle of a store in the middle of the day is completely normal. But the kindly salespeople at the Bon March頳trive to make this personal experience feel OK—though simply lying down isn't exactly "trying it out," if you know what I mean. While you're lying there wondering if you were supposed to take your shoes off, they'll politely ask, "What's your budget?" and then explain all the various permutations of simple stuffing and frame available in your price range. If you haven't bought a mattress in a while, plan to be startled; I've bought cars cheaper than many of the mattresses currently for sale on the Bon's seventh floor. But they do have great sales. Unsolicited, the salesman told me about an upcoming event, which may go a long way toward explaining why they won this category. A.V.B.

Second place: Sleep Country USA (many, many locations)

Best Place to People Watch

PIKE PLACE MARKET

(First and Pike)

Sweaty, unhappy, confused, crowded—shoppers at the Market are much like zoo animals, but they're not even free to fling their poo in frustration. Prepare a tasty snack, find a shady place, and settle in for a v鲩t頥xperience that will make you give up film forever. Disappointed-looking tourists, yuppie couples simmering just past civility, suburban parents splitting the difference between discipline and abuse, all of them looking for something—probably miniature doughnuts. Pretty much everyone who visits the city bobbles through here at least once, so you're sure to catch people you'd never see elsewhere. Try stationing yourself near the north stall entrance for a mix of optimism and exhaustion, the downstairs rest rooms to observe nervous discomfort, or the big pig for high-grade consumer trance. R.L.

Second place: Broadway

Best Dance Club

NEIGHBOURS

(1509 Broadway, 324-5358)

Last year Neighbours (a nightclub for fags) won for this same (faggy) category, and the Weekly (which employs at least a half-dozen actual fags, as well as countless fag flag-wavers) wrote a lot of nice things about how fun and fagalicious a Neighbours night out is—especially Thursdays, when the married-but-fag-loving DJ Trent Von always plays Frankie Goes to Hollywood (fags), the Pet Shop Boys (fags), and the Go-Go's (fag-friendly). Anyway, last year readers lost their shit because we described the people who go to Neighbours as "fags." (Of course, we also mentioned that non-fags go there, too.) To prevent a fag bag of angry letters this year, we thought: OK, we will do what our readers want, we will use the correct (if clinical) term, and we will only refer obliquely to the crowd's "diversity." And then we thought: Screw that, fuck them, fag-geddaboutit. C.F.

Second place: Polly Esther's (332 Fifth N., 441-1970)

Best Place to Buy Sex Toys

TOYS IN BABELAND

(707 E. Pike, 328-2914)

Dildos and butt plugs and harnesses, oh my! Oh, we're sure not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy—at least not yet. Sex- positive Seattleites' favorite toy store so far has not only gone bicoastal, with a second location in N.Y.C., but an online catalog (www.babeland.com/catalog) lets even the most deprived Midwesterners shop for all kinds of goodies, from vibes to the aforementioned dildos—in nearly every substance and shape known to both science and nature—to games, videos, books, and even the world's smallest workout accoutrement, the vaginal barbell (a.k.a. the Kegelcisor). Walk through their sunny, well-arranged shop on Capitol Hill and marvel at the wonderland of silicone, plastic, stainless steel, and even glass—a virtual army of tiny, penile-shaped soldiers standing at attention, eager and ready to please. Of course, there really is no place like home, and these little guys—along with a plethora of other sexy sundries—are waiting to join you there. L.G.

Second place: Castle Superstore (various locations)

Best Place to Rent Porn

BLUE VIDEO

(4100 Aurora N., 632-9886)

Usually when we think of blue video, we think of malfunctioning VCRs. But on Aurora, "blue" still means getting your bone on, and it's home to the Wal-Mart of porn. They've got the latest stuff, of course, but also the classics—if observing the fashion, hair, and makeup disasters of your parents' time gets you off, you'll be in heaven. The '90s saw an explosive growth in the porn market and, with it, extremely narrow genres—how would you like your she-males? If the hysterical anti-porn activists were right, then the staff (who see more action on-screen in a week than most of us see in a year) ought to be drooling Neanderthals too busy raping kids to offer quality customer service. Yet they're articulate, friendly-but-not-too-friendly, and discreet—thus striking a blow for First Amendment rights. R.L.

Second place: (the mysterious) R 'n' R (210 106th Pl. N.E., Bellevue, 425-453-5683)

Best Strip Club

RICK'S

(11332 Lake City Way N.E., 362-4458)

Every now and then we need to shut up, sit down, and pay mysterious naked ladies to dance for us, at us, or on us, and Rick's is the place to make it so. A little NC-17 touch of Casablanca in Lake City, but no Bogart, no Bergman, no Nazis or corrupt French officials—this is Lake City, people. Glamour and noir can't be bothered to drive out to the semiburbs. Fine by us—who wants to see Fatima the Intifi-darling shake it to As Time Goes By when there's a perfectly serviceable Rock the Casbah available? Why not celebrate post-feminism (or pre-feminism) in unabashed low-rent style? Open pretty late (2:30 every night); exit visas cost extra. Here's looking at you, kid. R.L.

Second place: Lusty Lady (1315 First, 622-9182)

 
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