Best Sports Bar

THE RAM RESTAURANT & BIGHORN BREWERY

(4730 University Way N.E., 525-3565)

A ram is so many things: A soft, horned male sheep.

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Sports Town— Readers' Picks

Best Sports Bar

THE RAM RESTAURANT & BIGHORN BREWERY

(4730 University Way N.E., 525-3565)

A ram is so many things: A soft, horned male sheep. A constellation, the emblem of the Aries. A device used to drive, batter, or crush by forceful impact. A projection on the prow of a warship used to cut into an enemy vessel. A Dodge truck. A U Village bar where not-very-sheepish male students (who drive Dodge trucks and like to crush things) go when they are horny and unsoft and on the prowl and in need of a shiny new vessel to ride. The Ram Restaurant & Bighorn Brewery, a warship of emetic college culture, serves all kinds of brewed yeasty batter (if you can't decide on just one carb-load variety, order a tasting rack) plus a ton of carby food to attract a braying nighttime herd of carb-fed college cattle. C.F.

Second place: Rocksport (4209 S.W. Alaska, 935-5838)

Best Mariners Player

ICHIRO

A Japanese tourist I met at Starbucks described the three Japanese players on the Mariners like this to me. Kazu, he said, is a ladies' man. He has many affairs in Japan and is not good to his family. The Japanese tourist did not like Kazu. Hasegawa, he said, is a fine gentleman. Very nice guy who loves his country and pitches very well. He liked Hasegawa. Ichiro, he said, is arrogant. "I love Ichiro," he said, smiling. And for good reason. At this writing, Ichi (as I like to call him) is hitting .356 and has 140 hits, 72 runs, and 24 stolen bases. He's exciting, he's an icon, and his name is harmoniously perfect for chanting. If he could only win the Best Mariners Butt category, his domination might be complete. S.P.R.

Second place: Edgar Martinez

Best Mariners Player's Butt

BRET BOONE

After checking out the Mariners Fan Forum (www.forums.mlb.com/ml-mariners), especially the salacious and salivating Boonie Fest V thread, we were surprised that the second baseman had stiff competition for this coveted award from Edgar Martinez, Dan Wilson, and Mike Cameron. But one visit to www.bretboone.org, run by devoted Olympia fan Mary Shiflett, reveals from many angles (and one angel—see photo) why Boonie ended up running away the winner. "Have you seen how tight he wears his uniform pants?" says Shiflett. "Yikes! Also, that's pretty much the only side of him some of us have been able to photograph—he rarely comes close enough for a good photo unless you have a telephoto lens, and when he does, he pretty much has his back to the crowd." I don't think she's really complaining. A.V.B.

Second place: Edgar Martinez

Best SuperSonics Player

GARY PAYTON

Anyone who voted for someone other than Gary Payton in this category is an idiot, period. If the category was "Favorite Sonics Player," there might be some justification in casting a ballot elsewhere; Payton's never exactly been Mr. Congeniality. Then again, would it be appropriate for the NBA's most tenacious defensive player to be charming and cuddly? His talent has never been in question, but the leadership and patience Payton exhibited this year with a Sonics lineup consisting of numerous guys barely old enough to drive was more than admirable—it was downright classy. But whether by trade, free agency, or retirement, Payton is probably not much longer for Seattle. Enjoy him while you can. P.F.

Second place: Desmond Mason

Best Seattle Storm Player

SUE BIRD

Electrifying. Unstoppable. All-Star. These are a few words to describe rookie point guard Sue Bird, who's single-handedly taken the Storm from doormat to contender in the WNBA. The 21-year-old proves that Larry isn't the only Bird who can make hoops look easy. Oh, and she's damn cute, too. M.V.

Second place: Lauren Jackson

Best Food Item at Safeco Field

GARLIC FRIES

The smell of hot dogs, roasted peanuts, and stale beer have long established themselves as the olfactory trademarks of the ballpark, but the wondrous bouquet of the Safeco garlic fry poses a significant threat to the old odor order. With an aroma equally beguiling to those who love their fries just fine the old-fashioned way as it is to those healthy/snobby eaters who normally frown upon the greasy little devils completely, the lure of the garlic fry is a potent one. Of course, if they merely smelled good, the flirtation would be brief. That they also happen to possess a rich golden brown color, a crisp texture, and a delicious briny zing means that this love affair won't be ending anytime soon. P.F.

Second place: Hot dogs

Best Yoga Studio

FREMONT BIKRAM and BIKRAM IN KIRKLAND (tie)

(1054 N. 34th, 547-0188 and 434 Park Place Center, Kirkland, 425-739-0880)

Luke 22:44: "And being in great agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

We can't promise a spiritual rebirth if you try Bikram Yoga (also called hot yoga or sweaty yoga, since the room is kept at around 100 degrees), but you'll likely think you've seen something through the haze, so tremendous are the results for those who can take the heat throughout the 26 mind-and body-altering postures. A.V.B.

Second place: 8 Limbs (500 E. Pike, 325-1511; 7345 35th N.E., 523-9722)

Best Place to Take a Jog

GREEN LAKE

While jogging is undeniably pass鬠people continue to do it. (What, is something chasing you really, really slowly?) Being (clearly) of the firmly anti-jogging ilk, I telephoned a pro-jogging individual to discuss the relative merits of Green Lake as a jogging venue. My source first disputed the primacy of Green Lake among places to jog, but quickly admitted that she did, in fact, jog there with some frequency. The remainder of our conversation went like this: Seattle Weekly: "So what is it you like about jogging at the Lake of Green?" Jogger: "Well, it's pretty, and it's a good distance—about 2.8 miles, I think—and it's easy to get to." SW: "Do you like the goose shit?" Jogger: "No, I don't like that." SW: "What about that guy with the sandwich board offering Spanish lessons—do you like him?" Jogger: "He's cute!" B.J.C.

Second place: Burke-Gilman Trail

Best Bike Shop

GREGG'S GREENLAKE CYCLE

(7007 Woodlawn N.E., 523-1822; 7401 Aurora N., 783-1000; 121 106th N.E., Bellevue; 425-462-1900)

At 70, Gregg's Greenlake Cycle is firmly ensconced in its (apparently endless, and yay for that) golden years. Now in its third generation of Gregg family ownership, under the leadership of competitive cyclist Stan Gregg, Gregg's is still at its original location on Green Lake, and the Gregg empire has expanded to include shops on Aurora and in Bellevue. Things you can do at Gregg's: buy a snowboard; sign up for a bike repair clinic; get your brakes tightened; pick up a shatter-resistant pair of cycling shades. Most important to us novice cyclists, snowboarders, and in-line skaters, Gregg's is a shop for enthusiasts and dabblers, where you can find everything from a $4,600 Screamer tandem recumbent to a $20 pair of skates for a scoot around the lake. E.C.B.

Second place: Montlake Bicycle Shop (2223 24th E., 329-7333; 20 103rd, Bellevue, 425-462-8823, 211 Kirkland, Kirkland, 425-828-3800)

Best Gym

24 HOUR FITNESS

(1827 Yale, 624-0651)

Boo-yah. They really are open all night, and after sunset most of the hypersocial trainers and sales reps have gone home, leaving the rest of us to sweat in peace. If you don't mind fronting a bunch of money straight up, the rates are surprisingly cheap, though they try their best to keep up the cash flow by selling supplements, gear, and training to everyone with a wallet. The equipment is in good shape, and there's plenty of it, so there's never a wait for cardio and rarely for lifting. Those of us who enjoy playing "What's his story?" love it when the high-fiving corporate mooks show up, busting out of their button-down shirts and khakis and trying like hell to inspire the staff. R.L.

Second place (tie): The Vault (808 Second, 224-9000) and Sound Mind and Body (437 N. 34th, 547-3470)

Best Place for an Outdoor Date

ALKI

In a word: Spuds. Sure, you've got your pretty bay, soft sand, scent of bonfires, sunsets, laughter, and all that other bullshit on Alki, but really: What makes for the perfect outdoor date is going to Spuds, getting some fish 'n' chips to go, and eating them on a log that is older than the Smith Tower while the goddamn seagulls try to steal your food. That is how you do it. No walks on the beach. No kissy-kissy by the mini Statue of Liberty. Screw that. Get your grub on, look one another in the eye, and say, "Baby, I love it when your fingers smell like malt vinegar." S.P.R.

Second place: Green Lake

Best Place to Swim

LAKE WASHINGTON

Lake Washington is fun. People swim there. People sunbathe there. People create blissful, beautiful memories there. People pee in it, and no one knows the difference. It's big, too, going from Bothell to Renton, which means an abundance of places to swim. Madison Beach is a good place to swim. Hairy fathers, fat mothers, awkward high-school girls, tanned gay men, young and bored lifeguards, babies, ducks, and endangered geese run amok on the shoreline. A dock with a high-dive and low-dive sits out in the lake as a sanctuary from the mob on terra firma. Cars move silently on 520 to the north, and the world smells like suntan lotion. Oh, lovely summer. S.P.R.

Second place: Colman Pool (8603 Fauntleroy S.W., 684-7494)

Best Boat Rental

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Of a sunny Seattle summer day, is there anything finer than to take a friend, pack a cooler of liquid refreshment and delicious sandwiches, put your wallet in a Ziploc bag, and captaineer a small craft out into the Everglades-esque (minus the alligators) Arboretum? No, no—there is not. On a weekday you practically have the waters to yourself; on weekends you won't have to wait long, but piloting across the yacht-ridden Montlake Cut can get a little scary. Look at them in their fancy powerboats, thinking they're all rich and having a fabulous time. Look at us! We have sandwiches and liquid refreshment! Our upper bodies are benefiting from paddling! We're splashing each other and laughing! And we will see a beautiful heron, close enough to touch! Plus baby ducks! Ha! B.J.C.

Second place (tie): Agua Verde Paddle Club (1303 N.E. Boat, 545-8570) and the Center for Wooden Boats (1010 Valley, 382-2628)

 
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