Baranof: Soggy Tacos, Stiff Drinks, and 13 Hours of Happy Hour

Six a.m. never felt so good.

I have to thank the Baranof for some life lessons. First, dinner shouldn't be ordered by name but by dollar amount. "Gimme $4 of tacos," rumbled one patron on a recent Taco Tuesday, when three of the meaty envelopes go for $2. The hard shells don't stand a chance against all the cow fat and turn rubbery in seconds, but they're tasty nonetheless. Second, drinking gin and tonic implies you're half a man. I'd just taken a sip of my own when a burly fellow in a Seahawks jersey sat at the adjacent bar stool and demanded something "really fruity—a gin and tonic." "How do you make that?" feigned the bartender, as I scrunched over my estrogen juice. "With bourbon and Coke," replied the Seahawks guy. Third, do not drink at the Baranof if you don't expect to get fucked up. My first drink—a happy-hour-priced $2.25 scotch and soda—was stiff enough to stand without a glass. (Also, the 13-hour happy hour lasts from 6 a.m.–7 p.m.) The early evening crowd is basically a collection of swollen, mustachioed types who like to complain about working too hard. Talk alternates from sports cars to fishing to shopping at Costco to the relative merits of the Undertaker, a pro wrestler. The bartenders, women with decades of service to the Baranof, tend to stay in the background, quietly offering a grizzled customer a cooler for his package of baloney, or providing a shot glass of olive oil for a woman suffering from a thumb splinter. But every once in a while, they contribute to the blue-collar saloon atmosphere: "I just watered myself," says a customer who spilled a drink. To which the bartender replies: "Are you going to grow?" 8549 Greenwood Ave N., 782-9260, GREENWOOD.

 
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