Route 69 on Highway 99

Heads or Tails is a bar with a pool table, couch, and no cohesive aesthetic.

With its cheap throwback motels and vast swaths of archaic, forget-me-now storefronts, it is no wonder Highway 99—once the main artery connecting the United States' entire West Coast—has devolved into Seattle's foremost thoroughfare of cheap and sleazy vice in the era of eight-lane interstates. It's not the sort of environment that lends itself easily to cozy neighborhood pubs, to put it mildly, and the rare drinking establishment that does emerge tends to reflect the transient nature of the strip. Like the road it rests along, Heads or Tails is a bar without a cohesive aesthetic. In one corner, there are plush love seats and a fireplace, and the pool table is so close to the front entrance that you're apt to get poked in the gut by a cue's backswing. Between the fireplace and felt are three or four tables, and then there's a random couch near the one-room bar's south wall. The crowd of a couple dozen is all male, save for the bartender and a black chick with a shiny shirt rubbing her ass against the crotch of an Ian Holm look-alike in a crisp pair of Dockers. It would be no reach to assume their relationship is that of client and service provider, but then the picture gets blurry, as two other dudes—one a soused guy in khaki chinos, the other a beady-eyed grease monkey—converse frequently enough with the pair to make it evident they're a party of four, and probably not a party of four that will morph into a three-on-one at the Motor Inn across the street once someone sinks (or snorts) an eight-ball. After they finish playing, they duck outside for a smoke—along with what seems like half the bar, including the bartender. Again, this being Aurora, it would be easy to assume that wherever they've gone, they're up to no good. But old guys in khakis? It doesn't quite add up; and the grease monkey turns out to be a real prince to boot, complimenting my eyewear and welcoming me into "the four-eyed club," of which he's a member too. 

 
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