First Call: It's a Red Bull and Vodka Market

Drinking what the bartenders drink at Pioneer Square's go-go Aura.

The Watering Hole: You've probably seen the ads: a topless brunette, seductively nibbling a manicured fingernail, toying with her pink hoop earrings. But over the course of two hours at the 5-month-old Aura in Pioneer Square (309 First Ave. S.), I saw nary a nipple. But the bumping-and-grinding crowd did do a whole lot of drinking, which is what led me to the small window of a cash-only bar with a neon "Cocktails" sign in the back, where I met...

The Barkeep: Tommy Estrada, who gets adorably shy when the camera comes out, despite being a regulation hottie.

The Drink: It was very loud. So our conversation went about like this:

Estrada: WHAT CAN I GET YOU?

Onstot: I NEED YOU TO MAKE ME WHAT YOU DRINK!

E: WHAT?

O: MAKE ME WHAT YOU DRINK! AND TWO GIN-AND-TONICS!

E: OK! JÄGER AND RED BULL!

So if you're wondering if the bartenders at Aura drink the same thing as the patrons: Yes, yes, they do. Estrada mixes the thick, cough-syrupy Jägermeister (making mine a double) into a glass in which he's poured what looks to be an entire can of the energy drink. It's a bold choice in a bold bar.

Estrada says that he started drinking the concoction as a teenager in Canada. Then when he started bartending, there would be Jäger left over at the end of a night, so he'd finish with one of these before heading home.

The Verdict: You have to give Estrada credit. It takes guts (and probably a couple pulls of Jäger yourself) to hand something to a semi-professional drink critic that tastes like a combination of childhood illness and bad decisions in college. The drink is sickly sweet and kind of medicinal, with enough caffeine to keep you mimicking the club's go-go dancers well past the time you'd intended to head home.

If you don't see topless girls in ads and think "I need to be there right now!", Aura isn't your place, and the Jäger/Red Bull isn't your drink. But if you're ready to party, despite everyone's skimpy tops staying firmly in place, Estrada's got the fuel to keep you going.

lonstot@seattleweekly.com

 
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