First Call: An Old Leaf

Tara Burkett turns one over with her campfire kamikaze.

The Watering Hole: Old 5th Avenue Tavern, 8507 Fifth Ave. N.E. MAPLE LEAFThe Atmosphere: Anyone wandering Maple Leaf in search of a good neighborhood bar may be up for a challenge. Easily mistaken for an old warehouse, the Fifth Ave. Tav's neon Pabst and Rainier signs reassure passersby that this is a spot worth pulling into if you're looking for classic cheap beer. Inside, a long bar cascades into the tavern's darker corners, where a jukebox plays tunes ranging from the Old 97's to Megadeth. Anyone with a steady hand at pool can try their luck in the adjoining room beneath the painted figures of Sasquatch, cougars, grizzly bears, and mermaids.The Barkeep: Tacoma native Tara Burkett, the keeper of both the bar and its jukebox collection for 15 years. Burkett keeps track of her local drinkers, referring to them as the family that "takes care of each other"; fresh faces undergo a few backward glances. Upon acceptance, Burkett's smile and mother-bear 'tending keeps the PBR pitchers flowing and the men swooning over a good story.The Drink: A simple kamikaze that Burkett says she used to drink on camping excursions back in the day. Consisting of Stoli vodka (what Burkett refers to as "the good stuff"), muddled lime, triple sec, and lime juice, it's served without garnish or a flimsy straw. Filled to the brim in a rocks glass, the drink's purpose is to be a sipper rather than a quick throwback.The Verdict: The sweet cocktail goes down smoothly—a tasty palette-cleanser prior to what could become a pileup of the $1.50 PBRs available during the late-night happy hour (literally: It runs 11 p.m.–midnight). Anyone looking for a snack between sips will have quite a selection to choose from, depending on the evening. Mondays bring Crock-Pot surprises, and Tuesday's special is two tacos for a buck. There are also cheap sloppy joes on Thursdays and occasionally a barbecue cookout on Fridays.food@seattleweekly.com

 
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