First Call: Muscle-Memory Manhattans in Maple Leaf

The Watering Hole: Roosevelt Ale House, 8824 Roosevelt Way N.E., MAPLE LEAFThe Atmosphere: I made my entrance at the Roosevelt Ale House amid a Mariner game about to go into extra innings and the history category of Wednesday-night trivia. Luckily the M's took the Sox 2–1 in the bottom of the 11th, trivia went into an epic runoff round, and my roommate arrived in the nick of time to keep me from either drinking alone or with the other patrons, who all seemed to be at least five or 10 years my senior. But with more than 50 different bottles, 10 taps, a delicious menu, and a perfect warm-night patio, I probably wouldn't have minded.The Barkeep: I posed the question at hand to an extremely friendly guy named Brian Bloom who was in the middle of his first day at the bar, but is by no means new to the Northwest. A "military brat" who's lived in Seattle since 1991, when he "refused to leave" during high school, Bloom met most of his current co-workers while bartending in the U District.The Drink: Being a "Manhattan guy," Bloom's drink choice didn't take much thought. While he claims a predilection for bourbon, the commitment came from his very first bartending training session with a sage teacher whose specialty was the cocktail in question. Watching him create mine, I got the strong impression the preparation was more muscle memory than conscious action.The Verdict: Shaken with sweet vermouth and bitters and garnished with a cherry, the Manhattan was deliciously smooth—and being what it was, had plentiful alcohol content. I was kind of glad no one seemed to notice me reach for my glass of water. Though Wednesday had just come to an end, it already seemed to have been one hell of a week, and Bloom's drink sure helped.food@seattleweekly.com

 
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