First Call: Teaching Ichiro to Swear at Bad Monkey Bistro

The Watering Hole: Bad Monkey Bistro, 400 Boren Ave. N., SOUTH LAKE UNION The Atmosphere: Unless you're looking for a Friday-night fish fry at the American Legion, the bistro is easy to miss, considering its exterior resembles a veterans' post more than a piano lounge. Without any neon booze signage to light up the windows, bystanders must peer between blinds, to see if anyone is perched at the baby grand or stationed behind the bar, to know whether the doors are open for business. Inside, multiple tables are strategically placed around the performance space near the entrance so that diners can enjoy jazz quartets or those partaking of open-mike night. For anyone wanting to escape to a more intimate environment, the bistro has a private dining space furnished with plush leather sofas and an Amish-style fireplace. There's also a pool table. The Barkeep: Mark Shaw, who refers to himself as the "youngest-looking 41-year-old you'll ever meet," started learning how to shake drinks when he was 18 and living in Maine. Aside from being an expert mixologist (Shaw tastes many of his concoctions with a tiny straw to ensure that they're up to par), he spends time DJing and sampling quality wines when he's not behind the counter. Even on quiet nights when the bar isn't packed, Shaw is quite the storyteller, reminiscing about his days working at Bellevue's Daniel's Broiler—where he taught Ichiro to say "What the fuck?" The Drink: the Fuji Apple. A Shaw specialty, the cocktail consists of homemade mix (made from fresh oranges, lemons, limes, simple syrup, and brown sugar, muddled and boiled together), gin, vodka, rum, tequila, DeKuyper's Sour Apple Pucker, and Midori to give it its green hue. It's then topped with 7-Up and shaken to perfection. The Verdict: Despite the high dose of alcohol involved, the drink is smooth and refreshing, without any overbearing sweetness that could result in its tasting like an apple Jolly Rancher. Shaw calls his Fuji Apple's aftermath "shwilly," a word an ex came up with that means feeling a notch higher than buzzed, but not yet drunk. "You have one drink and dance all night long," he says with a smile. food@seattleweekly.com

 
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