The Watering Hole: Main Street Alehouse & Eatery, 10111 Main St., 425-485-2972, BOTHELL
The Atmosphere: With its creaky wood floors and exposed brick, Main Street Alehouse has been around for an impressive 122 years. The long, lean room has that homey, well-worn feel that old age brings. During Prohibition, patrons snuck through a trap door behind the bar into a speakeasy that now serves as storage. On most nights, regulars living or working in the area line the bar. Crowds can be heavy on weekends, when the wait for a dinner table can reach upward of an hour.
The Barkeeps: During my visit, Katy Milliken and Cheri Phibbs share pouring duties. Milliken has worked at the Alehouse for four years, Phibbs for six. The women click into an intuitive rhythm mixing drinks and taking orders in the pub's dining room, making the job look like a breeze (in reality, it's not).
The Drink: Asked to pour a drink of her choosing, Milliken opts for her version of a Crazy Train. The process is short and sweet: a heavy-handed pour of Ketel One vodka, a few inches of water, and a wedge of lemon, served on the rocks in a pint glass. Milliken picked the Crazy Train because it's what she drinks when her shift ends, which can be as late as 1 a.m. on weekends.
The Verdict: For a drink that sounds like it should be a mix of Red Bull and tequila sloshing around in half a coconut, the straightforward Crazy Train is equal parts refreshing and strong. Besides booze, a rotating beer tap is offered, from Bud Light to Boundary Bay Blond Ale. Happy hour is every Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. Order the chips-and-beer combo, featuring housemade, thick-cut plain or spicy potato chips, dipping sauce, and a 16 oz. beer of the bartender's choice for a measly $5. Or opt for a burger-and-beer combo for $8.