The Watering Hole: The Angry Beaver, 8412 Greenwood Ave N., 782-6044, GREENWOOD
The Atmosphere: It's a crying shame that not one of The Angry Beaver's six flat-screens shows live hockey matches (after a four-month lockout, an abbreviated 48-game regular season will beign Jan. 19), but the Canadian-themed hockey bar is biding its time playing vintage matches on the NHL Network. Canadian flags and jerseys are pinned to the wall, dorm-room style, and it's no surprise that the decor is accented with representations of the bar's chuckle-inducing namesake: A trucker cap emblazoned with a beaver rests on a shelf above the bar while a ceramic beaver statuette sits nearby, and no fewer than five stuffed beavers are positioned in nooks and crannies around the room. There's a separate seating area where kids are welcome until 7 p.m. (luckily, the stuffed animals are all out of reach), and every table has a perfect view of whatever game's playing. On a recent afternoon, the TVs are on mute while staff and patrons unself-consciously mouth along to Aretha Franklin's "Think."
The Barkeep: Rene Hayashi is not Canadian. And while he's a hockey fan, he doesn't seem to be a die-hard. But he's nothing if not loyal: Hayashi worked at the Pig 'n' Whistle, the space's previous resident, for more than 15 years. A former construction worker and bank employee, Hayashi wanted a career change in his 30s, and settled on bartending. "I love my job," he says. "I'm a people person."
The Drink: Hayashi chooses to make a Bloody Caesar, a drink he's currently trying to master. Invented in Calgary in 1969, this Bloody Mary variation is beloved by Canucks. Hayashi uses a scratch mix, adding clam and tomato juice, house vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. He proceeds to pile a mini-salad on top, complete with a pickled green bean, an onion, a pair of fat olives, and the requisite celery stalk.
The Verdict: With a healthy pour of vodka, the Bloody Caesar is kicky and bright. Sipping from the rim gives the right draw of salt, and there's a good, slow burn. Hayashi might not have mastered the Caesar, but he's damn close. And for $6 during happy hour (which lasts all day Sunday), you'll be hard-pressed to find a stiffer drink that's fit for the weekend. If you're a beer drinker, The Angry Beaver serves Canadian brews on tap, including Kokanee, alongside local microbrew pours from Full Sail and Two Beers.