The Watering Hole: Bait Shop, 606 Broadway E., 420-8742, CAPITOL HILL
The Atmosphere: Even though it's the new kid on the block, Bait Shop already feels perfectly worn in. The Linda Derschang–owned bar serves water in plastic pizza-parlor cups. Stackable bingo-parlor chairs circle tables, and mismatched captain's wheels are mounted on the wall. On a lazy January Sunday, staff handed out fresh blueberries that when chewed, exploded like pop rocks—an experiment from Bait Shop's carbonator.
The Barkeep: Carlee McManus worked at the Derschang-owned Oddfellows and Smith for the past few years, and helped open Bait Shop in December. She says the bar has the creature comforts of Linda's, while its high-end cocktails and thoughtfully sourced food are similar to Smith's. When she's not mixing drinks, McManus acts, having just completed her first voice-over project on a teen-novel audiobook.
The Drink: Asked to mix a cocktail of her choosing, McManus heads straight for Blue Curaçao. Adding Bacardi light rum, Cointreau, pineapple and lime juices, and a splash of soda, she makes her take on a Blue Hawaiian. Before garnishing it with a pineapple wedge, a brandied cherry, and a plastic spider monkey, she and another employee insert fresh straws to sample its proportions until they get things just right.
The Verdict: There's not a trace of a seasonality in the Blue Hawaiian. It tastes like an elevated version of what's typically found inside red plastic cups at house parties. But there's something about drinking a kitschy yet refined drink out of a pint glass on a rainy winter Sunday that's pretty damn terrific.