Best Drinking Hall

It's hard not to like Brouwer's big lodge in Fremont and Buckley's wide-open booze room in Lower Queen Anne. But for clatter and space, Chinook's at Salmon Bay is a great barroom. It's reminiscent of those crowded European beer halls they create out of old factories or warehouses, although this one also has wide-angle views of the bay and Fishermen's Terminal, with the light flowing back, and the M's on TV to boot. No reservations needed, and there's outside seating, but the din is through the doors and up the stairs. The half-block dining room is separated from the bar, where you can sit alone or take a high table. But there are no dividing walls, and you see an ever-circling stream of servers and diners and food and drinks. Chinook's likes to bill itself as "high energy" and family-style eating. To each his own. As I see it, you go there not for a quiet meal but for the bustling theater and surely the liquor and perhaps the wine. I understand the chowder's great, too.—Rick Anderson 1900 W. Nickerson St., 283-4665,

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