Best Place for Cocktails

The Zig Zag

In the year since Seattle's favorite bartender, Murray Stenson, left The Zig Zag for (eventually) the stellar Capitol Hill newcomer Canon, the casual observer may have been led to believe that the classy Pike Street Hillclimb bar had fallen into a hopeless rut without its superstar mixologist. But rumors of the Zig Zag's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Granted, it no longer has a line of folks waiting for its doors to open at 5 p.m. as it did during the latter part of Stenson's storied tenure. But that's not such a bad thing: With its dark-red tones, jazzy soundtrack, and spare decor, the Zig Zag feels more like itself when it's not bursting at the seams with starfuckers. The bar remains as experimental as any in town, and the bartenders' propensity to let customers sample liquors they're unfamiliar with continues unabated. A sip of Bonal (fortified French wine that tastes a bit like brandy) might lead to the ordering of a Charlie Baker, $6 at happy hour instead of the usual $10. And a zippy Champs-Élysées makes wise use of green Chartreuse. But the important thing to remember is that the bar is staffed by bartenders who worked alongside Stenson. And while no one is Mur the Blur's equal, his successors are pretty great at what they do. Really, the only thing that's changed about the Zig Zag since Stenson left is that he's no longer there—except during the semi-frequent occasions when he drops in as a customer. MIKE SEELY 1501 Western Ave., 625-1146,

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