First Call: Hooverville


Photos by Peter Mumford and Adriana Grant

Where: Hooverville

1721 1st Ave S

Seattle, WA 98134

(206) 264-2428

This SoDo bar takes its name from the shantytown that occupied its space (and many more that populated the country) during the Great Depression, named for (and blamed on) President Hoover.

This two-year-old spot has the look and feel of a place that's been around much longer. With peanut shells on the floor and a smiling yellow lab wandering behind the bar, this place has got an ease to it that makes it hard not to like. Tall barstools crowd the bar, while booths fill the room and the front windows, which appropriately enough, have bars on them. At 5:15 on a Wednesday evening, the place is pleasantly crowded.


Barkeep: Shannon

How long have you been here? I've been here for a year, but I've been bartending for 6.

Where we you before? I was in San Diego and New York, upstate New York. Lotta kids. Lotta fake breasts and fake tans. I have never seen so much silicon in my life.

In San Diego? No, in Saratoga Springs. But I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I am happy to be back. It's my favorite bar I ever worked at, my favorite hands down. Everyone knows each other.

What would you have, if you had a drink right now? A Mandarin and soda, or a beer. I'm boring, what can I tell you?

Drink of choice: Guinness. She pours half a pint from the tap, and returns to pour the other half.

From the bartender's friend (who wants a peek at my camera, he tells me, so he can tease Shannon about the photo): A Guinness is classic.

Shannon: Guinness is good for you.

I'm a bit intimidated by this tall gorgeous pint of stout, with its velvety head. This is a fat beer, a lot to put down. At first sip (complex, molassesy) I like the dark stuff more than I remember. And frankly, it seems just the right beer to have at this place.

With an unpretentious, just off-work crowd (literally, suits and Carharts), and an over-the-top extrovert for a bartender, I'll be back.

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