Rock Salt's main bar (there are three total) is a dimly lit space with old-wood interior and a view of Lake Union, providing apt ambiance for it's primary patrons: boat owners and regulars, with frequent young and happy-hour crowds. And yes, the place offers a great happy hour: 3--9 p.m. Sunday--Thursday.
Bartender: Sherri Tommer, an avid snowboarder and former chef from Ephrata, WA.
I wanna drink what you drink! Sherri is a pushover and makes me a modified Vodka Press. "It's just vodka, 7-up and soda water, with a lemon wedge," she says, handing me the simple concoction. "It's low-calorie." The drink is light and refreshing, even with well vodka. I order three. It typically comes with ginger ale instead of lemon-lime soda, Sherri explains, but she is a "Sprite-a-holic."
Years in the business: Nine.
Why not a chef? "I really like the social aspect [of bartending], meeting people and making drinks. Plus, the kitchen is really hot!"
At this point, a 22-year Rock Salt patron, Gary, joins the conversation. He's obviously had a few (too many) drinks and begins regaling us with stories about his inebriation, his male-pattern baldness, the time he rolled a joint in his friend's car and couldn't figure out the auto-locks, and his 15-year-old dog Trixie, who might not live much longer. He makes little sense, but I promise to write Trixie's eulogy.
Gary, on Rock Salt: "It's a great place, you know? I come in here at least once a week to unwind, and it doesn't have the crowds and the noise. They know me and they take care of me. It beats the hell out of McCormick & Shits."