The Bar: Il Bistro, 93A Pike St., www.ilbistro.net, 632-8049. Italian for "The Bistro", this dimly lit, Pike Place Market institution is regularly voted among Seattle's most romantic dining spots.
The amiable Rick Rawson. "It sounds like something Scooby-Doo would say," he says of his name, before proceeding with a convincing impression of the cartoon canine. One gets the feeling he's done it before.
The Lighting: Dim, as noted above. "The lighting makes everyone look good," says Rawson. "You should see me at high noon. I look like Ted Kennedy, all swollen and bloated." Immediately, he questions whether he should have made the joke, given the Senator's declining health.
The Crowd: According to Rawson, there are two rushes. The first is people getting off office jobs, the second people getting off restaurant jobs. "I'd say it's 80% regulars," he estimates. Despite its touristy location, Il Bistro doesn't get a lot of tourist drop-ins because it opens after the market closes.
The Drink: New Orleans Buck. Amber Cruzan rum, fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, Peychaud's bitters, and ginger ale. Sometimes it's difficult to understand how drinks that dehydrate us can be deemed refreshing, but indeed, this tastes refreshing. It avoids the two cardinal sins, as declared by this unrefined palate: excessive sweetness, and excessive whiskey flavor that reminds one of bad decisions made in one's formative years.
"It's a good summer drink," says Rawson. "It's refreshing."
"One of my regulars always orders it, beginning in January. He'll be like, 'Is it summer yet?'"