Watering hole to the iPhone-wielding jet set: W Bar (in the lobby of the W Hotel, next to the in-house eatery Earth & Ocean), 1112 Fourth Ave.
Bartender to the iPhone-wielding jet set: Greg Zacher
So Zacher, what's your super-swank drink of choice? On hearing the First Call rules, Zacher returns with a pretty standard response -- to feel me out to see if his favorite concoction will go over. "Well I like gin," he says, his inflection already a question. "Do you like gin?"
What I like really doesn't matter for First Call.
That said, Zacher's already hitting a good note. While vodka pretty much tastes like water that'll get you drunk regardless of how much you paid for it, gin is far more interesting -- if a little risky. The difference between the top shelf and the plastic jug is the difference between a smooth, refreshing sorbet and chewing on dirty pine needles. Luckily, he reaches for the Hendrick's.
Hendrick's is distilled in Scotland and infused with cucumber and rose petals. Some purists may consider it an abomination, but who cares, it's delicious! (And, incidentally, available at the Emerald Queen Casino, Zacher mentions.)
Zacher's personal concoction consists of shaking Hendrick's with muddled cucumbers and splashing the whole thing with Sprite. He's mixing it up at the end of August's heat wave, and it's the perfect escape from the sun that's been turning every house in town into a furnace. As an added bonus, Zacher's off-menu creation goes perfectly with the wasabi peas on the bar.
Predictably, the talk turns to the heat. Zacher just moved back to the area after seven years of tending bar in Phoenix. "Everyone's like, oh, you must be used to this," he says with an eye roll. "I'm like 'no, in Phoenix there's air conditioning everywhere.'"
Stepping back for a moment, most people sitting on the stools are in suits, alone, and here on business of some kind or another. The W is one of the places you're likely to run into the beautiful people when they visit our fair city. Attentive Seattleites have spotted both Harrison Ford and Robert Downey, Jr. outside the lobby. Zacher says he's only been there a month, and hasn't had any star sightings yet, but he's enjoying getting to spend his evenings as a listening ear to weary, well-dressed travelers. "You get to meet a lot of cool people, interesting people," he says. "It's just good to hear their stories."
Cool people, cool drink. As Paris Hilton would say: "That's hawt."