Belltown's Kushibar Puts a Little Styx in Your Tumbler

Kushi's Will Doherty manages to mix up a cocktail during a rush
The Watering Hole: Kushibar, 2319 2nd Ave., BELLTOWN

The Atmosphere: The narrow restaurant, adorned with a colorful paper lantern and a wall filled with Japanese characters, offers inviting views from nearly every angle--whether you're cozying up inside beneath the eyes of expert chefs flipping kushiyaki (grilled skewers) in the open-air kitchen, or enjoying a few specialty cocktails on the covered deck alongside the bustling 2nd Avenue. Locals come here to escape the crowds spilling out of the 'hood's rowdier Frontier Room or Belltown Billiards in order to gorge themselves on healthy portioned Japanese street food with plenty of elbow room. During the weekends, the bar can get a bit congested, but it doesn't seem to last long once curious partiers realize the bar area serves more as a mature meeting ground than a quick "hook-up spot."

The Barkeep: William "Will" Doherty, whose early years were spent in Fair Lawn, New Jersey before his father moved the family to Seattle. The part-owner spends most of his time multi-tasking between mixing up a few drinks and seating hungry guests, which doesn't take away from his charm and occasional table conversations. The camera-shy Doherty use to mix up drinks back when Bada Lounge was a dancing hot spot, now replaced by Umi Sake House.

One Mr. Roboto! might not be enough...
The Drink: Doherty makes a tough decision amidst the bar's humorously named cocktails, choosing his favorite, the Mr. Roboto! The filled pint glass consists of Pimms No. 1, Hendricks Gin, lemonade, Thomas Kemper ginger ale, topped with cucumber slices.

The Verdict: Perfect for anyone just breaking into gin, as the drink's alcohol is masked by the sugary lemonade and ginger ale; a dangerous concoction that might result in gulps rather than sips. Fans of alcohol-soaked vegetables or fruit should also try the Lychee Lemonade, with Stoli Vanilla, Soho lychee liquor, lemon juice, cranberry juice, and a tender pear-like lychee that looks like a glowing orb on the bottom of the martini glass. Not a fan of sucking on fruit? Be sure to try Kushi's very own appetizer worth a lick: dragon balls (scallops wrapped with bacon).

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