The Watering Hole: Bad Monkey Bistro, 400 Boren Ave. N, SOUTH LAKE UNION
Bad Monkey's Mark Shaw is serious with his craft
The Atmosphere: Unless you're looking for a Friday night fish fry at the American Legion, the bistro is easy to miss considering its exterior resembles the veteran post more than a piano lounge. Without any neon booze signage to light up the windows, bystanders must peer in-between blinds to see whether anyone sits perched at the Baby Grand or stationed behind the bar in order to know if the doors are open for business. Once inside, multiple tables are strategically placed around the performance space near the entrance so that diners can enjoy musical notes from jazz quartets or those partaking in open mic night. For anyone wanting to escape to a more intimate environment, the bistro has a private dining space shut off by glass doors and furnished with plush leather sofas and even an Amish style fireplace. Not to mention, there's also a pool table for those wanting to brush up on a few hand tricks of their own.The Barkeep: Mark Shaw, who refers to himself as the "youngest looking 41-year-old you'll ever meet," started learning how to shake drinks since he was 18 and living in Maine. Aside from being an expert mixologist (Shaw tastes many of his concoctions with a tiny straw before handing them across the counter to ensure that are up to par), he spends time DJing and pondering over quality wines when he's not behind the counter. Even on quiet nights when the bar isn't packed with people, Shaw will transform into quite the storyteller, reminiscing about his days working at Bellevue's Daniel's Broiler to the time when he taught Ichiro to say "what the fuck."
The Drink: The Fuji Apple. A Shaw specialty, the cocktail consists of homemade mix (made from fresh oranges, lemons, limes, simple syrup and brown sugar, muddled and boiled together) gin, vodka, rum, tequila, apple pucker, midori to give it its green hue, topped with 7 Up and shaken to perfection.
Even the bar's mascot knows the strength of The Fuji Apple
The Verdict: Shaw calls his Fuji Apple's aftermath "Shwilly," a word an old-ex came up with that means feeling a notch higher than buzzed, but not yet drunk. "With that one, you have one drink and dance all night long," he says with a smile. Despite the high dose of alcohol involved, the drink is smooth and refreshing without any overbearing sweetness that made badly, could result in tasting like an apple jolly rancher. While it may be only a matter of time before the bistro becomes a late night hot spot for those working in the Amazon building, Bad Monkey seems to be serving up some serious concoctions from its food (90-percent made from scratch) down to its crafted drinks that could very easily make any open mic disaster sound like bliss.