An Ode to Russians and Recyclables at Grim's

Troy Hedrich: A bright spot in a Grim place.
The Watering Hole: Grim's, 1512 11th Ave., 324-7467

The Atmosphere: It's not so much grim as gritty. It's dark and brooding, but in an unexpectedly comforting, beer hall sort of way. Grim's describes itself as "steampunk-meets-Silent Hill," which is pretty accurate, if not a little unsettling and overly haunting. It recently moved into the old Grey Gallery space. The lighting is dim and enhanced by candles, perfect for the industrial chic space that is dotted with touches of recycled, reclaimed, salvaged and re-purposed items around each corner. (The wall next to the left of the bar is made entirely of old keyholes). At the long hand-crafted wooden bar, backs are turned to the communal tables that relieve those hungry for inventive food, thirsty for handcrafted cocktails, and those just needing a respite from the enormous puddles that line the Capitol Hill sidewalks this time of year.

The Barkeep: Troy Hedrich. He likes vodka. Stoli, to be exact. That explains why he made us a cocktail that is credited for kicking off the vodka craze of the 1950s (or was it 40s?).

Always a sucker for the Russians.
"I like the Moscow Mule," says Hedrich of the vodka, lime and ginger beer concoction. "It has a great flavor. It's not too sweet, but it's kind of refreshing at the same time. It's simple. You don't need a master's degree and 10 bottles at home to make it." Personally, Hedrichs says his favorite cocktail is ginger ale and Stoli. "I love ginger which kind of seems to be a popular flavor these days. I have been drinking Russian Rockstars for a few years now, which are Stoli on the rocks with a splash of ginger ale. But out here (in Seattle), I've been loving the ginger beer which has altered my own drink a bit."

Some stats on Hedrich: He moved to Seattle from Petoskey, Michigan a little more than a year ago knowing nothing about the city except it's where his sister calls home; at 33-years-old, he's already been int he restaurant business for 14 years; he's the second oldest of three brothers and a sister; and he thinks Seattle is a pretty great place to tend bar.

"Bartenders here know what the hell they are doing, which raises the bar. It's nice."

The Verdict: The Moscow Mule was an extremely refreshing, perfectly balanced summery drink on such a terrible rainy day, which happened to be our first visit to Grim's. We were soaking wet after walking the four blocks from the illegal parking space it took us 20 minutes to find. We probably weren't in the best mood when we saddled up to the bar, looking like wet rats, but Hedrich and his mason jarred Mule (both spry and kicky, by the way) had us sitting and sipping for more than an hour while we waited out the rain and made a new friend.

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