Acquabar Has the Cure for the Common Bouncer

The Place: Acquabar, 305 Bell St., 728-6583, BELLTOWN

The Hours: Happy hour daily, except for Sunday, from 4-7 p.m.

The Deal: $ 4 well drinks and glasses of wine, $3 draft beers.

The Digs: Indistinguishable from any other well-appointed Belltown bar until you consider its roots. Acquabar was once a doggy daycare, while the adjacent cafe of the same name was once Kelly's, Seattle's most intimidating dive bar. And its owner, David Leong (pictured), is a martial arts instructor and actor who's appeared in films alongside Steven Seagal and Jackie Chan.

Leong once owned The Apartment Bistro and Karma, each located within two blocks of his new bar. But to paraphrase Fred Simmons, Leong is not only a nightlife entrepreneur, he is also "a deadly serious killing system." In other words, don't start shit at Acquabar.

Considering this is where Kelly's--one of two recently retired bars (the other being Lake City's Rose Garden) that served primarily as a haven for crack dealers--once was, Leong is the perfect proprietor for this location, which features a DJ every Friday and Saturday night and hopes to start hosting live music soon.

The Verdict: The happy-hour specials are unimaginative but solid, and the crowd on a Tuesday after work is mellow and collegial. Same for the bartender, who pours us a "Sunrise, Sunset"--which is exactly like a tequila sunrise, only with some sort of mystery alcohol replacing the no-octane grenadine.

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