Blakeney is hoping to add a quaffable element to this summer's annual Dragon Fest. CIDBIA last year introduced a food walk in conjunction with the popular event, recruiting 16 restaurants to offer $2 food samples; Blakeney says the snack-around resulted in a 1000-customer spike for participating restaurants. This year's culinary programming will also include a food truck pod and beer garden. "We started off doing traditional stuff," Blakeney says. "But we saw the food walk kept people in the neighborhood longer."
Although the bar crawl is still in the planning stages, Blakeney hopes to include restaurants such as Ocean City, which is now remodeling its lounge and adding a waterfall, and the famously politically-minded Dynasty Room at Four Seas.
"It's a windowless, wood-paneled room, tucked away," Blakeney says. "I've walked in there and there were police officers, community activists, former city council members. I was like, wow, this is really a hangout."
Blakeney is also a fan of the Dragon Room at Sun-Ya, furnished with circa 1960s swivel chairs.
"You can tell it was a smoky lounge," he says.
At many bars, drink prices have stayed nearly as consistent as the décor.
"The prices are amazing," Blakeney says. "They wouldn't have to cut prices very much to make an attractive happy hour."
While Blakeney concedes most International District bars haven't embraced craft cocktail trends, they've had terrific success with bottled beer and strong mixed drinks.
"These bars have been there for decades," Blakeney says. "I'm excited to see Seattle discover them again."