The Baranof's vibe is Downtown. Way Downtown. Old school Seattle Downtown. Think On the Waterfront, if it had been directed by David Lynch.
Bubbles, Bloodies or Black Coffee:
The booze starts to flow in the early A.M. around here, and by noon the clientele is good and sauced. Although they have sparkling wine (Cooks), take a pass, as this is the kind of place built on hard booze. The Bloody Marys are $3 and should really come with a warning that you'd best be ready to "ride the lightning." Fork over the extra couple bucks for a premium well pour and fasten your seat belt. The coffee is serviceable and made more endearing by the mismatched mug presentation.
Hungover, Hooked Up or Hanging with the Family:
Since the Baranof only closes four hours a day, you are likely to find at least one patron who has taken a Greenwood car nap and stumbled right back in, making it a judgment-free zone--the kind of place you bring a morning-after date when you don't want to see anyone you know. It is also a perfect, low key, solo dining/eavesdropping/book reading spot. And while theoretically you could bring a kid into the diner portion of the Baranof, I'm not sure why you'd want to.
DishTip.com ranks the Jell-O shot as the number one "food" at the Baranof, which should give you an idea of the kitchen's capacity. The key to eating at this joint is to keep it simple. Well scrambled eggs, bacon and toast will do you right; the Eggs Benedict, however, may not. My poorly poached eggs were scary runny and suspect enough that I stuck my pinky in the yolk to see if they were actually cooked above body temperature. The pale, almost translucent hollandaise sauce had the bland sadness of a cheap nursing home on a plate.
The Baranof's hash browns though, are fantastic. They are almost creamy in the middle with a nicely browned, crunchy exterior and good enough that if I found myself there some other foggy morning I'd order up a mess up of them and forgo anything else on the menu.