The Blarney Stone, Where Soft Rock, Sturgeon & Mandahoes Reign"/>
The Atmosphere: The Blarney Stone is the sort of central-casting, no-bullshit Irish pub>"/>
The Watering Hole: The Blarney Stone, 1909 3rd Ave, 448-8439, DOWNTOWN.
The Atmosphere: The Blarney Stone is the sort of central-casting, no-bullshit Irish pub that's found in abundance in Manhattan--as well as Manhattan, Kansas. There are Christmas lights even though it's not Christmas, and random beer and sports flotsam. But there's no Pogues or Van Morrison on the stereo; instead, it's dominated by classic (Cars, Grateful Dead) and soft (Chicago, Player) rock. (Isn't soft rock an oxymoron?)
The crowd consists of mostly regulars, many of whom are carrying on breezy, off-color conversations that never threaten obnoxiousness. There's a joke about a zebra we can't repeat.
The Barkeep: Girly-voiced, apple-cheeked Heather Sturgeon--"like the fish for very expensive caviar." With penetrating blue eyes and a penetrating blue Sounders cap, she's the type one could imagine commanding caviar from a suitor, but while working, she keeps it casual, with her hair tied back in a ponytail, a tiny stud earring in her right nostril, and her posterior protected by a pair of Daisy Dukes.
She recently moved to Seattle, but Sturgeon hails from Snohomish, and still pulls shifts at a wine bar called the Repp that she describes as "an awesome date place." Prior to that, she worked at an awesome place, but maybe not so much for dates: The Oxford Saloon, cutesy Snohomish's resident Bandido bar.
The Drink: Sturgeon doesn't fuck around when she drinks; her go-to is Jameson neat with a Sprite back. But when pressed to get more creative, she puts a boozy spin on the standard Belgian Ale with an orange slice, dropping a shot of Absolut Mandarin into a pint of Hoegaarden, a drink spontaneously dubbed "The Mandahoe."
"It will get you fucked up quickly," warns Sturgeon.
The Verdict: She's right. It will.