The Watering Hole: Sun Ya, 605 7th Ave S, 623-1670, CHINATOWN
The Atmosphere: As you enter Sun Ya, to the left is a massive, austere dining area best known for having stellar dim sum plopped in front of its guests. But head straight and to the right a little, and you'll shimmy into one of Seattle's darkest bars, perfect for days when you've forgotten your sunglasses.
At 4 on a Tuesday afternoon, the bar is half-full but pregnant with promise. Every patron is on the wrong side of 40, with blacks and whites peppered (or salted) amongst a mostly Asian crowd. Three television sets of varying sizes show Hurricane Isaac hitting Louisiana, there is Asian art on the walls, and red paper bulbs hang from the black tile ceiling, muting the lights. Against the back wall rest a wood stove and dart board, both out of commission, and swivel chairs make for a potentially great bout of bumper drunks.
The tall, dark-haired bartender, Gloria Ohashi, boasts a deep voice and quick wit. A skinny regular comes in and hands her a small green pumpkin that he says he found on the bus. "We don't have regulars," says Ohashi. "We have lifers." Every person who walks in is greeted by everyone else, and it becomes evident that Sun Ya is Seattle's Asian Cheers.
The Drink: What's Ohashi's favorite drink to make? "None," she replies. "On the rocks." So she quickly prepares "Peter G's Drink": half unflavored Stoli vodka, half raspberry Stoli, on the rocks (natch).
The Verdict: Peter G's Drink is, in a word, effective.