A Maiden's Prayer at the Comfortably Quirky Flowers Bar and Restaurant

The Watering Hole: Flowers Bar and Restaurant, 4247 University Way NE, 633-1903, UNIVERSITY DISTRICT.

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The Atmosphere: From the dilapidated sign out front, newcomers often mistake Flowers for an abandoned building or a place to buy plants, which is understandable given that it was originally a flower shop before being resurrected as a restaurant 20 years ago. Owner Fadi Hamebe kept a sense of history by saving the sign and most of the original woodwork inside. Christmas lights are strung above the worn wooden bar, giving the place the quirky, cozy feeling of a college kid's living room. On a Thursday evening it's pleasantly packed with tattooed, 20-something students sipping PBR.

The Barkeep: Blonde and ethereal beauty Laurel Cooper's warm, serene demeanor fits the feel at Flowers perfectly. She flits around the room, smiling sweetly as she serves up pints. While pulling a beer, she tells me that she worked at The Slip in Kirkland for a "painful minute," but didn't enjoy the company of the customers who frequented there. Cooper says Flowers suits her better, and she's been working there for about a year.

The Drink: "It's not my favorite to drink, but it's my favorite to make people," Cooper says as she mixes up a Maiden's Prayer. She muddles lemon wedges and adds white rum, triple sec, and apricot brandy, shaking and straining the concoction before pouring it into a cocktail glass. At first sip, the drink is a refreshing combination of tangy and sweet, and tastes less obviously strong then expected based on the amount of booze in it.

The Verdict: The lemony cocktail is ideal for an unusually warm October evening. But when the weather gets cooler, Flowers' cozy atmosphere will make it the perfect place for college kids to curl up with a beer and chat with old friends.

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