The Digs: Situated on the ground floor of a 106-year-old building, F.X. McRory's Whiskey Bar is one of the most beautiful drinking rooms in the city, with towering ceilings, antique wooden barstools, a luxurious selection of liquor whose top shelf requires a ladder to reach, and Leroy Neiman paintings scattered about. Paradoxically, its patrons are often clothed in athletic jerseys, like a workaday pack of outboard anglers who've been given the keys to Sig Hansen's trawler.
McRory's bills itself as a steak and oyster house. The steaks are merely passable, but the oysters are first-rate. So, too, are the french fries served with the cod sliders. These fries are direct replicas of McDonald's fries--skinny, salty, oily, and absolutely delicious. This style of fry--frites, really--is the best on the planet, and won't spoil your dinner if enjoyed as a 3 o'clock snack.
As for drinks on special, you'll be hard-pressed to find $8.75 pitchers of High Life at your neighborhood dive bar, and the $5 Old Forester Manhattan comes in a stemless glass (stems are for spilling) with an orange twist substituted for the standard cherry. Our bartender noted that his mother is a Manhattan aficionado, and has always felt that the cherry made the classic drink too sweet. The orange, meanwhile, better gets out of the bourbon's way.
The Verdict: With 35 years in a challenging location under its belt, Seattle's most malleable bar must be doing something right. And that something might have a lot to do with owner Mick McHugh's quarry-deep ties to Seattle's athletic, political and Catholic communities.