The Watering Hole: Fiddler's Inn Pub and Restaurant, 9219 35th Ave NE, 525-0752, WEDGWOOD
The Atmosphere: North Seattle's Fiddler's Inn was built back in 1933. Fiddler's was one of first bars in the city to secure a liquor license after Prohibition. It changed ownership and underwent a remodel in 1995 (the proprietors also run the Hopvine on Capitol Hill and the Latona near Greenlake).
There's a campground-cookhouse-meets-ski-lodge feel to the creaky, wooden room. Board games, broken-in crime novels, and a vintage Merriam-Webster dictionary are stacked in one corner. Dried hops hang from the rafters near the bar. It's like mistletoe, only better.
The Barkeep: Working on and off at Fiddler's for the past decade, Les Leslie has a background in the tech industry. Whenever he gets frustrated with the cubicle life, he comes back to 'tending. Leslie prides himself on knowing the name of almost every regular. "I'm an introvert, so bartending is more of a challenge than sitting in front of a screen all day," he says. "Every time I pour a beer someone says 'thank you.' No one says 'thank you' in the tech world."
The Drink: Fiddler's keeps it simple, serving a rotating list of only beer and wine. When I asked Leslie to serve me a drink of his choice, he picked Anacortes IPA. In the Pacific Northwest, "more hops than you can handle" is a common beer battle cry, and this pint fits the bill. One of the Fiddler's hoppiest brews on tap, it's a favorite of Leslie, a self-admitted hops fiend.
The Verdict: With traces of grapefruit, Anacortes IPA is floral, herbal, and, yes, very hoppy. There's a sweet, clean malt that makes the pint thick enough to be comforting in the wintertime while still managing to be refreshing. With dusk hitting a little after 4 p.m. these days, the Fiddler's Inn is the place to order nachos, drink a couple of reasonably priced rounds, and ride out the long nights.