The Digs: The Virginia Inn has been around for more than 100 years, having recently undergone a handsome expansion that did nothing to endanger the room's penny-tiled charm. With old soul on the stereo, the ambiance--at the bar, anyway--is unflinchingly warm, creating the perfect setting to while away a rainy afternoon over better-than-expected food and local libations.
The Verdict:: The dollar-off draft of the day was the perfectly balanced Brougham Bitter, produced by White Center stalwart Big Al Brewing, and the $4.50 pork belly was, well, pork belly (great--maybe too great if you must live to eat another cauliflower). But although the Douglas Fir Sidecar ($10) isn't technically on the happy hour menu, it might be the drink of the season. Saying something tastes like Christmas is typically cliche. Here, with its sorbet float, it's a precise assessment.
On New Year's Eve, the Virginia Inn hosts an evening of dinner and dancing. Ladies should wear hoop skirts and gentlemen should don top hats and monocles. Those aren't house rules, but they should be. That's how effortlessly classy the Virginia Inn is, an understated Seattle icon if there ever was one.