The Watering Hole:Sam's Tavern, 1024 E Pike St, 206-860-4238, CAPITOL HILL
The Atmosphere: Sam's Tavern is a quintessential Capitol Hill bar, with a Red Robin spin. Sam's Tavern was the original name of the now national Red Robin food chain, and owner James Snyder's vision is a tribute to how his father (who would later become the company's franchisee) first remembered the Eastlake flagship. Taxidermy, a deer antler chandelier and dark, wood-stained tables are just a few of the rugged features that play into the restaurant's physique. The music was too loud to clearly hear a bartender from across the bar, but a good volume for sitting in one of the booths positioned next to the large floor-to-ceiling windows which line the south wall.
The Barkeep: The mononymous Nave has enjoyed working at Sam's since its grand opening on January 2. Before Sam's, Nave worked in apartment management, private catering, and at a Teatro Zinzanni in California. After applying several places, she was pleased with the response she received from Snyder and has enjoyed working in an easygoing atmosphere. Her spunky personality showed as she posed for a photo. Most importantly, she'll whip you up a mean cocktail.
The Drink: Unfortunately, Sam's had just ran out of Ruby Red, which is the main ingredient in Nave's signature drink: Navelicious (Ruby Red, Cointreau, cranberry juice, grenadine, Rose's lime juice and muddled limes). She made a Purple Passion instead, which uses all the same ingredients except raspberry vodka is substituted for the Ruby Red and Chambord is added. Nave explained that the drink is "served in a martini glass with a lime wedge and a smile." The mixture made for a sweet drink that stayed refreshing until the last drop, unlike many overly sweet drinks that become tart halfway through.
The Verdict: Sam's Tavern is a carnivore's dream. With a unique burger menu, it is an ideal place to grab a beer and get your grub on without breaking your bank.