The Watering Hole: Bait Shop, 606 Broadway E., 206-420-8742, CAPITOL HILL
The Atmosphere: Even though it's the new kid on the block, Bait Shop already feels perfectly worn in. The Linda Derschang-owned bar on North Broadway serves water in plastic pizza parlor cups. Stackable bingo parlor chairs circle tables, and mismatched captain's wheels are mounted on the wall. On a lazy January Sunday, staff handed out fresh blueberries that, when chewed, explode like pop rocks--an experiment from Bait Shop's carbonator.
The Barkeep: Carlee McManus worked at sister establishments Oddfellows and Smith for the past few years and helped open Bait Shop last December. She says the bar has the creature comforts of Linda's while featuring high-end cocktails and thoughtfully sourced food similar to Smith. When she's not mixing drinks, McManus works as an actor. She just completed her first voice-over project: Recording a teen novel audiobook.
The Drink: When asked to mix a cocktail of her choosing, McManus heads straight for the Blue Curacao. Adding Bacardi light rum, Cointreau, pineapple and lime juice, and a splash of soda, she makes her take on a Blue Hawaiian. Before garnishing with a pineapple wedge, brandied cherry, and plastic spider monkey, she and another employee insert fresh straws to sample proportions until they're right.
There's not a trace of a seasonality in the Blue Hawaiian, a drink made famous by Elvis. It tastes like an elevated version of what's typically found inside red plastic cups at house parties. But there's something about drinking a refined, kitchy drink out of a pint glass on a rainy winter Sunday that's pretty damn terrific.