Bartender Andrew FlewellingThe Watering Hole:
Manhattan Drugs, 1419 12th Ave., 325-6574. CAPITOL HILLThe Atmosphere: I arrived on the Friday following the big snowstorm of 2012 to a packed house. It was a very dark house, but packed nonetheless. I couldn’t see much, but thanks to the glow coming from the back-lit bar, I could see every wooden table-top, booth and bar stool was taken. I could make out a bunch of happy souls surrounded by an ambiance sewn from much of the same fabric as the other restaurants in Laura Olson’s empire, specifically Grim’s. The same salvaged, dark wood, odd wall art (like the ram with M-16s at the end of his golden horns), concrete floors, textured wallpaper and other it’s-so-reclaimed-it’s-modern decor, as if everything was rubbed with an antique varnish. And if you feel something rub up against your leg while sitting at the bar, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the cowhide paneling saying ‘hello’. He shoots, he gores!The Barkeep: Andrew Flewelling. He’s only been bartending for two years because he’s only 23. Management found him several years ago at Purr. Since then, he’s worked shifts–and still does–at several of the Pterodactyl Group hangouts like Grim’s and Detention. Flewelling is from the Seattle area. Born and raised. He is the calmest, most cool-headed bartender I’ve ever encounter. He is an old soul inside a body that looks like it isn’t even old enough to buy lottery tickets. “I don’t like everyone else to get stressed out,” says Flewelling, “and I feel like if I don’t get stressed out it helps everyone else. So, if I remain a calm exterior, even if inside I’m not being calm, it helps. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what I think!” As for the clientele the new space on Capitol Hill attracts, Flewelling says, “It’s a very eclectic clientele. We have a lot of people who come in and want a good steak or they come in and they’re ready to have a good meal. We actually have some people who are expecting this to be a really big cocktail bar because Canon and Tavern Law are really close.” All three bars are within walking distance on 12th. The cocktail menu that Flewelling designed is a little less prohibition.”I do mostly classics. I’m not going to compete with Tavern Law or Canon because I don’t have a shot! So, I like to focus on the classics and putting a spin on them. I try to give people something that’s exciting.”Cowhide in the front, party in the back. What is it about cocktails that gets him excited?”I like that I get to do something different every day. I never do the same thing two days in a row, I never see the same people two days in a row. I mean, I barely see my bosses two days in a row. I’m a very social body.”Flewelling says designing Manhattan Drugs’ cocktail menu was very last-minute. “It was actually super last-minute. I didn’t know I’d be designing it. So, it was kind of one of those things…”He interrupts me to have me taste a cocktail he just made. It’s spicy, made with green chilies. It’s wonderful. He made it for a regular customer who loves spicy stuff. Now she’s addicted. “I call it the Tiger Lilly.” But Flewelling is less fluffy about his drinks when he goes out. “I haven’t been out in a long time, actually. I don’t drink very much. It’s kind of weird that I’m 23 and I don’t drink very much, but I have consistently worked behind a bar for the last two years, so I don’t go out and drink–I go home and go to bed. But if I do drink, I’ll usually stick to something really simple, like a citron press made with Kettle One citron with a mix of Sprite and soda. It’s super easy and it’s not a pain in the butt for the bartender, and I think they’re good.”Now, on to my drink. The Drink: I tell the young lad I like St. Germain and gin. He makes me a drink with St. Germain and…vodka. “How do you feel about ginger?” I told him I loved it. He makes me a Ginger Blossom: Citrus vodka, St. Germain, Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur), lemon juice and simple syrup.The Verdict: I really enjoyed this drink. It wasn’t very spirit-forward and it was kind of fruity (translation: I could get really drunk on these quick. Just stick a straw in the rock glass and I’ll see you on the floor in an hour). It wasn’t super exciting, but for a drink that was half liqueur-based, it was delightfully boozy. Turns out, it was also a sneak preview as it’s not on the menu yet. “Nope. Not yet. I’m working on revising the cocktail menu right now. It needs to be bigger. I think people are getting tired of it already!”Come see Dr. Flewelling at Manhattan Drugs. He may not look old enough to be doling out liquid pain relievers, but he’s got the remedy for what ails you (as long as it’s not your liver that ails you). Follow Voracious on Facebook and Twitter. Follow me at @tastebud1.