Brandi Moery brings more than great boobs to the bar.The Watering Hole:
Pillagers Pub, 8551 Greenwood Ave. N., 206-706-2779, GREENWOOD.The Atmosphere: The spacious neighborhood, pirate-themed pub called Pillagers is something of a cross between dive bar and favorite local brewery tap room. Some of the boozers bellied up to the bar bring with them the odor of persons who maybe aren’t over concerned with regular bathing and reek of tobacco from their regular trips outside for a smoke. But as the home to Three Skulls Ales and Baron Brewing, local brew aficionados are also on the bar stools, enjoying pints alongside their harder-living brethren.The result is a vibe that mixes gritty and with a hint of snobbery. The combination might seem a little incongruous, but really, it’s the perfect blend for a treasure-seeking pirate.The Barkeep: “Oh criminey,” Brandi Moery says when I ask her to make her favorite drink. Moery’s the kind of bartender who is equally comfortable using old-timey expletives and leaning into the camera cleavage first. Like the bar, she refuses to be defined. She’s got good technique behind the bar, but isn’t the kind of mixologist snob who turns her nose up at a Cosmopolitan order. After a bit of hemming and hawing, alternating between looking at the liquor behind the bar and sizing me up, Moery appears comes to a decision about the drink she’ll make. “Alright, it’s on!”That drink again, in case you got distracted before.The Drink: Moery juices a lime into a tumbler and adds some honey. In goes a dash of salt, a shake of hot sauce, and a tequila pour. My stomach flips just watching.While slowly stirring to get the honey completely dissolved, Moery explains that the shot doesn’t have a name. It’s just something she concocted to get a complete flavor palate into one small glass. “It’s sweet, savory, spicy, and sour,” she says. “To me it’s the most heavenly way to sip tequila.” She pauses.”It makes tequila bearable.”The Verdict: In a town like Seattle, lousy as it is with speakeasies and craft cocktail menus, it’s not uncommon to be impressed with a well-made drink. But rarely am I surprised. This was one of those rare occasions. I have to admit, I didn’t expect much out of my unnamed shot, but it was perfect. The limes, the honey, the salt, the Tabasco, all complimented the tequila perfectly. Perhaps inspired by my “oh my god, that’s great!” exclamation, other patrons started asking for the same. Apparently, this isn’t an unusual occurrence. “Once I start making them, they go like crazy,” Moery says.She suggested trying it with a bit more juice and ice, essentially in Margarita form–still with the salt and hot sauce. Without a hint of cynicism, one of my drinking companions declared it the best Margarita she’d had in Seattle. “We need to learn her [Moery’s] schedule.”All you swaggering Seattle pirates would do well to cast off your rum biases and do the same.