The Watering Hole: Cooper’s Ale House, 8065 Lake City Way N.E., 522-2923, MAPLE LEAF
The Atmosphere: The purple-topped pool table and large televisions suggest that, on Husky game days, Cooper’s draws quite a crowd. On a random Tuesday evening, however, it’s a quiet neighborhood watering hole. But you don’t need to be a neighborhood native to feel welcome. A woman ahead of me at the bar offers to let me order a drink first. I gratefully assure her I’m still deciding.
Beer is clearly the drink of choice at Cooper’s. A line of 22 taps sits in front of the liquor, and a menu boasts still more unusual bottles. A hoppy IPA fan and a sweet-barley-wine drinker will both find something to wet their whistles with when bellied up to Cooper’s bar.
The Barkeep: Nick doesn’t say much as he pulls pints. Asked for his last name, he politely replies, “I’m not real big on that.” He clearly knows the beer list in and out, though. Upon hearing the First Call challenge, he says, “I wish the girl was here. She’s really good at this kind of stuff.”
The Drink: Despite his reservations about doing anything in the spotlight, Nick gamely reaches for orange juice and whipped cream. He shakes them up with a splash of soda and a long vodka pour.
“It’s sort of like an Orange Julius,” he explains. “It reminds me of going to the mall in high school.”
The Verdict: I order a plate of Tom Shanks—think pork wings—to nosh while sipping Nick’s concoction. I’m almost immediately transported back to when I could drink things with heavy cream and eat pork dipped in sauces without my waistline expanding. And high school would have been a lot better if I’d spent it sipping Nick’s version of the Orange Julius.