Duff McKagan Digs Slim’s

How a remote south-of-SoDo chili shack became a star attraction.

The Watering Hole: Slim’s Last Chance Chili Shack and Watering Hole, 5606 First Ave. S., 762-7900. GEORGETOWN

The Atmosphere: Celeste and Michael Lucas’ punk-rock roadhouse fit neatly into Georgetown’s cantankerous, outlaw-friendly landscape when it opened four years ago. Thanks to consistent comfort food in the kitchen and the steadily increasing caliber of live-music bookings, it’s now a destination-worthy institution.

The spacious, south-of-SoDo outpost has the energy and aesthetic of an abandoned Deadwood set, re-dressed by old-school rockers brandishing impeccable vintage taste. The rustic wood floors have been softened by the heavy footfalls of steel-toed boots, and the backyard patio feels homey and party-primed, thanks to a scattering of sun-bleached wooden picnic benches and a flatbed truck occasionally utilized as an auxiliary outdoor stage. The brightly colored booths, chicly covered with vinyl-encased images of Elvis, the Virgin Mary, and the ever-present dogs-playing-poker scene (all taken from meticulously preserved velvet paintings) are the unmistakable work of former Seattleite Libby Knudson, whose signature look has popped up in countless Seattle clubs over the years, as well as in the homes of high-profile admirers like Eddie Vedder (she outfitted his daughter’s nursery). The giant log-framed mirror hanging over the pool table was culled from the Sunset’s Ballard basement, and many of the chairs scattered throughout the room are relics from the pre-remodel Hattie’s Hat.

The Barkeep: Aly Hellcat is a breezy, sweet-natured brunette with a flash of scarlet lipstick that matches the flower in her hair. She ditched more corporate-minded establishments in favor of the Lucas’ close-knit crew about a year ago.

“They really have a little family here,” Hellcat remarks with plausible affection while doting on a post-happy-hour crowd that includes bassist Jeff Rouse, Duff McKagan’s bandmate in Loaded.

The Drink: “This is the ‘Mother’s Milk.’ It’s very simple, but I chose it because it has horchata [a Spanish beverage made from ground almonds], something you don’t usually see [in cocktails]. It’s Stoli Vanil vodka, Frangelico, and horchata,” says Hellcat.

“You’d think there was more going on in there, but that’s it. It’s hard to get people to try, but once they do, they’re really into it. It’s not too sweet.”

The Verdict: Beloved by Georgetown locals, but welcoming to outside visitors, Slim’s has evolved into a genuine neighborhood watering hole with the potential to draw sizable crowds.