First Call: Edmonds’ Bay of Pigs

A creepy mural doesn't spoil an old sawmill bar.

The Watering Hole: The Winged Pig, 203 Fifth Ave. S., 425-712-0300, EDMONDS.

The Atmosphere: Edmonds was a sawmill town 100 years ago. Today it’s a charming waterfront suburb with tidy beaches, an independent movie theater, a tiny bookstore, and an inordinate number of nail salons and beauty parlors. A carryover from the sawmill days is Old Milltown, a former sawmill that was converted to a quasi-mall a generation ago.

At The Winged Pig, mismatched tables and chairs are scattered throughout the two main rooms, while well-worn Oriental rugs cover the uneven concrete floor. Porcine art decorates every surface. There’s a wall of pig masks, and papier-mâché pigs in cages hang from the ceiling. There is also a mural of a pig in bondage gear. OK, maybe it’s supposed to be a piggy pilot. I guess that would make more sense.

Additionally, there are buckets hanging from the ceiling above the bar. When I asked what they were for, the staff said “It’s an old building and we have some leaks.” Sure enough, a new leak sprung directly above me about 10 minutes later, sending droplets of water splashing onto the tiled bar just a few inches from my drink.

The Barkeep: Despite a new leak to contend with, bartender Kristina Berube was cool as a shaken margarita. That’s what she suggested I order when asked for a recommendation. Kristina teaches elementary-school physical education in Woodinville during the day, but has tended other bars around Edmonds for the past few years in the evenings.

The Drink: Kristina and bartender Jeff Rose have curated a drink list that includes classic cocktails such as the Negroni and French 75, as well as new creations like the Passion Fruit Martini—a mix of vodka, Lillet, passion fruit, and champagne. Kristina suggested the margarita, since they make them fresh. It’s her drink of choice, and she must have sensed my need to be transported to a warm, tropical beach bar that had neither a leaky ceiling nor a creepy pig mural.

The Verdict: Served on the rocks in a highball glass, the margarita at The Winged Pig was a refreshing, tangy drink with just a touch of sweetness (thanks, Cointreau). Kristina floated the margarita with a touch of Grand Marnier as well. When I couldn’t decide if I wanted salt or not, she dusted half the rim with coarse salt. The selection of well spirits is fairly bottom-shelf at The Winged Pig—El Jimador tequila, Jim Beam bourbon—so if you’re a top-shelf drinker, it’s probably worth calling your spirit. But with cocktails in the $7–$9 range, you’re still getting good value, leaky ceiling and all.