First Call: Kirby Enthusiasm at Marjorie

Enduring Ferrari oglings at Capitol Hill's crossroads.

The Watering Hole: Marjorie, 1412 E. Union St., 441-9842, CAPITOL HILL.

The Atmosphere: Tucked into a courtyard on the ground floor of a newish condo development, Marjorie is an unexpected jewel in a neighborhood of extremes. Some call this area “the Crossroads,” where the Undre Arms Apartments spawn underground art and Seattle’s financially endowed trawl for new Ferraris. Open in its new location (it used to be in Belltown) just over six months, Marjorie has become a beacon for locals—a small space, both bright and intimate.

The Barkeep: Bartender Ben Sherwood tends lovingly to a full house of people looking for both food and drink. Marjorie’s size and situation—about 40 seats, 10 of which are at the bar—mean that sitting at the bar is just as lovely/likely as sitting at one of its tables. Faced with the prospect of First Calling a somewhat clueless yet very thirsty writer and her stepmother—who is preoccupied by the purchasing tendencies of a birthday-celebrating husband, one hour late, last seen perusing the wares at that Ferrari dealership—Ben instantly puts us both at ease. Not concerned with showing off skills, Ben only wants to make the ladies happy, responding to the demand “Make me something amazing, and fast!” with the question “What helps make a drink amazing to you?” Our answer: a cocktail for one, red wine for the other.

The Drink: Ben concocts something tart, a little bitter, and certainly bubbly—a lively variation on the Kirby featured on Marjorie’s cocktail list. Intended as a refresher on warm summer days, its popularity ensures it a spot on on the list, with some seasonal fluctuations, year-round. Created with distiller Kirby Kallas-Lewis, it’s a blend of Plymouth gin, grapefruit, lemon, grapefruit bitters, absinthe, and a touch of prosecco.

The Verdict: A table forfeited due to the Ferrari-ogling of a certain person led this party to remain at Ben’s bar enjoying a lot of wine, a few more Kirbys, and a lovely selection of plates from the kitchen. Ever resourceful, Ben managed a full house of imbibers while gracefully enduring the chaos created by the combination of two simple women and one Ferrari-mad man.