The Watering Hole: Duck Island Ale House, 7317 Aurora Ave. N., 783-3360, GREENLAKE. At Duck Island, a cozy bar located next door to the legendary Beth’s Cafe, a healthy craft-beer selection is the main attraction. Tap handles hang from the ceilings behind the bar so low that no one over six feet tall could comfortably tend bar here without stooping, and the beer menu is about 60 pages longer than the food menu. Meanwhile, Duck Island’s fairly small selection of liquor bottles is tucked away in a corner.
For such a humble space, the Watering Hole has a lot to offer—namely pinball, an ancient pool table, and a broken jukebox that doesn’t cost anything to play, but within which employees have deliberately replaced the shitty stuff with better albums (and they may veto your choices if they don’t approve of your taste). It’s not fancy, but it is a perfect place for an after-work pint.
The Barkeep: Becky Rogers, who’s been the bar manager at Duck Island for well over two years. Before landing that gig, she worked at the Tap House in Bellevue, which makes you wonder if maybe she’ll eschew the drink-making altogether and simply pour her favorite beer. It’s rare to see patrons of this joint imbibe anything else.
The Drink: Pink Starburst. It’s made with Stoli vanilla, Stoli raspberry, sour mix, cranberry juice, and Triple Sec. For a woman who says she’s been a beer drinker for a long time—particularly one who prefers IPAs—it’s surprising to be served such a sweet drink. But she insists the Pink Starburst truly is her favorite.
The Verdict: No false advertising here—this thing has the particular hue and flavor of a pink Starburst, but with a helluva kick. In the wrong hands, this could be saccharine and disgusting. Good thing Rogers makes her drinks stiff enough to compensate for the extra sugar.