The Watering Hole: Club Sno, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, 425-888-1234, SNOQUALMIE.
The Atmosphere: Some may argue this lounge within the Snoqualmie Casino has the best view of any casino nightclub outside Monaco. On the Friday evening we bellied up, twilight was just kissing the crown of Mt. Si and half a dozen tipsy 40-something women were warming up the dance floor, thanks to Rick Springfield and “Jessie’s Girl.” These ladies were likely already warmed up by the night’s premiere entertainment (and, admittedly, the reason we found ourselves there): the Seattle Burn Foundation’s 2011 “Sexy Firefighter Calendar” tryouts. Gentlemen, get out your hoses.
Speaking of fire, PEOPLE CAN SMOKE in Snoqualmie Casino! Cigarettes and stogies smoldered in just about every ashtray, providing another strange fold to the alternate universe this casino exists in. And speaking of strange, the people-watching at Club Sno is, in a word, superb. The vibe is a little bit Vegas mixed with a heavy shot of Six Flags Over Texas, a splash of Cocoon, and a Jersey Shore garnish.
Based on these initial observations, it only made sense to wager $5 among us that Red Bull would figure prominently in this First Call round.
The Barkeep: Ian Jurgensen, the busiest barkeep in bardom. Ian has been at Club Sno since it first opened in 2008. He also bartends at the Matador in Redmond, and mornings find him working as a personal trainer, focusing on extreme sports conditioning for Bellevue’s brawniest.
Ian was the bartender at Seattle’s historic J&M Cafe from 2003–2007, where he was voted Seattle’s favorite bartender in a 2007 NWSource poll. He’s still got a lot of industry friends in Seattle, and when he’s in the city, he likes to visit them at Venom, Tiki Bob’s, the Last Supper Club, Amber, Tini Bigs, and the (Ballard) Matador. But Ian’s favorite place for a drink in the Snoqualmie area is the Pour House in North Bend, and his suggestion for a hangover cure is to eat a lot of sugar.
The Drink(s): The most-ordered drinks at Club Sno are Long Island Iced Teas, Lemon Drops, and Hennessy cognac. Obviously sensing a greater level of sophistication—or desperation, perhaps—in yours truly, Ian proffered two concoctions: Skittles, a tall glass of Skyy grape, Skyy pineapple, Skyy passion fruit, Skyy citrus, and sour cranberry with 7-Up; and a Root Beer Float, made of Three Olives root-beer vodka, Pinnacle whipped-cream vodka, 7-Up, and a cherry.
Ian says he chose these because clubbers tend to like fruity drinks; therefore, 99% of Club Sno-goers would appreciate them. If Ian weren’t such a nice guy, I’d call bullshit on that one—these drinks are made for nothing other than for girls to get drunk on.
The Verdict: Ian’s favorite type of bartender is the kind who can read his customers while still being friendly, yet also maintain a sense of creativity and a knowledge of alcohol. On all these points, Ian hits the jackpot. As for me, not being much the casino-clubbing type, I’m taking my $5 win (from the Red Bull wager) and heading to the Pour House.