More laid-back than James Cagney.

First Call: Tommy Gun Control

A Capitol Hill newcomer isn't as dangerous as its name suggests.

The Watering Hole: Tommy Gun, 1703 E. Olive Way, 323-GUNN, CAPITOL HILL.

The Atmosphere: With a name like Tommy Gun, you might expect a James Cagney–themed bar, full of tailored suits and fedoras. But you’ll find nothing of the sort at this new Capitol Hill hot spot. While the lighting is dim and there are plenty of quiet corners to tuck your confidential conversations away in, you’ll be more likely to find the tables free and the bar stools full here. Shortly before opening in March, owner Erin Nestor told the Capitol Hill Seattle blog that the relevance of the Tommy Gun reference was wrapped up more in “recreating the camaraderie so prevalent in bars during that era” than in creating a theme for the bar itself.

The Barkeep: Julia is easily one of the most laid-back bartenders I’ve ever encountered at a trendy Capitol Hill bar. You can stroll right up and ask your uneducated questions about what she’s serving, and she won’t give you any sass. Rather, Julia is into educating the masses about their intoxicants, and actually enjoys the challenge of making a drink that suits a person’s preference. She’s good at it too, readjusting her square, heavy-framed glasses and listening intently for clues as to what a customer actually wants.

The Drink: Dubbed the Goodbye Pony, Julia’s favorite drink to make was named on the spot, using the inspiration of her current favorite tattoo (a pony, on her hand). The beverage apparently used to have another name, given by someone else. She rolled her eyes when I asked for its title, saying “I don’t want it to appear in writing; I spent so long trying to get people to stop calling it that!” So Goodbye Pony it is: a potent variation on vodka lemonade, centered around blueberry vodka and freshly muddled lemon, which is then strained. “I don’t like pulpy stuff in my drinks,” Julia says.

The Verdict: Two friends and I ordered several of these beverages. The three of us have varied opinions on how we like our vodka lemonades, and we were impressed when Julia successfully met each of our preferences by subtly varying the ingredient proportions of this one drink. The one thing that wasn’t varied was the generous vodka pour. Goodbye Pony turns out to be an awfully apt name, as things might start disappearing from your field of vision after a couple of rounds.

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