The most classic cocktail bar in the neighborhood, Shadowland's basic black interior keeps things simple, while the cocktail list covers huge swaths with its variety. Vegetables come into play in both the Pickletini and the Jalapeño Margarita, there’s a Fruit Loop rim on the Toucan Sam, hot drinks abound (try the Campfire Cocoa), and there’s a whole section of sparkling cocktails. A little something for everybody makes this a valuable neighborhood bar.
Frances Farmer at Shadowland ($10)
Named for one of West Seattle’s most famous former residents, star of stage, screen, and Western State (psychiatric) Hospital. The troubled actress, born in the area, was known for a love of drink and being less than sound-of-mind. The strong Eagle Rare Whiskey lays down the path for the off-the-wall addition of B and B (a liqueur made up of Benedictine and cognac), and a fruity lift from Lillet Blanc. A beautiful drink made up of many crazy flavors—a great homage to its namesake.
Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky
In transitioning from fancy-food Spring Hill to casual fried chicken joint, Ma’ono found a way to draw attention to the excellent collection of whiskies it had amassed, and the bar program rolled over easily to the new concept. Well-known bartender-around-town MiNan Ahn developed the menu, and embraces the wise words of Ma’ono’s website: “Fried chicken is pretty good. But it’s a helluva lot better with whisky.”
A Flower in the Hops at Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky ($9)
The Screwdriver shed its boring skin and matured nicely into this beer-based beverage. The intensely hoppy Lucille IPA from local Georgetown Brewing matches up with the floral cues from the St. Germain. The sweet and tart both come from the fresh-squeezed orange juice, and the depth from the Maker’s Mark. A hefty drink that’s good enough to be a meal in itself, it rides the beer cocktail trend carefully, showing there’s room for spirits, too.
A Midwest themed restaurant owning a vaguely tiki-themed dive bar might seem odd, but with the closure of Shipwreck Tavern, the folks at Heartland knew better than to kill off the fish under the floor and let the pirate-ship-shaped room go waste. They’ve embraced the theme by serving classic tiki drinks along side Minnesota classics like the Hot Dish and a Juicy Lucy.
Pirate Booty Juice at The Benbow Room ($8)
It seems logical to drink Pirate’s Booty Juice in a pirate-ship-shaped room. With four kinds of rum (Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Malibu, and Meyer’s) and three kinds of juice (orange, pineapple, and cranberry), amaretto does the heavy lifting of smoothing out the alcohol, and it does the job well.
Feedback is so comfortable that it’s come to operate as a sort of living room for bar and restaurant industry folks, offering couches along with tables and bar seating, and pinball for when you feel like standing. The décor is black and metal, dark in color, but only in the happiest of ways: red highlights and shelves of home-made concoctions keep it bright.
Corrington Collins at Feedback Lounge ($8)
Named for a local who spent many an hour on a bar stool here, this drink’s pink color is misleading. In no way a girly drink, this mix of gin, house-made “cherry hooch,” mint, lemon, and Reed's ginger beer is a strong cocktail. The spice of the ginger beer foils the slight sweetness from the cherry, with that battle giving the whole drink a wonderfully complex nature.
Entering West 5 is a little like walking into a pinball game. It’s dark, long, and narrow, and at the end is a giant lit-up crown. Sure enough, the myriad of drink options will make you want to bounce back and forth between the many types of cocktails: the menu includes classics, martinis, giant rum drinks, thirst quenchers, warmers, and dessert drinks. The crowd here is similarly varied, with kids climbing on tables, regulars glued to the same stool since the place opened, and a boisterous post-work crowd at the bar.
Chartreuse Martini at West 5 ($7.50)
Like many of the drinks here, this cocktail is big, strong, and simple. Seagrams vodka bites down hard and is only mildly mellowed by herbal Chartreuse, which the menu highlights as the "house elixir." The cool glass—and a little dilution—smooths out some ragged edges and a light touch of a mint leaf brings things together. By the bottom of this double-sized doozy, you might question your ability to drive home, which, I suppose, is what makes West 5 such a great neighborhood bar—hopefully you’re walking.