Questions. We get questions. This week, we answer queries about frozen cocktails and throwing a party at a bar. Questions were edited for brevity or clarification. Send me yours at email@example.com (For readers emailing me to complain about a bar or service, let’s go easy on the exclamation marks and “Caps Lock” key, eh?)
Q: During these 90-degree days, I’ve come to love those slushies at Tanaka San.
Friends, though, told me not to order that at a craft cocktail bar ’cause it’s frowned upon. I don’t care. Where else can I get a slushy?
A: The era of snobby craft cocktail bars is long gone. And the era of those watery or syrupy frozen drinks are over, too. If anything, slushies are in now. And better.
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Artusi, 1535 14th Ave., makes the best frozen drink in Seattle. Currently, this Capitol Hill bar features a frozen cocktail (Campari, rum, lime and mint) that’s a play on the mojito and trendy Tiki drink “Jungle Bird.”
Frozen drinks are so popular at Shorty’s, 2222 Second Ave., that this Belltown dive added a second slushy machine this year. You’ll get more than a brain freeze if you chug this down. All that sugar and ice mask how strong these Shorty’s frosty drinks are.
Other bars that serve slushies that I like: Ba Bar, 550 12th Ave., Seattle, features drinks with exotic Asian fruit flavors; Nacho Borracho, 209 Broadway E., Seattle, riffs on many popular cocktails including an avocado margarita and pink guava Moscow Mule; and nearby the Bait Shop, 606 Broadway E., makes an excellent frozen Tiki cocktail called the Painkiller.
Brave Horse Tavern, 310 Terry Ave. N., Seattle, is playing with its new slushy machine and has done some fun experiments, including a frozen Jack and Coke. And opening soon, Good Citizen on Capitol Hill will feature frozen drinks.
Here’s validation that slushies are here to stay. At the Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans last week, the world’s biggest cocktail festival, the consensus among bartenders and drink geeks was that the best, most cutting-edge cocktail bar in the world is Artesian in London, which does some sophisticated slushies. In a business filled with copycats, expect more bars to follow its lead.
Q: Where can I rent a bar or a backroom on Capitol Hill for a birthday party on the cheap?
A: The dirty little secret is that Capitol Hill is so saturated with bars that many owners will rent out part or the entire bar if you pick a slow night, like say, Sunday or Monday. Just call and negotiate a deal. The bigger your party, the more leverage you have. And make sure you get your own server if you are renting part of the bar, so your party doesn’t have to order at the bar.
My favorite is the hidden backroom at Liberty, 617 15th Ave. E., which unfortunately is no longer a “well-kept secret.” You can reserve the backroom for free on Sunday through Thursday. No drink minimum. On Friday and Saturday, the room is yours for around $50-$100. The room has couches and comfortably fits 30.
The upstairs bar at the historic Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., can be yours for free Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday nights, there’s a $250 drink and food minimum for that room. It can seat 35 and hold up to 50.
For 40 or more people, try McMenamins Six Arms, 300 E. Pike St., which allows you to reserve the upstairs bar for free. No drink minimum. Ask for the manager on duty to reserve the space.