Speak-easy. Craft cocktails. In this trendy cocktail scene, bartenders have branded their watering holes with all sorts of buzz words to make a splash or a buck.
Often, their branding had little correlation to what you actually got. Case in point, The Tin Lizzie Lounge inside the MarQueen hotel on Lower Queen Anne last year. It’s easy to find though it was called a speak-easy. It was awful at the thing it boasts most about: cocktails. Bartenders couldn’t make a decent Sidecar or even a proper martini.
Well, it took a year, but the recent reboot of The Tin Lizzie Lounge is what this hotel bar should have been like the first dance around.
Cocktails are improved, the drink list more focused, with Prohibition-era cocktails and contemporary takes with mescal, Chartuese and other of-the-moment ingredients favored by the young and hip.
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There are $8-$9 cocktails to draw bar hoppers, but also $15 Manhattans to cater to the expense-account guests who stay in the hotel.
I had a creamy whisky-and-port cocktail, The Rita Hayworth (with fresh lemon, simple syrup and egg white) and a refreshing mescal drink with fresh squeezed grapefruit and lime juice, both excellent.
Tin Lizzie still doesn’t have much of a kitchen, and food offerings are fairly minimal. It’s still mostly panini sandwiches, though an expanded happy-hour menu includes some smoked-salmon crostini ($6), one of its best options if you need a nibble in between drinks.
Justin DeLong, the new manager, has been a busy boy. I eavesdropped on him five weeks ago at a cocktail event as he schmoozed with cocktail geeks and bartenders, asking them to give Tin Lizzie another try.
I spotted him again a few weeks later, cozying up to the bar with the Dean of Cocktails, Murray Stenson, to get feedback on a new drink menu he was putting together.
Anyone who works that hard deserves a second chance. That’s why I returned recently, and Tin Lizzie didn’t disappoint.
The Tin Lizzie Lounge, 600 Queen Anne Ave. N., (inside the MarQueen Hotel) offers happy hour daily, all night on Monday and 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday with $1 off well drinks and beer, $2 off on all wines and a food menu from $5-$9 (206-282-7407 or marqueen.com)
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle