Come for the beer, stay for more beer.
Like the best dives, Darrell’s Tavern in Shoreline has the dimness that obscures bad decisions and makes future regrets harder to see.
On this night — Taco Tuesday! — half a dozen of the men spread across the padded horseshoe bar seemed a Jim Beam shot away from a night of regret.
One flirted with the female bartender with a bawdy exchange that would make most women blush. Another, who told the bartender to “throw in a couple of tacos” to fortify his shot and Rainier, was too late in staving off inebriation.
Just off the drag of Aurora Avenue North, Darrell’s is an old-school bar with the motto “Where your dad used to drink.” It’s also where the cool millennials go. They come for the cheap Rainier ($7 for a pitcher during happy hour), free pool and live entertainment (rock, jazz and stand-up acts four nights a week).
It’s the only bar I’ve been to in the past five years where I didn’t see a single soul with an iPhone out. Folks come here to get stupid drunk, schmooze face-to-face or people-watch.
Artsy band posters adorn the carpeted walls, but also vintage beer signs — “Rainier Light” and “Old Milwaukee on tap” — that any hipster bar owner on the Hill would pay dearly for.
The real conversation piece, however, was a painting of an earnest, bare-breasted woman with a Post-it caption that read “Mom.”
The tattooed bartender offered other possibilities. “It’s either the wife of the old owner or [from] a garage sale.”
By 9 p.m., as band members (first of three live acts) tuned their guitars, patrons lined up for pints. (The bar also hawks earplugs for a buck.)
Bartender: “Here’s your taco.”
Patron shaking her head: “I said tallboy.”
Patron shrugs her shoulders: “Eh, I’ll eat it.”
Darrell’s Tavern, 18041 Aurora Ave. N., offers happy hour 4-7 p.m. daily with $2.50 Rainier and PBR, $7 pitcher of Rainier and PBR and $5 pint of microbrews, $4 well drinks and $5.50 wine. Note limited kitchen with pre-made pizzas available daily. Also hot dogs on Monday and Taco Tuesday (206-542-6688 or darrellstavern.com).