The new Cocktail Club at the Feedback Lounge tempts patrons out of their candy-cocktail comfort zone.

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Happy hour | When bar-hoppers say Seattle is a hotbed for craft cocktails, they mean mostly Capitol Hill, Ballard and Belltown. West Seattle? Eh, not so much.

That’s why Matt Johnson started The Cocktail Club at the Feedback Lounge in West Seattle. The Cocktail Club (6 p.m. until closing) is a time when Johnson extols the virtues of craft cocktails to anyone who sits at the bar, ready to try his concoctions. He cajoles patrons to step out of the candy-cocktail comfort zone of Cosmos and Lemon Drops. He picks an exotic ingredient such as pink peppercorns or persimmon to mix with different white (gin and vodka) and brown (bourbon, rye) spirits to showcase their versatility.

Craft cocktails can be a culinary experience, said Johnson, co-owner and lead bartender of this 2-year-old retro, Euro-rock bar.

The Feedback Lounge is the most ambitious cocktail bar in West Seattle, the shelves souped up with rows of walnut-infused bourbon, exotic bitters and other original concoctions.

Cocktails cost around $7, a bargain. (Craft cocktails cost north of $10 on Capitol Hill.)

A good intro for the candy-cocktail crowd: The gin drink “St. Basil” with hints of elderflower, lemon and basil, a herbaceous and citrusy drink that goes down easy. There’s also a take on the Cosmo, made with vanilla-infused rum and orange zest, which gives this club standby some depth.

Another gin beauty, Violet Femme, features violet flower liqueur, vanilla bitters and egg white. It’s a floral and foamy drink, though lacking the smoky Scotch the menu had promised.

It’s more laid-back here than in your average cocktail den on Capitol Hill, with Ms. Pacman, pinball machines and a gallery of Tiger Beat covers that’s a conversation piece all on its own. Posters of The Clash, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones line the walls.

The happy-hour snacks aren’t as inventive as the cocktails — flatbread pizza, Tex-Mex and the ubiquitous hummus plate for vegetarians. But they are decent enough to fortify a couple rounds of cocktails.

The Feedback Lounge, 6451 California Ave S.W., offers happy hour daily 4-6 p.m. and again 10 p.m.-1 a.m. with $5-$7 bar food. Cocktails are $6.50-$8 (206-453-3259 or

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.