October 10, 2017
At least, “Three Seattle Bars for Comfort Drinking” was what the fine folks at Seattle magazine asked me to write about for a recent issue. I wasn’t sure, exactly, which way to take it – then decided to just write about three bars I thought were always ready with good service, good drinks, good food, and individual personalities that set them apart to me, in a way that’s fun. What’d I pick? I’m not telling – you have a read the article! But one hint: the bars are No Anchor, Witness, and No Bones Beach Club. But no hints – go read up on great Seattle bars.
July 11, 2017
Hey, it’s time for another Cocktail Talk featuring George Simenon’s legendary French detective Maigret, the stoic, large, over-coated, café-visiting crime solver. If you haven’t yet, check out past Maigret Cocktail Talks. This particular one, though, is from the very first of his books, which I was super excited to find in a little bookstore in Edmunds, WA. Sometimes the world lines up in great ways. And sometimes you have to drink an absinthe substitute with guttersnips in a dive bar.
Overall the man fitted a type that Maigret knew well: the migrant low-lifer of Eastern European origin who slept in squalid lodging houses and sometimes in railway stations. A type not often seen outside Paris, but accustomed to travelling in third-class carriages when not riding the footboards or hopping freight trains.
He got proof of his insight a few minutes later. Fécamp doesn’t have any genuine low dives, but behind the harbour there are two or three squalid bars favoured by dockhands and seamen. Ten metres before these places there’s a regular café kept clean and bright. The man in the trench coat walked right past it and straight into the least prepossessing of the bars where he put his elbow on the counter in a way that Maigret saw right through.
It was the straightforwardly vulgar body-language of a guttersnipe. Even if he’d tried, Maigret couldn’t have imitated it. The inspector followed the man into the bar. He’d ordered an absinthe substitute and was just standing there, wordless, with a blank stare on his face. He didn’t register Maigret’s presence, though the inspector was now right next to him.
–George Simenon, Pietr the Latvian
July 5, 2017
Hello! It’s that’s day again, the day when all you can think about is how you might have missed a few of my recent pieces for Seattle magazine, and that you’d like nothing better than catching up. Well, here you go:
• 4 Cocktails Perfect for Seattle Summer
• Saint John’s is a Summer Happy Hour Gem
• Union Saloon Brings Small-Town Vibe, Better Food to Wallingford
• What and Where You Need to be Drinking Right Now
June 13, 2017
I recently (and by this, I mean months ago, as magazine time is very different from regular time) rolled into the less-than-a-year-old Seattle bar Cursed Oak, sidled up to the bar, chatter with amiable bartender and owner Mike Carroll, and sipped on the Mule variation and refresher Chile Dreams. Then I wrote about Chile Dreams for Seattle magazine, a piece you should read right now. You deserve it.
May 30, 2017
Hello end-of-May-ers (hopefully different from end-of-day-ers). As you end your month, you may be thinking – hmm, I think I might have missed some of A.J.’s recent posts on Seattle magazine? And just in case you’re right in your thinking, well, I’ve rounded up a few choice tidbits that fall into the category you were thinking about below. At least I think.
• Three Impressions of the Nook
• Celebrate Spring with New Releases From Local Distilleries
• Three Impressions of Little Tin
• Wake up Right with Better Brunch Drinks
• Local and Inventive Shot-and-a-Beer Pairings
May 23, 2017
Welcome to the final entry strolling through Paris drinks had in this particular Maigret story (be sure to read Part I and Part II so as not to miss anything, and for that matter, don’t miss all the Maigret Cocktail Talks, and if you want to know even more about his drinking, check out this study of Maigret drinks). This takes place near the end of the case, and finally Maigret himself is getting a drink (well, he may have had a few more – I couldn’t write out the whole book here!), with one of his police compadres.
“Did you find her?” asked the waiter.
“Nice, isn’t she? What will you have?”
“A hot grog for me.”
“The same for me.”
“Two grogs, two!”
“This afternoon, when you’ve had some sleep, you’ll be writing your report.”
— George Simenon, Maigret and the Lazy Burglar
May 16, 2017
If you missed our first bout of May Maigret Cocktail Talking, and want to learn more about the burglaring, then by all means, please go read Part I. I’ll wait.
Back? Awesome! Let’s get into our second quote, which is taking place in a small bistro, with Maigret questioning the publican (or, here, I suppose, bisto-lican), who relates a story of said lazy burglar and his desire for . . . well, just read it, why dontcha.
“I was busy with the coffee percolator. I didn’t hear any footsteps. And when I turned round, there he was, leaning on the bar. It gave me quite a turn.”
“That’s why you remembered it?”
“And for another reason, because he asked me if I had any real Kirsch, not the fancy stuff. . . We don’t get too many orders for that. I took a bottle from the back row – that one there, with the German words on the label – and he seemed pleased. He said:
“‘That’s the real thing.’”
“He took the time to warm the glass in his hand, and drank slowly, looking at the clock. I realized he was wondering whether to ask for another, and when I held out the bottle he didn’t say no.”
— George Simenon, Maigret and the Lazy Burglar
April 4, 2017
Did you miss any of my Seattle magazine boozy beauties (I say with humility of course) last month, said month being marching March naturally? If so, I understand – it’s a hectic month. But I’m here for you, hearing your need, and so have rounded up said beauties from Seattle magazine for you below.
• Drinks News: Rob Roy, 190 Sunset and Spirits in the South Sound
• Three Impressions of Bruciato
• Musical Beers, Basil Mint Cider, The Dark Door Bourbon and More Spirited News
• Three Impressions of Bar Charlie