April 12, 2016
I recently received the book Miss Darkness: The Great Short Crime Fiction of Fredric Brown. I hadn’t had any experience with Mr. Brown before, which is a shame as he’s pretty darn good – smart, funny, able to write both super short stories and longer pieces, obsessed a bit with chess and Shakespeare and a few other choices things, like drinks. He also made a name for himself as a sci-fi writer (maybe even moreso) and I believe had a few movies made from his work. This collection is a monster of sorts, just in that it’s 726 pages, so hard to read on the bus (but not impossible!). A worthy monster to attack though, as it’s jam-packed with crime-noir-y goodness. And if you like circus sideshows, well, don’t miss it. I’m going to run a couple Cocktail Talk quotes from it, because Mr. Brown also enjoyed the tipples, as I’ve said. This one’s from the story “Good Night, Good Knight,” and has cocktail and bartending and acting and blackmail fun.
He got the haircut, which he needed, and the shave, which he didn’t really need — he’d shaved this morning. He bought a new white shirt and had his shoes shined and his suit pressed. He had his soul lifted with three Manhattans in a respectable bar — three, sipped slowly, and no more. And he ate — the three cherries from the Manhattans.
The back-bar mirror wasn’t smeary. It was blue glass, though, and it made him look sinister. He smiled a sinister smile at his reflection. He thought, Blackmailer. The role; play it to the hilt, throw yourself into it. And someday you’ll play Macbeth.
Should he try it on the bartender? No. He’d tried it on bartenders before.
The blue reflection in the back-bar mirror smiled at him.
–Fredric Brown, Miss Darkness
December 1, 2015
I was lucky enough recently to work on a big bar-and-cocktail-and-distillery issue of the mighty Seattle magazine, and in said issue (which if you missed, you’ll have to deal with the regret for the rest of your life. Sorry), we had some swell interviews with some of the top local shakers . . . wait, strike that. Top shakers anywhere! However, due to magazine restrictions, and such, the interviews had to be edited down somewhat, as interviews are. But they’re now available for reading in fuller fashion online! You are very lucky. So, don’t miss my recent interviews with these cocktail geniuses, including:
*See all Seattle magazine pieces by me
May 12, 2015
Hello bar lovers! It’s that time again, when I round up my recent Seattle magazine Bar Hop columns, and array them in easily clickable format, making it easy for you to find out where you want to go this weekend! I take the first drinks, so you don’t have to.
• Oliver’s Twist (Magnolia version)
• The Barrel Thief
• Brunswick & Hunt
• Prime 809
*See all Seattle magazine pieces by me
February 3, 2015
Not too long ago I had my first George Simenon Cocktail Talk post, and in that very post mentioned that I thought I’d probably have more – and I was right! I’ve read a few more Inspector Maigret books since then, most recently A Man’s Head. And it was a good yarn indeed, fast-paced, intriguing, nicely mysterious, and really tightly plotted. Everything you’d want (if what you want is a worthy book, that is). Also, a fair amount of the action takes place in bars, which I’m all for, as you might guess. The main bar is the American bar in the Cupole, where Maigret makes a sorta rare foray into cocktails.
He heard someone call out.‘A Manhattan.’
And he said: ‘The same for me.’
He was not himself of the cocktail generation. Beer was more in his line. The barman pushed a dish of olives toward him, but he did not touch them.
—A Man’s Head, George Simenon
October 14, 2014
Hey bar lovers, genial drinkers, lounge lizards, speakeasy devotees, dive dwellers, and rathskeller revelers. It’s time to trot yourselves again through my recent Seattle Magazine Bar Hop columns, which highlight select bars in the Seattle area. Get off the couch, yo, and visit:
• Elysian Bar
• Le Zinc
* See all Seattle Magazine articles by me