Targy's is on a residential street on upper Queen Anne, so far from the lounges and condominiums of the main drag, it's like a different part of the country. The one-armed barkeep says that Targy's was one of the first bars to open in Seattle after the long national nightmare of Prohibition; Targy was the nickname of the first owner, whose surname started that way then spiraled off into a lot more syllables, possibly Greek. What's new at Targy's: not much, though the addition of hard liquor is relatively recent. A woman wearing a sweatshirt that reads "I the U.S.A." celebrates her freedom with a white Russian.
At around 75, Targy's looks good, like a civic treasure should. It's stuck in time at a very nice moment, when the place on the corner was the neighborhood's spacious, clean, and well-lit rec room. The ceiling's freshly painted a subtle deep purple. From one side of the long, horseshoe-shaped bar, the shelves under the other side are visible, carefully lined with leopard-print shelf paper: bags of chips in rows by flavor, short stacks of striped bar towels, the house checkerboard. It's all reassuringly tidy, like dad's closet.
Everybody talks with everybody else all around the bar, except for one fellow intently watching the women's college softball world series on TV. His mouth is understandably ajar; the players are dead serious, badass, and ponytailed (one also wears a spangled red, white, and blue headband). Every so often, half the population vacates to the sidewalk to smoke, not bothering with setting coasters on top of their drinks. The Talking Heads plays, then the Allman Brothers.
Available amusements include pool and darts, which nobody's playing, and a bar-top console called the Vortex, which digests 50 cents and goes black. "That's not fun," says the bartender (the nicest man in America), reviving it, putting a piece of duct tape over the coin slot, and feeding it a dollar bill. A sign indicates that the high scorer on Gone Fishin' will win a 7.2-volt drill, valued at $26. (Someone named Bryan won the last prize—baseball tickets—and from the looks of the high-score list is after the drill as well.) In Gone Fishin', you are a white bear who nonsensically tries to hit fish jumping out of a hole in the ice with a bat. It involves pushing one button at the right moment and is intensely boring.
From the women's room: "I WILL MARRY YOU, KEVIN! / i am so sexy! / Targy's 4 e-va / cake s
you/ BEEF PORK RULZ / This bathroom graffiti is very positive. Props. / TX! Luv ya!"
As the night goes on, more people come in, increasing (improbably) the conviviality, and no one ever seems to leave.
Targy's, 600 W Crockett St, 285-9700.