Food & Drink

Bar Exam

Damn Happy

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If you must have an automotive breakdown on a hot, late Saturday afternoon, I strongly suggest you do so in the vicinity of the Eastlake Bar & Grill. "VOTED BEST DECK IN THE CITY!" proclaims their sign. Once you're ensconced on the Best Deck, gazing out upon sparkly Lake Union with a happy-hour beverage at hand, you might begin to feel like fate has its mysterious ways. If you get an old-school wedge-of-iceberg salad (slightly sweet vinaigrette, lots of blue cheese) and the opportunity to watch an incompetent squirrel hesitantly traverse a long wire in a strong breeze inches from the Best Deck's railing, well, whatever with the car. How will you get home? Who cares?

Happy hour happens twice every damn day of the week at the EB&G, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to midnight. Having accepted the EB&G as my personal savior, I returned on another, hotter, late Saturday afternoon's hour of happiness. At the restaurant end of the Best Deck, babies staggered around like tiny drunks, their parents in pursuit. At the bar end (sign in planter: "No Minors Baby, It's The Law!"), bikers boisterously celebrated something (life?) while acquiring impressive sunburns.

In between, a buffer of regular types enjoyed the view and consumed startling amounts of happy-hour food (including a not-too-shabby Caesar, standard-issue fried calamari, a decent if flat-pattied cheeseburger with tons of red onion). A grass-roofed tiki bar—outfitted with a surfboard with, weirdly, a cross painted on it—emanated Bob Marley and virulently festive drinks called Bamboozles (something pink with something orange topped with a generous pour of Bacardi 151). I've never been to, say, a Sandals resort in Mexico, but it must be like this—one of your arms getting way more tan than the other as you anchor the bar, a breeze blowing through the dried-grass fringe overhead, a sense of helpless relaxation.

The drinks were strong. A biker lifted his shirt to reveal his name tattooed across his belly—MORRIS—to general acclaim. Upon his departure, a half-dozen grown humans stood on their chairs, peering over a bamboo fence at the revving of his deafeningly loud motorcycle as a cloud of blue smoke slowly rose to engulf them. "WE LOVE YOU, MORRIS!" they shouted. At the tiki bar, a young man contemplated ordering a scotch, precipitating the instruction from a wiser young man, "Scotch is for late at night in your apartment when your mother doesn't love you." An agreement was reached: Having a Key-lime-pie margarita accomplishes the dual tasks of evincing security in one's masculinity and augmenting a general tropical atmosphere. And, reportedly, it was good.

2947 Eastlake Ave E, 957-7777.

bethany@thestranger.com

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