Mai Tais and Frito Pie with Jim Romdall
Specializing in sugarcane-distilled delights, the cozy Havana-inspired lounge of Capitol Hill's Rumba (1112 Pike St, 583-7177) is a soothing place to pass a rainy winter evening. (The first syllable is pronounced like the liquor, not like the robot vacuum cleaner.) Better still, Rumba now offers inebriation at the hand of new bar manager Jim Romdall, formerly of downtown's now-closed Vessel. After a busy night of shaking multiple varieties of daiquiris and maybe a mai tai or two, Romdall reports that when he's not savoring a quiet drink at home—he boasts a private collection of 100 kinds of Scotch, making it pretty much "the perfect bar for him"—he prefers to patronize dive bars with specific perks.
"With my nightcap, I like to have some form of entertainment, which happens to be pushing buttons to make balls run around," Romdall says. Pinball machines in Belltown get a lot of play from this guy. "You are living a terrible life not going to Shorty's [2222 Second Ave, 441-5449]. Shorty's has hot dogs, slushies, pinball, and Buck Hunter," he points out. His drink of choice there is "cheap, cheap beer, sometimes some Scotch, sometimes some bourbon, always a hot dog. Sometimes also Frito pie." He gives the slushy machine a shot once in a while after several prior libations: "One of them is orange; one of them is another color. The only flavor is regret."