The giant pit on First Avenue South near King Street contains an enormous yellow crane, many large blocks of concrete, several dwarfed porta-potties, and at least one backhoe. Attached to the beginnings of a rebar infrastructure, far below ground level, is a board spray-painted, "I LOVE MY JOB." Nearby, a non-hand-lettered sign exhorts, "Think. Then Act. SAFETY." A third sign reports that the construction site has been accident-free for 13 days. What will arise here: a long-planned addition to Starbucks's giant headquarters a mile or so south, as Starbucks closes stores around the country.

Marooned next to the giant pit is an old three-story brick beauty with ghosts of old advertisements painted on the side. The only word that's legible is "QUALITY." It's the 1910 Flatiron Building, still standing because it's a historic landmark, and a historic landmark because it used to be a brothel. It's home to the Triangle Pub, a wedge of old-fashioned, run-down goodness on a decimated, soon-to-be-fancy block.

The Triangle is about as small as a place can be while still being a place—a bar with maybe 10 seats, and a few more stools lodged in the windowed southern point of the hypotenuse. In one of the windows, a pyramid of empty Bud Light cans looks out onto the viaduct and the train tracks. A handful of guys sit at the bar, and the meanest-looking one—maybe a biker, with an impressive tattoo of an American flag that may be on fire on his bicep—offers to scoot over so there's room to sit down. Another guy says not to do it: "He stinks!" They're all friends and, very shortly, so are you. There's discussion of the state of Montana and electrical work, and a highly phallic energy-drink bottle someone's brought in provides a lot of good-natured conversational mileage. Introductions are made. Amy, the bartender, wears her hair in cute braids. She's worked here for seven years; her love for her job is low-key but clear as a bell. Asked about the place as the guys start to clear out, she says, "You walk in and everybody's equal. Everybody talks to each other." The crowd goes through cycles: sailors from the nearby Coast Guard station (a signed life ring from the Polar Star hangs high on a wall), longshoremen, and, recently, tech guys (a few stand in the pub's small sidewalk area outside, talking shop in their blue dress shirts). Game days get crazy-busy with crowds going to and from the stadia. Scalpers are great tippers.

Draft beer is served in plastic cups at the Triangle, and if you get a winning pull tab, you are urged to let it ride. Far above on the ceiling, the faded remains of an original fresco are barely visible: garlands of flowers and two angels. recommended

Triangle Pub, 553 First Ave S, 628-0474.