At a table at STILL Liquor, two guys are discussing their work in its own special tongue. Things are "in sync" among various teams, marketing and other; the word "nontraditional" is used over and over, an incantatory spell. They are business casual, having cocktails. There is mention of software, Facebook, feeds, metrics. Acronyms fill the air. At the bar, two guys are discussing Elliott Bay Book Company's impending move to Capitol Hill. They're happy to have it in the neighborhood, though worried about how detrimental to their wallets it'll be. One of them mentions an art show he was in recently. They're scruffy, hunched over $2.50 happy-hour cans of Rainier, their longboard skateboards leaning up against the bar next to them. A silence settles comfortably, acronym-free.
Two local guys run STILL. The bartender says that they flipped a bunch of houses, remodeling them all themselves, and that this is their first bar. They did all the build-out, constructing simple wooden booths and a bar top with lumber recycled from a barn. STILL looks good without trying too hard; the room is a pleasant daylight-basement one, with concrete walls, massive wood beams, and windows that slant up the incline on Minor Avenue off Pine. It's in the building where Sitka & Spruce and Tamara Murphy's new Terra Plata are being installed, along with a cheese shop called the Calf & Kid and other assorted commerce. Later this spring (if all goes according to plan), this triangular block will be a hub of upscale activity. Right now, construction detritus occupies the sidewalk, and a less fortunate person goes methodically but madly up and down, scrutinizing various spots on the ground.
There's no food at STILL Liquor beyond required-by-law microwave entrées—some nuts would be nice—and just Manny's and Stella Artois are on tap. Specialty cocktails are priced up to $11. While the entirely personable bartender makes them with care, a Dragon's Toe lacks any discernable ginger flavor, while the STILL signature cocktail—tequila, grapefruit, and bitters—is all sharpness. Maybe balance will come with time; STILL is still brand-new.
A good lightbulb is always an excellent idea, and STILL Liquor has great filaments. (Other places that know this include Black Bottle and the new Mistral Kitchen.) The bulbs hang bare, giving off a sepia-toned light; some have industrial wire cages around them, reminiscent of the lights that might've been here back when the place was an old-timey automotive garage. The room's only ornament strikes this note, too: It's a rusty old valve-and-pipe apparatus in a corner, marked "COLUMBIA IRON WORKS CHATTA. TENN." Feel free to turn the handle; it's not connected to anything.
STILL Liquor, 1524 Minor Ave, 467-4075