Place: The Scarlet Tree, 6521 Roosevelt Way NE
Time: 3 pm
Going to a bar for breakfast on the Sunday of a big holiday-party weekend is a perilous prospect. Even if you love the establishment's whiskey-fueled ambiance and characters during the evening hours, heading to that same locale for eggs and coffee can be damn depressing, especially given the distinctive stale-smoke-and-beer smell and harsh lights of the morning after. Mercifully, the Scarlet Tree is equipped with three key features that make such a stark transition more manageable: a highly efficient ventilation system that nearly eliminates the previous evening's odoriferous evidence, a pleasantly lit dining room that is aesthetically and physically separate from the adjoining cocktail lounge, and, most importantly, exceptionally well-executed bloody marys and breakfast fare.
Our amiable server is casual and impressively thorough, making sure the essential fluids of coffee and water are perpetually present. I order the standard egg and potatoes offering, along with a side of country gravy. Well aware that I'm risking receipt of cold and coagulated goo by requesting such an item so late in the day, I'm thrilled when it arrives in all its fat-based, creamy glory, steaming hot and brimming with spicy sausage and copiously dotted with flecks of black pepper. The dining room has all but emptied out at this point, so my photographer turns his attention to the bar, where veteran barflies are gathering for double vodkas and boisterous debate about the previous evening's events. "We were up till 5:00 a.m.," boasts one, while another heads to the stereo and turns up the Neville Brothers song already playing. When we ask our server if we can shoot a photo of the bar, he smiles wryly and says, "I don't mind, but these guys might." He's right--not one of the customers we approach was comfortable being photographed. HANNAH LEVIN