At Von’s. charles mudede

The wheel of drinks is pulled, the wheel turns, the wheel's pointer lands on the lemon drop. One part of the bar cheers; another part awwwwws. The wheel's puller announces that lemon drops, normally $9, will for the next hour be sold at half price. Von's 1000 Spirits Gusto Bistro—a restaurant/bar that used to be near Sixth and Pine (with its loud outside drinkers at high tables) but is now on First and Pine (its outside drinkers are now less boisterous and fewer in number)—has been doing this wheel-of-drink-specials thing for as long as I have been legally allowed to booze in this town.

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From where I sit at the bar, I can see parts of the sad Hammering Man and the top of what remains of Clinton-era dreaming, the Harbor Steps. The room behind the wheel has a west-facing window that views a walkway that leads into an apartment building. Beneath it are the tops of very green trees. (This area is like a hidden pocket of urban utopia.) A large and square window that's south of the wheel of drinks holds a view of the Seattle Great Wheel. The wheel outside carries people around and around; the small one inside names the drinks that get us drunk and loud. Outside, the wheel of life; inside, the wheel of high life.

The lemon drop turns out to be great. The lemon juice and vodka have the right amount of dryness and sourness that works against/with the right amount of sugar granules sprinkled on the rim of the chilled martini glass (I have two of these). A young woman pulls Daft Punk's Random Access Memories from a row of LPs on the bar, places the vinyl on a turntable, presses the power button, and sets the needle, and the music plays. I also order a glass of white wine, and a bowl of midsize meatballs, and a large plate of crunchy broccoli. The man sitting next to me is about to conquer a massive hamburger with thick slices of bacon. The smell of fat gets me. The smell of fat gets all humans. Millions of years in the fat-starved wild made us love that smell. The man next to me does not eat right away, but waits and waits and seems to contemplate the deep biological history of that smell. recommended

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