Chris Collison

Description: A Ballard Chinese-food emporium and dive bar that's been around forever. "It's definitely known for all the coke that used to fly out of here, but that's not allowed anymore," says the bartender. "People call it the Old and Shitty, the Golden Shitty, the Golden Showers... I tried to clean it up, but what's the point? It only gets dirty again." Even so, she loves the place. It doesn't try too hard, there's some magic in the crumbling decor (including oversize, out-of-place depictions of life on the Mississippi), and the patrons chat comfortably with each other. A woman sings along with the jukebox. Her voice is clumsy, but she's clearly having a wonderful time.

Back to the bartender: She's hard-boiled, yet polite and funny, and her conversations brim with compelling details. (Info gleaned: To signal their availability, Aurora-roving prostitutes carry megasize beverage containers, the kind available at convenience stores.) "Oh God—you're not going to use my real name, are you?" asks Betty (not her real name).

Bonus: Indoor ping-pong.

Happy hours: Daily 3–6 pm.

Happy-hour drink specials: $2.50 drafts (Bud, Bud Light), $3 wells.

Happy-hour food specials: None, but a small bowl of soup always costs only $2 (wonton, hot and sour). If you're not expecting anything fancy, entrées from the regular menu run around $10 and are said to taste just fine. recommended