After driving across the country from Boston less than two years ago, Washington State Bartenders Guild president Elizabeth Powell worked for well-regarded cocktail bars Liberty, Tommy Gun, and Smith before becoming the bar manager at Capitol Hill's Tallulah's (550 19th Ave E, 860-0077). As Tallulah's becomes a neighborhood standby, Powell's keeping the bar program local with seasonal produce and spirits distilled mere miles away. She aims to figure out what her new clientele really wants: "That's what our [daily] specials are all about, to see what piques curiosity and raises eyebrows, what people really get excited about." A recent edition of the special was a supremely fresh version of the classic Pimm's Cup, featuring tarragon, cucumber water, ginger beer, and house-made lemon cordial.
On her way home from work, Elizabeth keeps her own drink orders simple: "Whiskey, bubbles, Fernet—I'm not a terribly picky drinker. I spend all day making cocktails, and at the end of the day, I just don't want to drink one." She regularly opts for Bandits Bar (159 Denny Way #105, 443-5447), where she can stop in with her two schnoodles (a schnauzer/poodle mix). She emphasizes that while Bandits features craft-cocktail touches like fresh juice and great service, it's an unpretentious place to drink and hang out, with a view of occasional traffic pileups on Denny, too. What else do you really need after a long day? Maybe one of Bandits' tamales, "tasty little bites" that Powell especially likes.