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Laadla Bar doesn't look like much from the outside, but then the interior isn't exactly prepossessing, either. The place is nearly empty on a Wednesday night; it's marooned among the new condos (and, soon, the giant Amazon.com campus) of South Lake Union. One of the two men sitting at the bar (the one with the long hair in two Willie Nelson—style braids) gets up and goes around to the back of it, and—voilà—he is the bartender. If you love a dropped ceiling, a wall of smoked mirrors, a squishy brown vinyl banquette, a $3 well drink—the charms of a bare-bones dive—you have made a discovery. A place like Laadla Bar suffuses the dive-bar fan with a sense of well-being: There are still simple, cheap pleasures to be had in the world, and you are about to partake...

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