Take my advice: don’t go to the wrong bar on the wrong date. Follow the pairings below to make your pairing more successful.
This new-ish north Broadway spot (606 Broadway E) has oodles of '70s style, providing lots of conversation starters, from the Firebird hood on one wall to the stuffed fish on the other. It’s got enough light to not feel overly suggestive, but not so much as to kill the mood, as well as a solidly approachable menu. Go for the one of the fun drinks continually blended in convenience store slushy manner behind the bar, such as the Painkiller ($9, rum, pineapple juice, coconut, orange, and nutmeg) along with one of their upscale lounge appetizers. The fried mushrooms ($6) include Enokis and other more exotic shrooms, perfectly battered and the perfect size for sharing.
Another fresh offering, this time in Georgetown (6031 Airport Way S), this sister bar to Ground Control is bigger. There are lots of jolly ways to move around (not a bad idea at this juncture), including shuffleboard and foosball tables, eclectic décor including a doll in a bird cage to chat about, and a robust cocktail menu that features the classic Hanky Panky ($10, gin, sweet vermouth, and Fernet-Branca) to accompany the flirting. The food menu also boasts a warm Burrata ($9) – one of the sexiest appetizers known.
The Rob Roy
By this time, I’m guessing you’ll want a little more of an intimate experience, and this Belltown legend (2332 2nd Avenue) is the cuddliest lounge in town. The lights never get above dim, and there are plenty of corners to talk softly in – or pick a corner of the bar and bump knees suggestively. Of course, the cocktails are tip top, and allow you to snazzy up the drinking experience. The Trixie’s Slipper ($11, bourbon, grapefruit, Creme de Mure, honey, cava) seems like a good coy way to start the evening, but I think you should end with the Death of a Ladies Man ($11, calvados, fino sherry, Zucca, apricot brandy).
The fifth date is the ideal evening for Rhumba (1112 Pike Street), which isn’t afraid to shed a little more light and which has comfy ocean-blue barstools made for laughter and good cheer. In addition, it’s a great locale to finally admit that addiction to Caribbean beaches, Hemingway, or both, and to do a little drink experimenting now that the nerves are calmed. With that, go on a cocktail adventure in this rum and rhum palace, starting with the Ti Punch blanc ($10, rhum agricole, lime, and cane syrup).
Ah, it’s nice to know the first five dates went so well – smart thinking, following my advice. By now, you've settled down in a nice neighborhood with a dog and are looking for a local bar walking distance from home. Essex (1421 NW 70th Street) is a great example. Its subtly artsy and airy atmosphere is comfortable without being cluttered, and the bar is bursting with intriguing imbibable choices. While diving into a cocktail isn’t a bad idea, why not show your squeeze that you still have a few surprises left by ordering the housemade Berg’s orange liqueur solo over ice ($7). The bursting orange flavors will match your bursting romance in fine fashion.