The Admiral Benbow Inn

For 45 years, the Admiral Benbow Inn has been a watering hole for West Seattleites and those lucky few who stumble upon it on their way to Alki or the Admiral Theatre (all tickets still $2!). Walking through the Benbow's dining room to get to the bar is a bizarre, surreal experience—sort of like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride if you were on acid and it was old folks' day at the theme park. Once you push past the blue-hairs and stroll beyond the cascading waterfalls and trickling piers, you'll find a bold new world in the back lounge. The room itself is worth the price of admission (no cover). Built to resemble a ship's galley, the barroom has heavy, smoked wooden beams, red leather booths, oil lamps, and a rear window off the stern that'll make you seasick if you look at it too long (a hidden moving light makes the stained glass appear to be undulating with the tide). The Benbow is a Seattle kind of place; old-timers with red noses sit on bar stools while groups of working stiffs in sleeveless T-shirts and Nordstrom Rack blouses converse about Harleys, the M's, appliances, and their shitty jobs. The heat is cranked. People drink coffee from the pot. There's a condom machine in the men's room (I'd go with the aromatic "Sweet and Sexy" neon brand—75 cents). You can order fish 'n' chips. Folks are friendly, drinks are cheap, and customers have plenty of 'em. People laugh. In fact, many of them cackle—loudly. When someone leaves, the bartender says, "See you tomorrow." Finally, it's got the most important feature of all when you're talking about fluid intake: It's two blocks from my house. 4212 Admiral. Bar hours: 10am-1:30am. Bar Joke: A woman walks into a bar carrying a duck under her arm. "Get that pig out of here!" yells the bartender. "That's not a pig, stupid!" she replies, "That's a duck!" "I know!" says the bartender, "I was talking to the duck!"

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