Satisfying the Soccer-Mom and Video-Game Crowds

New beverage houses in Georgetown are sure to be nice neighbors.

Coming from Chicago, a place with a hefty bars-per-capita quotient, I learned that there exist approximately 37 shades of "tavern," such as after-third-shift taverns, family taverns that sponsor Little League teams, and gimme-something-to-do (like darts) taverns. So when two new taverns open in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, two new communities come to life. The large windows and rich, bright colors of Calamity Jane's (5701 Airport Way S., 763-3040) give the place the feel of an airy, updated English pub. Its dining room, clearly separated from the bar, makes space for both the after-work and preschool crowds. The alcohol selection is short and sweet, with special accents like Plymouth gin, Baron Brewing's pilsner on tap, and bottles of New Belgium's 1554, the most refreshing black beer ever, which is almost mandatory with the house BBQ burger. Owner Sara Aruguete opened small mid-April. She's adding more liquors and food specials over the next few months, keeping a notebook to record customer requests. Chef Darren Morey's menu features carni- or herbivore shepherd's pie, and a hearty dish of beans and greens that might be the best under-$5 deal in town. Add a short stack of flawless, softly grainy corn cakes for maximum comfort. While the beans, like everything else, are available vegetarian, it's the giga-hunks of ham hock that put a smile on my face. I can't wait to hit All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Monday (meatballs extra), sure to be a retro cure for many homesick Midwesterners. If I had a kid, I'd be lobbying Sara to sponsor her soccer team. Georgetown Liquor Company (5501 Airport Way S., round back; 763-6764) is as dark as Calamity Jane's is bright, painted ionospheric blue with touches of late-century gaming. GLC's following has been growing since it opened in January. The space looks like what would happen if some computer nerds pimped their parents' basement (writer's note: a compliment). The smart-alecky drinks menu is heavy on tweaked classics, including the bourbon and Benedictine Derby cocktail. On the food menu, sandwiches are named after 1970s sci-fi characters (the Sleestack) and cuss words (the Frac!). Field Roast, the Georgetown company that has mastered the meat substitute, is well represented here, as the lunch and dinner menu is all vegetarian, with plenty of vegan options. The inventive Darth Reuben, loaded up with tomato Field Roast, will have you saying, "Tomato, wheat protein, liquid smoke, and barley malt: It's what's for dinner." GLC's impressive list of vintage Atari games (for both the 2600 and 5200 models) includes River Raid, the maddening Berzerk, and Solaris, which is not as boring as the movie. You might not think you want to indulge in such unadorned diversion for two hours, but it's too easy to find yourself on Level 5 and two drinks down, especially when you don't have to interrupt play for more quarters. Something here reminds me of going for pizza as a kid, all the single moms gathering over pitchers while we relished our only chance to play video games. If you see me out, this former latchkey kid will beat your ass at Q*bert. Georgetown takes all kinds. Case in point: Who would have deemed the hood so unmeaty? Calamity Jane's and Georgetown Liquor Company each bring their own shade of tavern to the neighborhood. Neither requires a uniform or scene-specific knowledge. Instead, both are friendly as hell—and tasty to boot.

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