Havana Mastermind Takes Over Wing Dome

And now the neighborhood can sleep.

Seattle resident Gabe Morgan was once in a constant mental, physical, and psychological battle with an inanimate object. That object was the bright, blazing neon Wing Dome sign attached to the top of the former restaurant on Olive Way, just down the street from the Irish-themed bar Clever Dunn's and directly across from Morgan's apartment. He'd post ranting tirades against it on MySpace almost daily, as the bright red light penetrated his home night after night, day after day, causing much irritation and allowing him little sleep. Morgan is likely the one most thankful for the transformation of the space that once caused him so much grief. "There are no words for the relief that I feel," says Morgan, speaking via telephone from his desk at work. "The day that sign went down, well, I don't want to compare it to the Wall coming down, but for me—that's what it felt like." He has bar owner Quentin Ertel to thank. The mastermind behind the polished, Cuban-themed bar-cum-club Havana, Ertel took over the former Wing Dome eyesore just a few months ago and began to work his magic. First, small test patches of paint appeared on the muddy beige walls. Then one day, the entire stand-alone building became a vibrant, Caribbean shade of turquoise, accented cleanly with bright white trim and edged with white stones. Inside, Ertel was busy cultivating his concept: a tequila salvage joint dubbed The Saint, which found him curating a tequila selection that now ranges from tip-top shelf to more accessible lower levels and working on a menu that now includes highlights such as slow-roasted pork in banana leaves, tender and spicy, and chicken mole—potent, dark reddish-brown sauce poured amply over legs and breast pieces. In addition to dinner and drinks, The Saint will also offer word-of-mouth perks such as a card that will grant you no-waiting access to Havana—which on some nights is the only club on the hill to generate a string of dressed-up revelers at the door. But it's clear that the true Saint here, at least as far as Morgan is concerned, is Ertel. "The elation I now feel is unparalleled," Morgan affirms. "It's a life debt that I'll never be able to repay." 

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