A Shot in the Dark: Stars and Bars

The Pilot House is one of just two establishments that serve alcohol outside the Sea-Tac Airport security gates. The aviation-themed bar—no points for originality here—is decorated with photographs of airplanes (natch), but, more important, it carries a fully-stocked bar, making it less stressful for travelers to deal with the checkpoints at an international airport. At first glance, the Pilot House looks like a sports bar, but when we ventured in on a Friday afternoon it played out more like a scene from Animal House. A boisterous group of guys dressed in army fatigues stood at the bar throwing back shots of bourbon and taking turns pushing their friend in a wheelchair to no particular destination. "I didn't even graduate high school!" one announced gleefully as he downed a Jack and Coke. The table erupted into cheers. Our bartender explained the jarheads were celebrating wrapping up their boot-camp training before heading to their respective homes. Moments later, a frowning manager emerged from the back room. "Those guys have been drinking straight liquor forever—start cutting them off," he barked. Before the bartender could deliver the somber news, we asked the guys if we could snap a photo of their festivities. Theyobliged, but one of the guys was quick to warn his peers: "Hey, make sure to keep your alcohol outta the picture." Thanks to him, the U.S. doesn't have to worry about its troops appearing in any drunken Facebook photos.

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