First Call: Beware the Hunt Club's Patio

The Watering Hole: Hunt Club at the Sorrento Hotel, 900 Madison, 343-6156.The Atmosphere: Seattle's oldest luxury hotel, opened in 1909, has a dark, heavy interior that makes you feel as if you've just entered the set of a 1942 film about expatriates having a scandalous affair on a distant shore. Sitting at the bar, you half-expect Ingrid Bergman to walk in at any moment. It's the kind of place where longtime regulars chat up out-of-town travelers. Keeping everyone's whistles wet in a flurry of Jameson pours and martini shakers is...The Bartender: Parris Cartwright. When I tell him to make me what he drinks, the guy on the next bar stool immediately shouts "Water!" and laughs.Cartwright gives the longtime regular from Bellevue a knowing smile before clarifying: "When I'm off work?"Working up a sweat, he tosses off a couple more cocktails to pass to a harried-looking waitress, then grabs a lemon and bitters and opens a new bottle of Ketel One to make...The Drink: Vodka Sazerac. "It's unique, it's not too sweet or tangy," Cartwright says, explaining his preference. "Plus it's fun to say."You never really know if a drink is truly a barkeep's favorite. But in terms of matching cocktail to atmosphere, this Sazerac is the perfect choice for the Hunt Club. Sipping one at the bar is a nearly perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon imagining you're about to meet a man in a trench coat and fedora.It needs to be said that if you're going to have this moment, you have to order your Sazerac at the bar directly from Cartwright. I cannot emphasize this enough. Leave the warm, safe interior to travel to what should be a lovely European-style patio outside, and you will be ignored—for 30 minutes. And after you ask the hostess if a member of the waitstaff could please check on you and your friends, you will continue to be ignored for another 10.After finally walking in and telling the next waiter I saw that we would really like to see some food menus, um, now, the explanation for having left us sitting so long was the presence of the cocktail I brought outside from the bar. One cocktail, three people, zero menus, and never so much as a "Hey, do you all need anything else?" This is the third time we've sat unattended at the Hunt Club.So if you're wanting a taste of 1940s Paris, ignore the waiters and hosts buzzing around and head straight for the bar, where the other Parris has got you

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