First Call: Hammer's Home

Darcie's 9-lb. shooting gallery.

The Watering Hole: 9 lb Hammer, 6009 Airport Way S., GEORGETOWN.The Atmosphere: 9 lb Hammer is an enormous, barn-like tavern that serves as a Cheers for the blue-collar artists/eccentrics of Georgetown—the closest thing Seattle's got to Bohemia. It sits on the same Airport Way block as Georgetown Records and Fantagraphics. Drafty, dark, and littered with peanut shells, "the Hammer" actualizes the neighborhood's fiercely unpretentious, industrial roots, with a lot of room for raucousness. There is shuffleboard and a small stand to buy tamales (the chicken mole for $3.50 was particularly good), and, among various notable wall adornments, a velvet painting of the Last Supper hanging next to the pool table. Pool is free, and so are the peanuts.The Barkeep: There are many things Darcie has a lot of—moxie, verve, spunk, and feistiness among them. But fundamentally, she's a more petite Ani DiFranco who can lay down the proverbial nine-pound hammer if things get out of line. Originally from Long Island, she cites her reason for moving to Seattle as, "What? I don't know...On the lam. Why else do people move to the Northwest?" She has been tending bar at the Hammer for more than four years, lives in Tukwila, has aquamarine and purple hair, and seriously could kick your ass. For real.The Drink: "Well, it's a shot!" Darcie exclaims when I deliver the First Call challenge. She manages to serve half-a-dozen beers between the time she starts preparing my drink and the time it's poured, so I perch at the bar, sandwiched between men who look so at home it's as though they lease their bar stools. I receive a couple of curious looks; conversations tone themselves down a bit. To be sociable, I ask the two overalled men to my left, "What's the best day to come here?""Depends on who I'm talking to," one replies."Oh, stop being such a paranoid hippie," says Darcie. She has arrived with my drink. "It's called the Dara. Named after a woman who used to live in Georgetown. She moved away, but she's still very dear to this place. She used to get this shot, muddled lime and Rose's Lime Juice with Hornitos. I add pineapple."The Verdict: The drink is smooth and sweet, and although I'd probably get a more characteristic taste of the Hammer from a pint of Olympia or any of the Georgetown Brewery's (or the Hammer's own) beers on tap, the Dara speaks to how cherished the regulars are. Darcie emphatically explains 'hood loyalty: "Everyone is welcome here. We've got your guys in button-downs, the metalworker chicks, the straitlaced, the freaks...Come as you are. But if you step out of line or trash on the neighborhood, we're gonna run you out."As I jot notes, the men sitting on either side of me begin their own running commentary."She's just sitting there, sipping on her yellow drink and writing," says one."Well, yeah, she's a writer," says another."If she wants to write about the Hammer, then she has to be a regular. At least for a night," the first declares."Well, then she wouldn't remember anything, would she?"

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