Tini Jigs

The Owl & Thistle won't drown you in stereotypes.

The Watering Hole: The Owl 'n' Thistle, 808 Post Alley, PIONEER SQUARE. The Atmosphere: To any fan of the television show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Owl 'n' Thistle's interior may seem ominously familiar. The dim lights, exposed brick, and all sorts of local sports paraphernalia and faintly Irish rigmarole on the walls are strikingly similar to those at Paddy's Pub, the home base, for six seasons and counting, of the show's characters' always selfish and usually criminal acts of mischief. The one obvious diversion from the pub's decor is a small stage directly across from the bar which is home to eclectic local acts, including what appears to be a Big Lebowski concept band doing Led Zeppelin covers, as well as a weekly jazz improv night every Tuesday. The Owl's actual atmosphere is far less misanthropic. Sociability is key: On a calm weeknight, practically every booth and table is bare— but one could barely get an elbow into the bar. While this might at first seem an obstacle to talking up the barkeep, it quickly became obvious how impressively adept the Owl's staff has become at juggling conversation and duty. The Barkeep: Colin, a 12-year veteran, has served many a man his share of pints of Guinness—making it all the more refreshing when he insists on making me a vodka martini instead. Colin assures me that while the O&T gives the distinct first impression of being a "whiskey 'n' beer" bar, he fixes these quite often for the Owl's varied clientele of older business types and young artists alike. The Drink: The vodka martini was liberally chilled and conservative with vermouth. What more could a man want? It wasn't a groundbreaking mixture, but it was the classic Colin promised. With bar culture's increased focus on ingenuity when it comes to the modern cocktail, sometimes it's nice to have a time-tested staple served by an unpretentious pro. The Verdict: The Owl's T-shirts proudly instruct you to "wet your whistle." I second that. With reasonable prices, square meals, and a steady stream of fascinating regulars, the Owl has all the necessary components of a worthwhile Irish pub without making you feel as if you've just drowned yourself in stereotypes for a stale $5 Guinness. food@seattleweekly.com

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