First Call: Elmer's Irish Car Mom

Every day is Halloween at this friendly Burien dive.

The Watering Hole: Elmer's Pub, 15027 Ambaum Blvd. S.W., 439-1007, BURIEN

The Atmosphere: Do you really want to go to a place like Elmer's Pub for the atmosphere? Fuck yes, you do. When I walked inside, Slayer was playing on the jukebox, followed by Pantera and Sepultura. The Halloween decorations were still up! I haven't seen a bar with such an awesome holiday theme since Snake & Jake's Christmas Club in New Orleans.

There are pull tabs, which of course I notoriously detest. Pull tabs are the worst. I don't know how the guy who invented pull tabs kept his job: "We'll combine all the fun of opening envelopes with all the uncertainty of gambling! It's a guaranteed hit!" Of course, as anyone who's ever wondered why Sarah Palin is popular can attest, you can't go wrong assuming that people will like really, really retarded things.

Luckily, the fact that Elmer's sells pull tabs does nothing to dampen the rest of its awesome atmosphere. There are pool tables, a Golden Tee game, and a couple of pinball machines. The bar itself is 1970s chic, topped in brown Formica. Everything seems to be coated in a crusty layer of yellowed varnish that was probably new when Howard Hughes was still sane. Don't misread my contractually required sarcasm as disdain, because in reality Elmer's rules your face with extreme prejudice.

The Barkeep: Julie has worked at Elmer's for six years, but only on Tuesdays. The rest of the week she works at the Rolling Log in Issaquah, which apparently is haunted by both ghosts and bums. "Issaquah has a surprising number of homeless people," says Julie. "They live in the woods, come down and get drunk, then go back up to live in their tents."

The Drink: An Irish Car Bomb. "I like to make simple drinks," Julie confesses. "We don't have mint sprigs or any of the other ingredients you need to make 'fu-fu' drinks. Everything goes through a phase, and right now the phase is to muddle things." Fans of the mojito should thus avoid Elmer's, which is another reason why I love this place.

"I like to drink the difficult drinks," Julie continues, "like grape Nehis, lemon drops, or anything that you need more than five ingredients to make." Luckily, the Irish Car Bomb contains only three ingredients, well below Julie's five-ingredient cutoff. Whew!

Julie grabs a can of Guinness and fills a pint glass half full, which is served alongside a shot glass filled with a mixture of 50 percent Bailey's and 50 percent Jameson whisky. I haven't had one of these in 15 years. I slide the shot glass down into the Guinness' murky depths, then chug. At first it just tastes like Guinness: foamy and bitter. Then it gets sweeter and sweeter as you hit the Bailey's, but before it gets too sweet, you're done. In fact, you know you're done when the shot glass slides down and painfully cracks into the bridge of your nose. It should be renamed "Your Mom," because when you finish drinking an Irish Car Bomb, you end up just like your mom: with sticky fluid splashed all over your face.

The Verdict: Elmer's has a great jukebox, cheap drinks, friendly regulars, and interesting decor. In keeping with the holiday theme, the red LED clock on the wall, usually reserved for counting down the minutes until St. Patrick's Day at thousands of frat bars nationwide, is perpetually set to October 31. At Elmer's Pub, to paraphrase Type O Negative, every day is Halloween. Rating: 8 Halloweens out of 10.

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