First Call: The Forge Lounge Is Ferry Convenient

Finally, a sharp preboarding booze option for sea commuters.

The Watering Hole: The Forge Lounge, 65 Marion St., 612-9565, PIONEER SQUARE The Atmosphere: Unless you're heading to catch a ferry, it's easy to miss the small lounge on the skyway bridge near First Avenue. Thankfully, part-time bar owners and full-time firemen Jeff Hammock and Mike Ager came up with a swankier place to throw back a drink than the terminal itself, making the Forge the perfect pit stop for island commuters. For more than three years, both men had kept an eye on the spot, but it wasn't until a year after its former coffee-shop occupant shut down that they were able to land the keys. From the exposed-pipe ceilings to the customized lighting and bar top, details weren't overlooked, and the Forge proved instantly popular. In fact, it's hard to find a seat midweek. The Barkeep: Brenda Eblen, who moved to Seattle just six months ago from her hometown in Alaska. With a smile that can make men swoon, Eblen likes to throw curve balls when given the power to pour anything she thinks you need to get you through the day. The Drink: Eblen chose two, one sweet and one hot. The first, known as the Matcha Mule, contains green tea–infused vodka, lime, and Cock 'n' Bull cane-sugar ginger beer. The second, named St. Vitus, is a mixture of muddled mint, Hot Monkey chili-pepper vodka, house-pressed sour mix, and soda. The Verdict: With just enough sweet to back up the heat, these drinks go hand in hand. With the St. Vitus' sugary lemonade resemblance, it's easy to want to gulp rather than sip it. While it's hard to notice a kick at first, the afterburn has you grabbing the sweet tea for an antioxidant breather. Since the Forge keeps its menu focused primarily on local vendors, both drinks won't last long before a seasonal switch comes into play. So get 'em while you can.

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