The Watering Hole: Die Bierstube, 6106 Roosevelt Ave. N.E., 527-7019, ROOSEVELT
The Atmosphere: With its large tables, old beer advertisements, and oversized illuminated posters of German women, horses, and kegs, Die Bierstube is exactly what you'd imagine a German pub to be. It's not unusual for patrons to sidle up to already-occupied tables and ask to take a seat. If this happens, let said strangers join—and not just because you don't want to be seen as a Level 1 table hoarder. Do it because it's good to keep with the friendly neighborhood vibe that owner Chris Navarra, proprietor of like-minded establishments Prost! and Feierabend, tries so hard to uphold. Die Bierstube is the type of bar that melts away some of the Seattle freeze, encouraging talk over beer and bratwurst.
The Barkeep: Mary Collins, the sunniest biertender around. Collins has been here for about five years, on and off. She says that Die Bierstube's manager always went to the coffee shop she used to work at. She asked him for a job, but he told her to wait until she turned 21. She did, and the rest is history. Now Collins spends her time biertending and traveling, and even recently visited a friend in Berlin.
The Drink: "I'm just gonna call that a 'Sudden Weather Change,' " she says, in what can only be a dedication to the week's crazy weather. (Earlier today it went from hail to sunshine in a few hours.) It's made of Hussong's tequila, house-infused jalapeño vodka, and Bärenjäger honey liqueur, garnished with a sliver of cucumber and a slice of lime.
The Verdict: To say a Sudden Weather Change has a kick is an understatement. That's why it's more accurately described as a slap in the face—even for folks who order four-star curry or eat wings so hot they come with waivers. It's like drinking liquid fire. The vodka, infused with serrano peppers and black peppercorns, is the boldest flavor, but is balanced by the honey liqueur for a truly spicy-and-sweet experience. The cucumber, while slight, helps quell the jalapeño heat.
If you're hoping to alleviate that nose-burning, be careful if you reach for one of Die Bierstube's soft Bavarian pretzels. They're the perfect bar snack, but the mustard will definitely make you question your spice threshold. Die Bierstube shouldn't take much heat, though. It's a comfortable space—clearly a hot spot for people who live in Roosevelt or attend UW—that offers decent German lagers and great liquid antidotes for Seattle's sudden weather changes.