The Watering Hole: Cutters Crabhouse, 2001 Western Ave., 448-4884, PIKE PLACE MARKET
The Atmosphere: What used to be the outdated Cutters Bayhouse is now Cutters Crabhouse, a renovated, modern restaurant perfectly suited for the throngs of tourists and nearby condo dwellers who just can't get enough of the view. Not only are the restaurant and bar updated, the wall separating the two has been knocked down. The absence of the divider that once blocked those perched on a stool, minding their own drink, from a 180-degree perspective of Elliott Bay is an absolute game-changer—and you'll want to play.
The Barkeep: Thanh-Mai (tuh-MY) Leck. People call her "T." She works the lunch shift, but if you get there in time for happy hour, you'll probably catch her before she leaves at 4 p.m. With her incredible smile and easygoing nature, she's easy to spot. She's been at Cutters since before they relaunched on April 11. "I came with the renovation," she says.
She's also happy to be on dry land. "I was a part of the Argosy cruises for eight years," says Leck, who found the Cutters opportunity online and was hired immediately. "I did everything there except be the captain. I was the wedding coordinator, supervisor, bartender, server, deck crew. I'd help set up the boat for dinner cruises—wash the windows, scrub the deck, tie up the line, get it ready for the guests to come aboard. Then I'd put on my little penguin suit and wait the tables or whatever my assignment was that day."
The Drink: Basil Gimlet. One of Cutters' most popular cocktails during happy hour, it's a muddled combo of Hendrick's gin, basil, mint sprigs, and homemade lime sour with a splash of simple syrup.
The Verdict: It's very light and refreshing, perfect for the 65-degree weather that day. I happen to like semisweet cocktails, so I enjoyed it. But when your drink is as pretty as this Basil Gimlet and served by someone as charming as Leck, it doesn't really matter.