Saturday, May 29, 2010
Bar #1: The White Horse Trading Company - Downtown
I've heard good things about The White Horse, so I've been wanting to visit it for awhile, but don't do a lot of drinking in the touristy hell of Pike Place Market. This project was the perfect excuse to get there.
I liked the place from the moment I walked in. It's small, dark, cozy and feels more like a bookshop or some Englishman's parlor than a bar. There's a lot of English memorabilia on the walls, comfortable chairs and couches and a few seats at the bar.
There's a very limited drink selection--three Samuel Smith bottled beers, a cask ale, a couple wines, an English mead and a Pimm's Cup cocktail. I'd never had a Pimm's before, so I started with that. Made with brandy-based Pimm's #3, red wine, bitters and lemon, it was interesting but too sweet to be something I'd drink often. I also had a cask ale, which Joe, the owner/bartender, said was a Sam Smith brown ale aged in a wooden cask for two years.
I visited The White Horse with seven other people. Three weren't drinking and looked uncomfortable. I asked my friend what their problem was and he said that they're usually big drinkers, but they only drink stuff like Bud Light. They didn't know what to do with the limited drink menu. Sorry, people... professional drinkers find something to drink at any bar.
One cool thing about The White Horse that I hadn't seen--if you wanna leave your drink to have a smoke or hit the head, they have double-sided wooden blocks for you to display drinkside that say "Out Smoking" or "In the W/C." Speaking of the bathroom, the one at White Horse is odd. It's a semi-open space with a swinging door that latches. People can't actually see you doing your business, but it's pretty exposed. You wouldn't want to drop a deuce here unless you were desperate.
Overall, this is a laid-back place to grab a few drinks. Joe can be a little standoffish but is mostly friendly and engaging. He used to own the Black Horse in SF (also a great bar and one of the smallest I've ever seen). But, as much as I liked it, because of the location I'll probably only drink at The White Horse again if I'm in the area or taking a first-timer.