Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bar #11: Sidetrack Room (in Orient Express) - SODO

Driving through SODO after our visits to Loretta's and Marco Polo, we couldn't help but stop at the collection of railroad cars that made up an Asian restaurant called Orient Express. We weren't sure if there was a bar inside, but we had to find out. Sure enough, one of the cars houses a bar called the Sidetrack Room.

The restaurant was empty except for a lone couple sharing some food at one of the tables. The Sidetrack Room was dark and the lighting had a red tint to it that reminded me of David Lynch's Twin Peaks. Unfortunately, there was no little man talking backwards and dancing.

Ben and I sat at the bar and were greeted by the familiar sight of pull-tabs and liquor bottles. There were also a few taps (Manny's and Stella, I think). We decided on shots of Wild Turkey and several dollars of pull-tabs. The bartender was arguing with a friend of hers about the types of liquor in a B-52. They both thought they were right and the conversation was settled with each side declaring the other full of shit.

For those historically inclined, there's an interesting story behind the connected railroad car restaurant/lounge. It originally opened in 1949 as Andy's Diner and closed in early 2008 before re-opening later that year as Orient Express. One of the cars is evidently a presidential car that FDR used, perhaps during his 1944 re-election campaign. Supposedly, the presidential car isn't open to the general public. If we'd known about it, we probably would've tried to weasel our way inside. Maybe next time....

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