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Eileen's Vs the Deluxe - Capitol Hill Bar Grudge Match

by Wil Forbis

Related Stuff
the following links may be of interest:

Only On Caapitol Hill - An amusing site discussing the craziness of my old neighborhood. Brings a tear to my eye... no, wait, that's the ether.

I've had a lot of time on my hands recently, so I've been hanging out at this neighborhood bar (my neighborhood being Seattle's Capitol Hill) called the Deluxe. It's the closest I've ever found to my own personal Cheers. Like, when I come in on a Friday everyone will look up and say "Norm" and I'll start to tell them that I'm glad they're all happy to see me, but my name isn't "Norm." Then I realize they're actually talking to someone who came in behind me, a fat guy called "Norm" who's apparently some sort of regular. Around that time someone usually comes up to me and says, "I don't know who you are but I don't like the way you look. Sit down and shut up." So that's usually what I do for the next several hours, just enjoying the atmosphere.

The way I've always seen it there's really only two bars in my neighborhood worth going to, The Deluxe and a place called Eileens. There are other bars, there's a place called the Jade Pagoda if you're into being hit on by 50 year old gay men, and there's the Broadway Bar and Grill if you're into being ignored by 25 year old gay waiters, but the Deluxe and Eileens are what I consider to be my only real options. And for years I was strictly an Eileen's person. It was the place to be if your were a hip but working class member of Seattle's elite underground which I guess I fancied myself back then, though the feeling didn't seem to be shared by anyone else at Eileens. Eileens was always smoky, always loud (the music usually aligning with the pre-approved hipster playlist: old school punk rock of the Ramones flavor, old school country of the Patsy Cline breed, or general obscurities: 1982 Tom Waits albums and the like) and the drinks were always… well, come to think of it the drinks always kind of sucked. For a long time there was a doorman named Eugene who was rumored to be an excellent jazz guitarist and looked like he'd walked off the set of a Jim Jarmusch film . Drinks were usually served by another pulp fiction archetype, a large breasted waitress who had a thing for casmir sweaters. All and all, I always got the feeling that while Eileens tolerated me it was never really accepting.

So I went there for a number of years before I started to question why exactly I was giving my money to a place that didn't seem to like me, served weak drinks, played music way too loud and was so smoky you couldn't see your own nose. (One day after I'd spent the night at Eileens I ran into some friends and they announced, "we were hanging out at Eileens last night." It turned out we were one booth away from each other the whole time.) So I started to look around for a new watering hole and eventually worked my way up the street to the Deluxe. When I first started in there, the place was pretty empty (which I liked) and had a kind off subdued upscale feel, like a class joint that had seen better days. But manning the bar was a woman who turned out to be my favorite bartender of all time. Her name was Nikki (my spelling), she looked kind of like a female version of the character Tom Cruise played in Cocktail and had the best memory of any bar person I've ever come across. The first night I walked in there I sat down and ordered a Mac and Jack and a shot of Jeager. I didn't visit the place again till a month and a half later and when I walked she looked me the eye and said "Mac and Jack and a shot of Jaeger?" Now that's a class dame.

About six months from the time I started hanging out at the Deluxe, they re-did the place, expanding the bar into a neighboring business and adding a couple pool tables (free on Monday nights!) They also altered the menu, which unfortunately ended up going south in a big way. Whereas the old Deluxe was a place that served a steak that more than placated my good friend Tom, (a connoisseur of high cholesterol Americana,) the best I can do with the new menu is choke down their Calimari. But what the hell, they still serve a mean Martini (they use real vodka as opposed to Eileens which seems to depend on lighter fluid) and have an atmosphere that's as inviting as a southern whorehouse.

Nikki has long since left the place, but the current shot slingers, Parak and Dave more than take her place. Parak is a close friend of my old girlfriend and sports a noticeable Irish accent, and Dave is basically a smaller, non-Irish version of Parak. The rest of the waitstaff is a bevy of charming young woman, none of whom wear Casmir. All in all, it's fine place to come to on a Friday night when you're trying to unwind from the stresses of the workweek. It's also a great place to come to on a Saturday morning when you're trying knock the hangover you got alleviating the stresses from the workweek. For that matter, it's a great place to break into in the middle of the night and drink yourself into stupor while waiting for the police to arrive and pump your stomach while escorting your to the drunk tank.

Not that I've ever done any of those things.


Wil Forbis is a well known international playboy who lives a fast paced life attending chic parties, performing feats of derring-do and making love to the world's most beautiful women. Together with his partner, Scrotum-Boy, he is making the world safe for democracy. Email -

Visit Wil's web log, The Wil Forbis Blog, and receive complete enlightenment.