The hotel bar


After much delay at the border I arrived in Seattle just as the last of the rush hour traffic was dying off. Driving via memorized Google guidance, I leave the I5 in search of my hotel The Roosevelt. As I’m checking in I get upgraded from a single room to a queen, which upon inspection seems to simply mean that my bed is larger because the room itself is tiny.

I debate phoning down to the front desk to inquire as to which Roosevelt the hotel is named after, I need to know these things if I’m going to dress appropriately for the evening since Franklin and Theodore are very different styles. A Google search lets me know that it is Theodore, so I don’t bother unpacking my monocle.

My friend, also named Jeff, meets me about an hour later. We’re friends from high school, and he’s one of the few of my friends who’ve made a move to the United States and managed to make it stick. He works in Redmond, but lives in Seattle so I trust him with our evening plans.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have, we end up at Von’s a fake New York style bar that’s attached to the hotel. Yes, my local Seattle Sherpa had guided me to the hotel bar.

It’s not that Von’s in and of itself is bad just that it’s over priced, beer costing a great deal more there than at even the sort of Vancouver bars were they have the classy prostitutes. Hungry I look at the menu, but after spotting deep friend brie I put it aside. I might not be a thin man by any accounts, but the fact that everything on the menu involves a deep fryer scares me. More so after a stop at Jack in the Box in Bellingham reminded me that a large meal at a fast food joint in Canada is about the same as a small or medium here.

The beer is good, and after a frustratingly long wait to be grilled by a suspicious border guard who could not seem to understand why I would be driving to Seattle for a comics convention unless I worked in the industry, it was nice to relax with an old friend. A few tables down someone was talking animatedly about the Messiah Complex storyline in the X-Men comics this year, and I had to grin. It was the sort of nerd talk that one could only find in a hotel bar a few blocks away from where they were holding the comic convention.

ESPN was on the television showing highlights from the Red Wings / Stars series. I felt a little lost when Canadian cultural icon Don Cherry came on the television and began discussing the series for ESPN. There are certain parts of Canada where Cherry is revered as a god, but mostly after years of public gaffs and near racism mostly he’s just the comedic relief on the CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada. Seeing him on ESPN is like having Rush Limbaugh do a weekly thirty minute show live from Ottawa about the day’s events in Parliament.

Finished with my beer and his wine we spend some time trying to flag down a waitress. Since we’d moved from the outside seating area to the bar due to the declining temperature we’re orphan customers. Neither our outside server or the barmaid are particularly interested in us, and it’s not until an elderly couple comes up to the bar next to us and tries to order the most expensive liquor on display that we get anyone to notice us.

In Seattle with a few drinks in us what are two young and vital men to do? Clearly they go across the street and spend the next forty minutes browsing Barnes and Noble. I look for one of Wil Wheaton’s books, since he’s at the convention and I want to have something to get autographed. I have a copy of his first book Just A Geek [am] but it got left in Kelowna during my move to Vancouver. They don’t have a copy, and the ordering option is no option at all. I eventually settle on a discounted Nick Hornby novel, which I did not even realize had been released, and Friday Night Lights (the book not the movie or TV show). Books are shockingly cheaper in the US, more so now that our dollars are basically at par and so I spend less than I would have at a used book store back in Canada.


We exit and make plans for the next day after the convention, and he heads off. I travel up back to the small room, with a Queen bed, and try to find a free source for Wi-Fi so I won’t have to pay the $9.50 a day the hotel charges for their internet access. It’s just a bit past 11, but already the street outside my hotel window is barren. I worry that maybe the hotel front desk staff have not told me about something, like that at midnight is when the werewolves feed, but then I remember where I’m staying.

If there are werewolves here the staff at a hotel named after Theodore Roosevelt will know how to kill them. Had it been Franklin then I’d have reason to worry.

7 Comments so far

  1. markinfrance on May 10th, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

    Just out of curiosity, I wonder where would Jeffrey Simpson take an out of towner staying at a hotel in downtown Vancouver? Top three choices would be nice. I have tried to figure out where to take my Vancouver friend in Seattle and bat about .500. Where should she take me. And don’t even mentions Earl’s at Robson & Bute–they charged me full price for a pint of beer on dollar-off Wednesday. The bastards!

  2. Jeffery Simpson (van_jeffery) on May 10th, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

    I suppose I’m not really a bar type guy, but I’d avoid hotel bars. Off the top of my head if someone was looking for a drink and maybe food in downtown Vancouver I’d probably go:

    1) The Library Square Public House ::

    2) The Dover Arms ::

    3) The Mill ::

  3. Akk pubs | Vancouver Metblogs (pingback) on May 10th, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

    […] on Metroblogging Seattle to name three pubs that I’d take people in downtown Vancouver [mbs]. I panicked and listed off The Mill, The Dover Arms and The Library Square Public […]

  4. Ryan (ryanhealy) on May 10th, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

    In Vancouver, I really like Chill Winston. Also, you can’t really go wrong in Yaletown.

  5. markinfrance on May 10th, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

    Very nice. I’ve passed by the Dover Arms many times but never went in. I passed by the Library Square Pub once or twice. I’ve never seen The Mill. I’ll make sure I visit these places on my next trip to Vancouver. Thank you very much.

    Hopefully the currency situation will not be so bad by then. Some of the places I went charge CAD 6 for a pint and then there is still a tax and tip it comes to about USD 8 for a pint of beer. And Happy Hour is illegal in Vancouver!

  6. gargamello on May 11th, 2008 @ 7:37 am

    I find Irish pubs to be a safe choice. They tend to have more soul than your average hotel bar or corporate chain. Does Seattle have pubs?

  7. josh on May 11th, 2008 @ 9:48 am

    for downtown seattle pubs, I’d recommend the White Horse or the Owl ‘n Thistle. For a wide selection of Belgian beer just a bit up the hill go with the Stumbling Monk. Other great downtown bars are Vessel (recently one of Esquire’s best bars in America, but they also just lost their world-class bartender), the Can Can, and Zig Zag.

    there’s also the bars archive…

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