COCKTAILS • DINER • KITSCH
West 5 is Dude Lebowski’s dream mutation of a bowling-alley bar and a ‘50s diner. The décor is a hodgepodge of artifacts from long-gone businesses in the area. Of these, the most noticeable are the large, lit-up crown at the back of a bar that belonged to an old hotel; the scoring table (that now functions as the greeter’s podium) from a bowling alley that once occupied West 5’s space; and the neon-pink “Cocktails” sign stolen from Tom Cruise.
As you might imagine, this bar comes across as more than a tad kitschy—like a Johnny Rockets with mood lighting and booze; I mean, they sell oven mitts with their logo on them. There are plenty of stools along the bar, and tables for two where you and your date can order a Brandy Alexander with two straws.
We sat at one of the few tables that accommodate parties larger than two. Being the day before the Seahawks Super Bowl, the staff (who wore pieces-of-flair on the inside) handed every one a free bag of Skittles (true Seattleites understand this connection).
As stressed above, West 5 has a serious retro-diner menu. Coming here just for a meatloaf sandwich and a classic sundae doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
That bright “Cocktails” sign ain’t there for nothin’—their menu features a wide variety of classic, house, tropical, hot, and dessert options. We sampled and enjoyed their Strawberry Lemon Drop and Teq-osmopolitan, as well as one of the few beers they had on tap—Portland’s Breakside Pilsner.
These are located in the back, seemingly between two kitchens. The ladies’ room is cramped enough that the main door will open up on you while at the sink. The gents’ room locks. Both have paintings and posters (probably with a story behind each) framed on their walls.
Their website brags about their Mai Tai and Astral Mac ‘n’ Cheese, so we need to come back to see what all the fuss is about.