Have you ever found yourself in a restaurant or bar where the atmosphere just didn’t fit your mood and frame of mind? This happened to us on our first night in Seattle when we stopped into the Diller Room, a dank and dive-y bar located in a building that started life as a nice hotel, turned into a second home for pioneers and miners, and then devolved into a Chinese laundry that served as a front for a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Even after all that storied history, we just weren’t feeling the place on that first night — but a return visit a few nights later found us in a far different mindset, relaxing into a cozy booth in the back of the lounge and talking over food and drink to the hip-hop and soul soundtrack coming from the speakers around us. Our final verdict was that the Diller Room was just our sort of bar after all, especially when it came to the plentiful drinks and cheap appetizers.
Each of those plates you see above were $6 during happy hour, and we were happy with the ample selection of local meats and cheeses provided. While not quite up to the level of the charcuterie platter we ordered at Pike Brewing, we still enjoyed these creamy cheeses and savory cured meats, with our only complaint being that the bar made no effort to tell us where the food was coming from. I suppose that’s a rather picky thing to wish for, but we come from a place where a man can buy a smoked turkey and wind up talking to both the man who raised it and the man who smoked it all in the same visit. Still, that meat, cheese, and flatbread was just what we needed to soak up some of the Diller Room’s tasty drinks.
First and foremost on that drink agenda was a tasty cocktail called “The Manhattan Project,” a mixture of Bullieit rye, Punt e Mes, Antica vermouth, and Angostura bitters garnished with some of the tastiest brandied cherries I’ve ever had. I stuck with beer, choosing the very drinkable Old Seattle Lager from Maritime Pacific Brewing. Jess switched from Manhattans to Bombay Sapphire gin and tonics not long after, and we were well on our way to a wild and crazy night.
It’s always a good feeling when you can return to a place that didn’t exactly hit the spot the first time around and find that it becomes one of your most memorable places after all. Such was the case here with the Diller Room, where the lights are low, the drinks are strong, and the appetizers are cheap enough to keep you well-balanced for a long evening of fun.