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T. S. McHugh’s – 21 Mercer St – Lower Queen Anne – Seattle, WA –

This building is something of an oddity in the neighborhood because the original single story concrete block building is obliterated by the faux Irish Pub storefront. During one discussion about the neighborhood, a lifelong Seattle resident commented to me that this place is to an Irish Pub as Disneyland’s Main Street is to main street America in 1900.

Personally, I could care less about any that as I like the place a whole bunch, both visually and for other reasons. It doesn’t hurt that I live one block from it and that, as of this writing, the current crop of night bartenders are great guys. About once a month, my neighbor and I, wander over to the pub for a crispy plate of french fries and drinks; she having an Irish coffee and I, one of the really fine IPAs brewed here in the Pacific Northwest.

One evening, two days before the Thanksgiving Day Holiday, I wandered over to the pub to break up some of the monotony of being trapped inside during a rather heavy, for Seattle, snowstorm and in anticipation of spending another holiday alone. When I entered the place I single-handedly increased the client count by a third, raising it from 2 to 3.

I sat at the bar and began to chat with my favorite bartender who I find to be bright, witty, and I suspect, a bit of a rogue on the side. Let me cut to the core of the matter: he is quite cute and utterly charming. Two seats down from me was a woman dressed meticulously in clothing that was obviously well-tailored as it was deliberately casual.

I quickly found out she was from Liverpool, England and was touring North America by visiting friends she had made over the years. Earlier in the day she landed at Sea-Tac airport and arrived at her hotel just before the snow let go. Of course, Seattle, being Seattle, this brought the city to a complete halt. Because of that she found herself unable to meet with the friends that she planned to see. We soon hit it off and spent the rest of the night getting raucously smashed and with her flirting a bit with you know who.

Over the next few days, including Thanksgiving Day, I acted as her impromptu tour guide around the city. The truth be told, we mostly spent the time dashing around the city until we were frozen and then thawing out by noshing and drinking until it was time to repeat the entire cycle. On our last night together we found ourselves at Kell’s (another Irish bar) at the Pike Place Market with a third acquaintance we had made earlier in the day. There she bribed the band to play Beatles songs in honor of her hometown. Of course we sang along with the band at the top of our lungs and soon had the entire place joining in. Liverpool stood proud during those few minutes.

The next morning, quite hung over, I met her at the hotel and helped her load her things into the cab that would take her to the airplane that fly home to England. I bid her goodbye and a safe trip home, never to hear from her again.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.

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