WHAT TO DRINK: The Last Word cocktail at The Last Word Saloon.
This leather-and-wood lodge serves dramatic cocktails and cheese plates around an antique stone hearth. Recline with a book in one of the leather armchairs by the fireplace, or bring a journal to doodle in. You can come alone and feel just as home here as in a couple or a group of friends. It’s cozy and relatively cheap—a bottle of house wine will cost you fourteen pounds. The focus, always, is on the drinks. And the owners know their cocktail history. The Last Word cocktail, their signature drink and the namesake of this saloon, dates back to Prohibition.
A tart and potent gin-based concoction, the Last Word remained on the periphery of cocktail culture until 2004, when Seattle bartender Murray Stenson brought it back to life from the pages of an old bartending book. The drink’s popularity spread, and The Last Word Saloon is one of several bars around the world that anchor their establishment to this drink. Every place has its own version, and the challenge is combining heavy-handed ingredients into a drink that tastes as light as it looks. The Last Word Saloon pairs gin with pungent chartreuse and a dash of lime and maraschino, lending a pale, potion-like, airy green to its take on the classic.
What we really love about this place is that the ladies’ restroom features confessional-like dividers between each toilet stall. If you’re so inclined, you can slide the divider open to reveal a wooden grate and chat with your neighbor as you both do your business. Or not.