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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#961 - Dynasty Room, Seattle (I.D.) - 12/29/2009


It seems to me that the grand tradition of dive bars attached to Chinese restaurants breaks down into two major designs -- what I'll call the "slipshod" and the "classic."  In the slipshod design, the bars seem to have been improvised over a hasty weekend, with decorations from a local flea market.  Cheap Chinese cardboard mix with 50s Americana and various liquor company paraphernalia, in a hodgepodge that creates the unavoidable impression that the owners were looking for almost ANYTHING to fill wall space.  Typically, the hastily improvised lighting is far too bright for a bar and eliminates what little hope of romance might have existed.  In the Slipshod design, the only thing that seems to have been planned at all is the karaoke section.  Prime examples from the Slipshod School include Greenwood's Yen Wor Garden, Aurora's China Dragon, and Lake City's Seven Seas.

The Dynasty Room, inside the Seven Seas restaurant, is from the Classic School.  The liquor choices are limited and the decor pedestrian, but the lighting is happily low, the decorations adhere to theme, and there are few, if any, of the cheap cardboard decorations.  It's not fancy, but you can still envision the rat pack rolling in for a few generous pours of scotch and soda or whiskey and Coke.

Slipshod Chinese Restaurant dive bars can be excellent fun due to the corresponding hodgepodge of human beings they bring in.  But Classic Chinese restaurant dive bars provide a more serene and abiding pleasure.

714 S King St., Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 682-4900
fourseasrestaurant.com - seattle weekly - yelp -

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