As a native Pacific Northwesterner I have always been aware that summer is fleeting and every gorgeous day must be enjoyed to the fullest. Like many who live in this area, I generally spend as much time as possible outdoors, or at least at a window soaking up the sunlight, from May through mid-October when the weather turns once again to mostly grey. At least most years. This year has been particularly challenging as the months we normally count on for good weather seemed to have other ideas about what they would provide.
I was talking to a few friends a couple weekends ago and we all realized something that is normally on our "things to do during summer in Seattle" had not yet been accomplished. The task? Happy hour on the rooftop deck of The Pink Door.
The Pink Door is a Seattle institution. It’s been around since 1981. That’s the same year I moved to Seattle and I think I’ve been eating there from nearly the beginning. It’s a bit of a funky place. The only sign at the door lists hours, no name, but the door is pink. If you enter from Post Alley, where the pink door is, you immediately descend one story of stairs to the main, rather dark, dining room. This room fills later in the evening but during the early evening hours everyone heads through the dining room into the more brightly lit bar. And, if you are lucky as we were on this day, the doors to the outdoor, rooftop deck will be wide open.
Although Seattle sits right on Puget Sound there really are very few restaurants with outdoor views to the water. More have opened in recent years but for a long time, other than a few tourist spots right along the waterfront, The Pink Door was the main place for outdoor dining with a view. Trellised fencing surrounds two sides of the deck letting in light yet separating you a bit from the surrounding gritty rooftops. A third side is protected by the restaurant building and the fourth is wide open to the view of Puget Sound. The deck is also covered with lattice providing dappled shade and a place to hang brightly colored lights and lively planters filled with trailing flowers. The plastic tablecloths and gaily colored chairs add even more to the riot of color that greets you as you walk out onto the deck. Seating here is always in demand so arriving early (the nicer the day, the earlier you need to arrive) is the only way to guarantee a seat.
I arrived in time to secure a table along one wall. While waiting for my friends I started with Angelica’s Kiss, a Prosecco and raspberry puree concoction. It was the taste of summer if a bit on the sweet side. Once my friends arrived and ordered wine we set about negotiating what we wanted to eat. The first item, bruschetta made with local heirloom tomatoes, was a no-brainer decision but then we needed to weigh the pros and cons of several items that looked very good. We finally settled on the risotto of the day, made with crab and rock shrimp, and a big bowl of clams and mussels in a garlicky broth.
The bruschetta was heavenly as simple food often is. Just toasted country bread, big slices of the tomato, lots of fragrant olive oil with a nice sprinkling of salt and a little basil. Simple and satisfying. The mussels and clams followed the same idea – just local, fresh shellfish, steamed in broth until they opened. Popping the sea-fresh morsels in our mouths and dunking more of the sturdy bread into the broth was a very pleasant way to spend the early evening. Add to that the rich seafood risotto – soft and creamy, with a generous drizzle of that same fruity olive oil and there’s really not much more to ask for.
Besides the great food served here The Pink Door has a variety of entertainment throughout the week. Most nights it’s music of some sort but on Saturdays they bring in a burlesque show. I haven’t seen it but hear it’s a lot of fun.
The Pink Door
1919 Post Alley in Pike Place Market