Strolling out for a snow day drink was my remedy for winter weariness.
It was also a rediscovery of the beauty of walkable amenities. There’s a kind of old-world charm about striding from home to a bar, pub or tavern. It was a reminder of a city like Everett’s history. You can imagine the mill workers doing much the same decades ago.
There’s an unmistakable vibe for snow day drinking. People were bundled up and cozy, huddled together around tables and lounging at the bar. Things outside seemed more quiet and still, which carried itself inside. Plus there’s that surprising bright glow when night falls.
During the storm that brought several inches of snow around the lowlands of Western Washington, I trekked to some downtown Everett haunts. Some were forced to close, others forged on as a refuge for the bold and the thirsty. On a recent night out, I bumped into a few friends and (maybe) made a few more.
Right as the so-called Snowmaggedon began last Thursday, I popped into Toggle’s Bottleshop on Hewitt Avenue. That was a provision run more than a sit-down stop, and the two bottles I picked up were a nice treat when the snow fell in earnest the next afternoon.
Toward the end of the storm, I was determined to go for a walk. Just over a mile from my Riverside home, it was a nice reminder that much of downtown Everett is accessible to many — though not much at all for people with accessibility needs — even when government officials are urging us to stay off the roads.
With light rail scheduled for Everett in the coming two decades, more downtown housing density and a major zoning change around the transit station to the Metro subarea, more people are likely to use the sidewalks.
The website walkscore.com, which rates cities for their non-motorized accessibility, gives Everett as a whole a 48 out of 100. It called the 98201 ZIP for most of north Everett “somewhat walkable,” and the Bayside, Port Gardner and Riverside neighborhoods were cited as the most walkable, based on scoring for walking routes between any address in that area and nearby amenities.
Luckily, the Herald office is on 41st Street and Colby Avenue, I live in the Riverside neighborhood, and much of what I need can be found within a mile of little elevation gain.
That’s what led me to The Irishmen on Colby Avenue, which was humming along Tuesday afternoon. Most of the stool seating at the bar was taken, and several of the tables and booths were occupied by late lunchers and happy hour seekers.
Trudging through the destabilizing slurry of snow, salt and sand had worked up a bit of sweat on me. That exertion had me ready for a pint of something cool and crisp, and a Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA on draft suited me well.
Inside, Irish folk and pop music was playing and the temperature was comfortable enough for me to take off my parka. Feeling a bit peckish and staring at the happy hour menu, I asked for an order of Guinness gravy poutine (fries drenched in gravy and topped with melted cheese) and Buffalo wings.
Going to a neighborhood bar was also an exercise in neighborliness. While waiting on a friend, the father of another friend strolled in to grab a pint. He pulled up a chair, got a Guinness and we chatted for a half hour about his recent travels to New Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
Once my buddy, Joe Downes, arrived and quaffed a Guinness, and I a Smithwick’s Irish ale, we gingerly moseyed down Hewitt Avenue to the Independent. The beer hall also has wine and a great shuffleboard table. We caught up about work, his still newish fatherhood, family and more.
Again, it wasn’t long before more people we knew walked through the doors. One said he was ready to get out of the house, even though he had mostly kept working at a nearby restaurant during the storm.
A couple that Downes knew joined our table, and the night grew with more rounds for the table.
Walking home was just as arduous as walking there, but even more calm and quiet. I was ready to settle in for the night, but just as eager to get out for another downtown stroll soon.