I don’t know quite how to describe Sun Liquor, but I do know that I was sold on the place the minute the bartender at Quinn’s told me that it was one of his favorites. It’s on the north end of Capitol Hill, in the same block of Summit as Top Pot Doughnuts, tucked away on a quieter part of the hill. Once you step inside it’s a funny mixture of Asian and kitschy, with what felt like a touch of mid-century modern. But somehow it all works together: bamboo-styled chairs and stools, a couple of carved wooden screens, Chinese characters popping up here and there, those chunky red glass candle holders usually found in old Italian restaurants.
Food is clearly not the priority here; it’s all about the top-notch drinks. The couple of nights I’ve been there I’ve sampled the Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger beer, lime juice), the Scarlet Lady (gin, lemon juice, house-made grenadine, champagne) and perfect for a chilly day, the Blueberry Tea (amaretto, Grand Marnier, Earl Grey tea). Let me tell you, at the happy hour price of $2 off standard rate these all go down quite easily. I’d read in some of the Yelp reviews about the hand-squeezed juice, and they weren’t kidding. Absolutely delicious well-made drinks, and enough to knock me off my usual trajectory toward the Bombay Sapphire martini. When in Rome one must have the specialty of the house, no?
The other comment that shows up with some frequency in the Yelp reviews is that although there are tables, you have to go up to the bar to order. I agree that might prove challenging if the place was packed, but for the moderate crowds I’ve experienced it was no biggie, especially because on the second outing we scored seats at the bar. Sun Liquor is clearly a neighborhood spot — judging by how well the bartenders seemed to know the crowd — but even if you’re not local you can always aspire to be a regular. It’s worth the effort, I suspect.