Two years ago, the Seattle Space Needle approached Hemispheres about a possible assignment. The nature of that project we must keep confidential. But, during the course of our proposal development we spoke with a number of people who provided their own ideas about the Space Needle. These people included three of Seattle’s leading bartenders (at Sambar, Hazelwood, and ZigZag), a native Seattleite who had been on an illicit trip to the top of the Space Needle, and a member of Toronto’s Temperance Society.
After hearing all of their inspirational and creative ideas, we decided to create an additional element for our proposal. When we submitted our traditional research proposal to the Space Needle we also shared this story with them. We are not sure what came of our ideas, but we would love to see this happen.
It’s yet another rainy February afternoon in Seattle. At least it’s Friday you think as you check your text messages. It’s from a woman you have just started seeing. She is back early from a trip that was going to last through the weekend. Her plane has just landed and she will drop by your office soon.
Everything has been going well between the two of you and you want to make it a splendid evening without seeming over-eager. You want to go somewhere intimate and secluded but with some excitement.
With her at your side, you drive the short five minutes from downtown to Seattle Center. You pull up to the valet just below the Space Needle. “Where are we going?” she asks with some surprise. The valet opens her door and then yours and greets you by name.
You walk up to the elevator, passing the front desk and ticket line.
“Not the Space Needle and all the tourists?” she asks.
“Just wait, it’s not what you expect,” you reply.
She gives you a puzzled look as you pull out an emerald green metallic card from your wallet and flash it at the woman operating the elevator.
“Head right up,” she says.
The two of you ride up the elevator looking over a foggy Seattle. Lights slip through the filtered sky. You walk out of the elevator with some conventioneers. They turn to the right following the sign to the Sky City restaurant.
You and your date turn to the left and head down a stark hallway. You come to an industrial looking door with a simple sign that reads “Elevator Room.”
You swipe your emerald green card over a small red light to the right of the door. When you do, you hear a soft click near the door lever. You turn it and let her in.
Soft pale-orange light glows from a row of exposed light bulbs. She quickly scans the room, with a startled yet pleased look. There is a long wooden bar with brass fixtures. The room is small but crowded with people talking, laughing, drinking.
You walk up to one of the few small tables in the room near the window. There is an unexpected contradiction between the coziness of the room and the expansive view of Seattle outside the long row of large porthole windows. It suggests the feeling of floating over the city in some historic airship. As you think about this, you notice that the style of the room is a bit industrial with nods to times past mixed with a future that never happened.
A waitress slides you the menu with an inviting assortment of cocktails, champagnes, wines, and exotic beers. Many feature local ingredients and spirits. The prices are stiff but so are the drinks.
“How did you find this place?” she asks, somewhat bewildered.
“I heard about it from one of the bartenders. He normally works at a place near my house but serves up here about once a month. He gave me the membership card, but most people who live in Washington pay $206 a year. If you are from somewhere else, you are only allowed in with a guest or for a steeper membership fee.”
You order one drink and then another. You settle in and decide to look at the food menu. It is not elaborate but authentic. The prices are higher than the land-based bars 500 feet below, but it is much more reasonable than a place like Canlis. The atmosphere, ingredients, and vibe of the patrons make this a place you want to stick around for the rest of your evening.
Your conversation is only interrupted by the occasional moments to eat, sip your beverages, and glance outside. As the night lingers on, more clouds coat the sky.
White speckles begin to drift downwards.
“It’s snowing,” she smiles. You both watch the white flecks dance across the sky as you enjoy your last drink.
– The Elevator Room at the Space Needle