In 2004, the Langston Hughes African American Film festival began as a simple weekend series. Nearly a decade later, the festival has expanded to feature more than 40 films over the course of nine days. When guests aren’t viewing feature-length movies or documentary shorts, they can attend workshops and interactive events, all focused on celebrating black filmmakers both up-and-coming and established.
In 1992, restaurant owner Carlos Kainz and chef Julie Guerrero first joined forces to open a tiny West Seattle bakery and café, a spot that quickly gained traction and outgrow its modest trappings. The duo packed up the winning operation and moved on to a larger space and a larger vision, renaming their venture Dulces Bistro & Wine and crafting an ambitious menu focusing entirely on Latin-fusion cuisine for dinner. Although Guerrero traces her family heritage back to Mexico, many of her dishes, including paella valenciana and boeuf bourguignon, show strong European influences. Unadulterated Latin staples pepper the menu, such as the green chicken enchiladas that serve as a staple in Mexico City and at Sam I Am’s Cinco de Mayo parties.
The 25th anniversary celebration at Madison Pub reflected the bar's general attitude: not a lot of frills or fuss, just good drink specials in a comfortable neighborhood joint. The Capitol Hill gay bar prides itself on its regulars, including its staff—the current owner started as a bartender there in 1992. Perhaps Seattle Gay News described it best: "Madison Pub is the kind of place where you'll always see a familiar face." Madison Pub sticks to tried-and-true bar staples: a jukebox, pool and darts tourneys, and Mariners, Seahawks, and Sounders games on its high-def TVs. In the early years, it didn't even serve liquor, sticking to beer and wine. Today, however, bartenders concoct cocktails at the full bar, along with cracking open domestic and imported beers.
At Poco Wine Room, the influences come from near and far. More than 20 wines available by the glass represent wineries from the Pacific Northwest as well as locales such as Italy, Argentina, France, and Spain. The origins of the food are just as eclectic: the monthly rotating menu may include Albondigas—pork-and-beef meatballs in a tomato piquillo sauce—or orange-chicken skewers topped with crushed almonds, which chefs favoring local ingredients whenever possible. Even the beer list spans the globe, with brews such as Pike Place IPA and Tieton Wild Washington cider sharing billing with standbys like Red Stripe.
Where to sit: Siddle up to one of two ceramic-tile bars for easy access to the expertly crafted cocktails, huddle into one of the small indoor tables, or vie for a seat on the tiny sidewalk patio.
What’s in a Name? Artusi takes its name from Pellegrino Artusi, who compiled recipes from all over Italy to write the foundational 1891 cookbook, The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well.
Filone: a common Italian bread, similar in texture to a French baguette
Speck: cured pork leg seasoned with juniper, laurel, and rosemary
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Work up and appetite by perursing late-19th and early-20th-century masterpieces at the Frye Art Museum (704 Terry Ave.), a local institution since 1952.
After: Treat your ears to an eclectic indie band at Chop Suey (1325 E Madison St.), or get in on one of the venue’s famous dance parties.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Head next door to Chef Jason Stratton’s other restaurant, Casina Spinasse (1531 14th Ave.), which is a fancier, more traditional Italian eatery.
It’s hard to believe that the space known today as Pony was once a 1930s gas-station building. Now, thumping beats reverberate from the walls as featured DJs spin new wave, punk rock, and indie tunes. Guests flock for the dance music, as well as for the happy-hour beverages served all week long: “People [were] having so much fun, it was kind of scary,” said Bethany Jean Clement in a 2011 review for The Stranger. This carefree vibe has been cultivated at the Pony since the 1970s when it first opened—it’s also what the bar’s proprietors sought to restore when they reopened it in 2009. The newer Pony boasts an outdoor space that its predecessor never had: a patio with a retractable roof and gas fire pit where guests have full reception if they want to tell their friends to join via smoke signal.