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An old-growth bar in a forest of stripling condos and high-end furniture shops, the Two Bells remains one of Belltown's rare constants. The burgers, served on unwieldy French rolls with caramelized onions and mustard sauce, are exceptional. Plus, the cooks don't overlook the little things—the potato salad has zip, the pickles aren't shriveled and bruised, and they've even got bendy straws. The allure of the tavern, however, extends past the food and beer; it's a friendly place and has always been.
You're not going to find TVs strung above the bar with talking heads blaring all night long, but what you'll likely find at the Two Bells Tavern on election night is somebody who either holds office, is running for office, or is helping somebody else campaign. This old-school haunt is part diner, part neighborhood watering hole, and a sentimental favorite for those in the know. (Who needs TVs when you can check the returns on your iPhone, anyway?) The most recent local election night found City Council member Jean Godden holding court in one of Two Bells' signature red vinyl booths. She was savoring an easy win, the thought of a second term, and pontificating about the possibility of extending the streetcar beyond South Lake Union. On a separate visit in March 2007, I wagered to the raised eyebrows of some of the city's finest political consultants that Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee. Perhaps Two Bells isn't just a good place to catch up on the political gossip—maybe it's also a lucky charm.—Aimee Curl
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