When you’re sitting down at an airport bar, you’ve resigned yourself to accepting a few facts. One, you’re going to be in an airport for longer than most people would prefer. Two, you’re going to be paying a lot for the privilege of boarding an airplane with a stomach full of hot food and a buzz. And three, the bar you’re going to be sitting in will be crowded with people trying to drink away the lingering annoyance of dealing with the TSA. Luckily, if you’re in Sea-Tac airport, you only have to resign yourself to the length of time you’re spending between security and takeoff. Ladies and gentleman, I introduce to you, the Mountain Room Bar of Terminal A.
Two moving sidewalks and seven minutes of walking takes you all the way down to the end of Terminal A, a place I’d never been until a four hour delay turned Sea-Tac into my sister’s and my playground. Once we found out about the delay, we knew we had two choices. We could wallow in sorrow, hoping we would eventually find our way onto a plane before we ran out of reading material, or we could catch a buzz and hit the ground running in San Francisco. If the Sleepless in Seattle nightgown in my closet is any indication, the latter seemed like a sweeter way to start our vacation.
We started walking, knowing we’d eventually find a bar where we could spend a few hours. We passed the busiest bars closest to security with a quickness. We had time to spare, but we weren’t going to spend it waiting for beers. We needed something further in the depths of the airport. We walked towards Terminal B, and came across the overtly racist Africa Lounge, which offers such African favorites as a Caesar salad or a BBQ bacon cheeseburger. A bit like Goldilocks, we kept on trucking, knowing in our party hearts that we could do better. We would find the platonic ideal.
Finally, we reached the end of Terminal A and found our beacon. Next to Gate A18, the Mountain Room Bar. Neither outwardly racist nor even close to busy, we sat down at one of the many, many empty tables. On the beer menu, a sign of what was to come. With any beer, a shot was only $3. Vacation was beginning. Our Coronas and shots of tequila went down without much trouble, but soon we realized how necessary it would be to focus on longevity. This was a marathon, not a sprint. We needed food.
My sister and I are very different people, but there has always, always been one thing we’ve agreed on. The best bar foods are wings and nachos, no question. Our order was settled within seconds. The nachos, fully passable, were better than what I would expect from an airport, but the real star of that delay was the wings. Breaded and fried to a craggy, crunchy finish, they were easily the most intensely crispy wings I’ve ever bitten into. The breading held the rendered fat in the wing, making each bite juicy and crisp at the same time. Bigger wings always make me nervous, because the number of undercooked wings I’ve encountered in my life is far too high, but Mountain Room Bar seems to understand that there is really no way to overcook a chicken wing. In my two trips there, none of my wings were even close to undercooked.
It feels a little bit silly to sing the praises of an airport bar, but being delayed in one of the most uncomfortable places on earth means you search for the small things that make you feel a little bit better. Sometimes it’s the outlet that’s the perfect charger cord distance to your seat, but other times it’s a few shots and wings with your sister while you wait for the debauchery to really begin. I haven’t fully scouted the first one, but I can guarantee you the Mountain Room Bar has the second one covered.