WALLY'S WORLD: Time to slip away, find romantic nightspot

Christmas is a romantic time of year and therefore, you would correctly presume, romantic personalities rise to their full fruition during the holiday season.

I use “romantic” in the classic sense of philosophers like Nietzsche. Romantics want to overcome what they are; want to step into another dimension. To quote Jim Morrison, lead singer for The Doors – an unapologetic romantic if there ever was one – he directs us to “break on through to the other side.”

In this respect, the romantic usually prefers emotion, imagination and intuition over logic, feasibility and practical matters. As French poet and opium addict Jean Cocteau once wrote: “It is not of opium, but of logic and intellect that one needs to be cured.”

On more mundane levels, once a romantic personality has connected with a soul mate – undoubtedly another romantic – you’ll rarely find them in loud, crowded, vital-throbbing venues like Seeders, the Crystal or Yella Beak. Instead, they prefer evenings at home with their children, nights snuggling on the couch watching TV, gazing into each others eyes for extraordinary, almost meditative, lengths of time, or else exploring their physical attributes and delights. When they do leave the house, they aren’t looking for other people. They’re seeking a quiet, secluded ambiance.

There are any number of fine restaurants and cocktail lounges in Enumclaw, Buckley, and Black Dia-mond but, unfortunately, none of them really cultivate the atmosphere romantics want. However, there are several such clubs within easy striking distance. This is especially true in Seattle, which should come as no surprise if you’ve read these columns any length of time.

Two of the most intimate and affectionate-conducive clubs I’ve found in Seattle – or for that matter anywhere in the United States, including New York and San Francisco – are The Hunt Club in the Sorrento Hotel and Canlis on Lower Queen Anne Hill. On a wet, dark Northwest evening, nothing can stave of the chill like a cognac by the fireplace in plush couches and booths, where lovers can gaze longingly and loving at each other, surrounded by finely-carved oak and mahogany and bathed with candlelight.

And believe this if nothing else: these bartenders know what they’re doing. They’re familiar with all the newest laboratory-like chemical emulsifications and infusions, using induction burners, fruit oils and leeched fruit skins, to create concoctions that change color and taste as you drink them. Yet, they still appreciate and value old standbys like a Manhattan, that celebrate hard, rather harsh, booze instead of hiding it behind a cloak of fructose. And they know better than to tack a “tini” on the end of every drink’s name.

There’s rarely any music in either lounge though, on occasion, Canlis might feature a soft, light jazz pianist in the background. Needless to say, neither club has a TV over the bar.

So, do you want to make a profound impression on your date?

Both places require a sports coat, if not a tie. They can be expensive if you’re on a tight budget, but then, even if you can’t afford to eat there, you can probably afford a drink or two.

And anyway, money isn’t as important as atmosphere to a real romantic, which shows you just how impractical and foolish a romantic can be.

Happy holidays, everyone!

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