Check In: The Sorrento Hotel

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This week I checked in on what's going on at The Sorrento this fall, as fall is such a perfect time to drop in to Pill Hill's iconic historic hotel. Fireplaces, books, fantastic brown liquor drinks and good old-fashioned hauntings -- what more does a cloud-plagued, sun-deprived Seattleite need? 

What's got me most excited is the idea, unfortunately only in its nascent stages, of periodically transforming the wonderfully cavernous and dark Hunt Club Bar into a small cinema, showing arty films organized around different themes. No word yet on when and exactly how this cinematic fun will become a reality, but keep your eye on it--if you've never managed to find a reason to spend an evening in the bar of the 102-year-old hotel, hopefully this will do it. 

It might also be worth poking your nose into the Hunt Club restaurant, where chef Ivan Szilak, a competitor in this Sunday's Lamb Jam, is in the middle of one of those great creative spurts that we all wish would happen more often. I don't know if I'm supposed to let this out of the bag or not, but I did get a bite of his Lamb Jam creation: a savory concoction of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, apricots and shank meat roasted in banana leaves, then braised in veal stock and served on a plantain chip with a garnish of fried parsley. If you're going to the lamb fest, it's one to look forward to. 

The hotel folks are also hoping that their resident ghost, a lost soul who is apparently still looking for her Gold-Rush-going fella who never returned from the Yukon in the early 1900s, will be up for making a few appearances in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps to make her feel more social, they're transforming a large room off the lobby into a "Haunted Suite" with lots of ghoulish decor and ghost stories. Entrance to the suite, open October 28th-31st from 4-10 p.m. is a suggested donation of $5 to benefit the Puget Sound Blood Center (mwah-ha-ha).

And still going strong and kicking off its second season is Night School, Michael Hebb's ongoing series of offbeat talks, lectures, performances and discussions that keep the learning painless and the drinks plentiful.

Whether you want to get schooled on the history and distilling of absinthe or get your "social" fix by sitting in a room full of people who are quietly reading--together--there is plenty to choose from. DJ Spooky just kicked off the new season with a night of music and discussion, and upcoming guests include Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, Cameron Sinclair, co-founder and CEO (‘chief eternal optimist’)  for Architecture for Humanity, musician Kimya Dawson, and something called Psychlotron, defined as "colliding ideas together at high speed just to see what happens." (If you go, someone please come back and explain it to me.) 

The Sorrento Hotel, 900 Madison St, 206.622.6400,