The Telling Detail

August 30, 2010

Six Seven Interior

In journalism, there’s something called the telling detail. It’s what professional journalists do when they observe the person they’re interviewing and writing about, or the place where a crime or fire has taken place, or a restaurant they are reviewing.

So if the person you are interviewing has a photo of President Obama in a frame on her desk, that might be a telling detail about the power and importance of the interviewee. Or if a 20-something sports an antique ring, that might be his or her telling detail. Or if a middle-aged man’s hair is dyed purple, that might be a clue as to their personality.

When we eat out at restaurants, I love to try to find the telling detail(s) that makes dining there a special experience.

Recently, while having a drink on the far edge of the bar at Six Seven in Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel, I noticed the ultra-cool tree branches sticking out of the log-like columns.

What makes the branches so weird and compelling are the metal brace-like pieces that hold them together.

Six Seven Tree

In their own unique, strange way those branches capture the zeitgeist of the place; they are the bar’s telling detail.

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