Washington Bars & Nightlife
Bars & Nightlife city
1416 34th Ave., Madrona
This casual wine bar/shop is in a converted house in the mostly residential neighborhood of Madrona. Come here for a tasting, glass, or a bottle—PNW wines are well represented here, but there's also an international selection, plus microbrews and ciders (and some wine on tap). Bottlehouse's small plates revolve around cheese—there's a cheesemonger board; mac and cheese made with gruyere, cheddar, goat gouda; and a brie sandwich—which you pair with side greens or sweets. Hang in their living room-esque space, or on the outdoor deck on a sunny day.
300 E. Pike St., Capitol Hill
A summer 2016 addition to Seattle's drink scene, Foreign National is from the same team behind favorite French-Vietnamese restaurant, Stateside. It's dungeon-dark inside but with plenty of playful touches like a spinning, metallic disco(-esque) ball and faucets carved into the shape of swans. The strong cocktail menu here highlights Southeast Asian ingredients, as do the adventurous bar snacks.
1050 N. 34th St., Fremont
The folks behind this Fremont craft brewery have beer down to a science: with a startup-like approach, they merge automated technology with a DIY ethos, ensuring excellent quality control over their brews made from hand-picked, locally sourced ingredients. This so-called "urban beer garden" is serviced by a really friendly bar staff—and, with their beer-hall-style communal tables and free snacks (pretzels, apples), a comfortably laissez-faire attitude. Their sizeable outdoor seating is covered in case of the compulsory Seattle drizzle.
240 2nd Ave. S., Pioneer Square
Business partners and husband-wife pair Josh and Nancy Kelly had been dreaming of their own restaurant for years when they fell in love with Good Bar's historic space in Pioneer Square. Unfortunately, preserving the same vintage details they fell in love with severely limited the space Josh (a long-time chef) would have to cook in. To adapt, he flipped the concept from a restaurant with a bar to a bar with food. The cocktail and beer program here is one of the city's best, but Josh's culinary pedigree means that even the limited bar food menu is pretty show-stopping. This place is best enjoyed during happy hour, when you can order a pile of charcuterie, or the surprisingly good sloppy joe, to snack on with an after-work cocktail.
Percy’s & Co.
5233 Ballard Ave. N.W., Ballard
This restaurant-slash-bar in Ballard is the brainchild of owners Jeff Ofelt—formerly of Bimbo's, Cha Cha Lounge, King's Hardware—and Wade Weigel, of Rudy's and Seattle’s Ace Hotel. Chef Dave Lamping, known for his work at restaurants Bastille and Smith, curated their menu of small plates, so whether you’re in for a cocktail or a bite, this is a great spot to grab a seat outside—if you’ve caught a lucky break from the Emerald City’s infamous drizzle. Locals love Percy’s for brunch, as well.
1108 N.W. 52nd St., Ballard
Stoup Brewing has all the aesthetics that have come to define the Northwest's explosion of microbreweries: Aluminum siding, big, garage-style doors, twinkle lights, and tons of both indoor and outdoor seating. Here, in particular, we've found the service to be friendly, and the purveyors to be utterly passionate about their craft—two of the three owners were scientists in their past lives, and admittedly bring a geeky, detail-oriented zeal to every brew. There are almost always food trucks outside, though you're welcome to order delivery if, for some reason, there's a gap in service.
The Neighbor Lady
2308 E. Union St., Central District
A second bar by the owners of much-adored Twilight Exit, you'll know the Neighbor Lady by a large painted sign on the brick wall outside. Inside, you'll find the bar's signature brocade wallpaper and Victorian light fixtures which, when combined with the dark wood of the bar, make for a decidedly moody vibe that's exactly what the doctor ordered for cozy, rainy nights. It's a point of pride that there are a lot of vegetarian meals on the menu here, but we like it best for a stiff drink and a pile of fries.
2514 E. Cherry St., Central District
You can always count on a dive bar for a great burger and beer, and Twilight Exit is considered one of the best in Seattle (the aforementioned burgers are grass-fed and ground in house). At night, they've got a jukebox, a photo booth, shuffleboard, and karaoke every Sunday.
Zig Zag Café
1501 Western Ave., Downtown
This hidden gem is tucked away behind a staircase right by Pike Place Market—inside you’ll find great craft cocktails, a well-curated local beer offering, and delicious eats—from nibbles, like artisan cheeses and fresh oysters on the half shell, to larger plates influenced by Mediterranean cuisine like octopus, lamb meatballs, and marinated chicken kebabs. Its elegant, well-lit interior has a cozy, upbeat, nice-but-unpretentious vibe. There’s outdoor seating in back, too.
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