It’s amazing not only how many bars there are in Seattle, but how wildly different they all are from each other. Every neighborhood has its own cool spot with something unique to offer, and we’re here to tell you the secrets of some of those local favorites, and what exactly separates them from the pack.
This bar in Denny Triangle is the ultimate dive bar. With a neon sign in their window reading, “We Cheat Tourists-N-Drunks Since 1929,” and a motto like, “Alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929,” you know that they’re pretty proud of their long, gritty history. Check out the periscope in the men’s bathroom with a view of the Space Needle, and look for bikini-clad girls on roller skates feeding random parking meters in the summer. And go for their happy hour—microbrews are only $3, domestics are $2, and you can get a cheeseburger and fries for $3.50.
This bar is the classic industrial-area salvaged space, which is perfect for Ballard, a neighborhood with deep roots in the shipping and manufacturing industries. The Ballard Loft was opened in 2008 in a space that had previously been a machine shop, and all the railings inside and out were created by the previous tenant. The garage door, large crane hanging from the ceiling, natural-cut wood, and bronze-faced bar are all re-purpoesd, and the atmosphere of the Loft perfectly synthesizes Ballard’s Maritime history with its vibrant recreational present.
This little secret on Queen Anne hill is not only some of the best Mexican food in Seattle, but their bar is not to be missed. Built inside of an old craftsman house, the décor of Nana’s is half pueblo, half saloon, with extremely bright, warm colors and ample decorations. If you have a birthday or special event coming up, we recommend renting out their upstairs, which has a full bar and a fireplace. Drinking a margarita inside this lively hideout feels like a festival.
This bar has a mouthful of a name, which makes sense—9 Million in Unmarked Bills is one of Seattle’s best gastropubs, and anything on the menu at this prohibition, almost apothecary-style bar is going to be delicious and satisfying (and during their food happy hour, very affordable!). Their speciality is their whiskey—their whiskey menu is literally pages long, and its easy, fun, and less expensive to explore the many choices by getting whiskey flights. We recommend having a seat at the pinball table for two, and walking by Fremont’s iconic Lenin statue on your way out!
This Queen Anne restaurant is the perfect place to pair a cocktail or a glass of wine with an exquisite small, locally-sourced plate in an elegant setting. We recommend going to their ‘Social Hour’ Tuesday through Thursday from 5-6pm, when they offer a bunch of small plates for under $10, allowing you to get a taste of some of Seattle’s finest cuisine without the price tag—some examples include rabbit pate or white bean mousse tartine. Everything at Lloyd Martin is seasonal and straight from a local farmer. The many choices from their long wine list are $2 off a glass, and their Vesper and rye Manhattans are only $8, so there’s no reason not to treat yourself!