Gloomy weather often calls for a drink or two. And whilst Seattle’s greatest love might be coffee, that’s not to say the locals aren’t getting creative when it comes to their speakeasies, brew taps and neighbourhood bars. From killer cocktails in subterranean prohibition-era bars to the latest in the city’s exploding craft beer culture, there's a tipple for every taste here. And in the spirit of all things Seattle, the name of the game is independent, community spirited and neighbourhood centric bars. If you’re ready to swap your espresso for an espresso martini, here’s our guide to some of the best bar in Seattle.
Seattle is a city which loves its craft beers and a good old speakeasy, but that’s not to say the locals are averse to sipping a glass of wine or two. Wine bars may still be few and far between, but Bottlehouse is the exception that proves the rule. With its laid back, homey vibe being so laid back and homey you feel like you could be in your own home. The walls are adorned with dozens of shelves, where wait dozens of bottles of wines you can’t wait to try, and there’s even a patio outside so in warmer months you can lazily sip a glass of sauvignon blanc as you ponder how to make your house more like this. Ask the lovely bar staff for their recommendations of what to try from the bottles that are open, or pay the corkage if you’ve got your eye on something in particular. With a carefully curated selection of wines from across the globe, you can sip your way from Napa to New Zealand, all without leaving Seattle.
Bathtub Gin and Co
As far as speakeasies go, the cat is out of the bag with Bathtub Gin & Co, and it has been for many years. But whilst many people know that it exists, not everyone knows where to find it - of course, it’s concealed by an unmarked entrance that’s tucked away down an unassuming alleyway, in the former boiler room of a hotel. If their signature cocktails like the Death Star made from bourbon, fig and maple syrup and the Atticus Finch - gin, red vermouth, grapefruit juice and walnut bitters - can’t entice you, the fact that there’s a bathtub on the bar very well might. Novelty aside, this prohibition style bar shakes up expertly crafted tipples, and the bar staff certainly know their stuff when it comes to mixology.
Chuck’s Hop Shop
Chuck’s might look to you like a humble bottle shop, but that’s only because it sort of is. Or was, to be precise. What began as a lowly convenience store where locals stopped by to pick up their whisky slowly evolved into a neighborhood institution. Tables spill out onto the patio where you’ll find locals sipping on a mason jar or one of their craft tap brews (there are currently over forty to choose from) and munching on whatever’s being cooked up by the revolving handful of food trucks who park up out front. You can still stop by to refill a growler or seek out a new bottle of something to take away with you - they’re known for their global selection beers which numbers somewhere in the hundreds - but for the local experience, make sure to stay a while.
You don’t need to be in the know to know that Capitol Hill is the city’s most vibrant neighbourhood when it comes to nightlife, and that bar hopping here can turn into more of a marathon than a sprint. However you may not know, that amongst the niche concept bars and speakeasies that are dotted around, there’s a bar that sounds like something we’ve all dreamt of at some time or another. Pie Bar specialises in, you’ve guessed it, desserts and drinks. Make it your last stop of the night and enjoy a banana cream pie or a hearty slice of fruit crumble along with a butterscotch schnapps, amaretto or hazelnut liqueur based cocktail to indulge your sweet tooth.
As with all top notch pubs, the impressive drinks menu is matched only by the equally impressive gastro-pub-esque food menu. On a gloomy Seattle day, who wouldn’t want a wild boar sloppy joe burger, a pint of craft beer and perhaps a bourbon to round it all off with? With a rotating line up of no less than fourteen brews on draught and an even larger selection of excellent whiskies - ranging from single malts to rye, Scotch to Irish - all you need do is sit back, relax and enjoy the spirit of the place (which since you ask, is independent and attracts a creative crowd). With its dark wood panelling and vast windows, you’ll feel smug and warm on rainy days, and part of the local crew who call it their regular in no time.
Standard Public House
As the solitary brewery adrift in the Central District, Standard Brewing has unsurprisingly made a name for itself. And after a two year expansion, they’re how home to an adjoining brewpub, the Standard Public House. Get amongst the community orientated crowd who are lucky enough to call this their neighbourhood bar, taste your way through their signature house brews and laze away your afternoon on the heated outdoor patio. Locals pop in for growler refills or to get competitive with the boardgames, as well as to indulge in gourmet sarnies like Welsh rarebit with melted beer cheese and za’atar toast alongside your pint of choice. With a menu of food and craft brews so delicious, who could ask for more? But if you are asking for more, the lovely crew behind the bar shake a mean cocktail too, so you can get into the spirit with an Old Fashioned if that’s more your vibe.
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