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An editor's guide to drinking around town

Seattle

Seattle's justly famous for producing world-class craft brews, but if you spend all of your time choosing between triple-hopped suds from the latest nano-brewery and a bacon-flavored brown ale, you might miss out on the city's sweet swill alternatives. Luckily, our Seattle editor Brad Foster is here to help you drink in the best that Seatown has to offer. And yes, that does include beer.

Best Club: Seattle doesn't really do clubs. There are no bottles, no VIP rooms, no velvet ropes -- just kids from the 'burbs filling a few spots in Pioneer Square or Belltown. Capitol Hill's Q is something different: a gleaming EDM edifice with the most powerful sound system on the West coast, no dress code, and their own line of vodka. It's a place that people who live in Seattle actually go to.

Best Cocktail Bar: In the wake of Murray Stenson's departure from Zig Zag, there're a handful of sweet cocktails spots vying to be Seattle's best. Liberty is the most laid-back, Canon the most serious, Bathtub Gin and Knee High Stocking Company the most speakeasy-ish, Tavern Law the "coolest", and Vessel the most approachable. Try 'em all to see the difference.

Best for Work: Close to both the downtown business district and the Amazon-dominated South Lake Union, Vessel is the perfect post-work spot for some light nosh and a next-level cocktail prepped by a rotating crew of bartenders, culled from the city's top spots.

Best Drink: Aged cocktails, meticulously crafted prohibition-era imbibeables, house-infused liquors & bitters... there're plenty of places to get those. But the only place you can get an outrageous, only slightly ironic $50 margarita w/ 100yr Grand Marnier & Patron Platinum is at West Seattle's Mission.

Best Wine Bar: A refreshingly simple spot with a tidy selection of Northwest wines (and cocktails made almost exclusively with local spirits), the Clever Bottle is the kind of place to pretend you're sophisticated while subtly ogling the crowd of legitimately sophisticated women this place usually attracts.

Best Beer Bar: Many a watering hole here is dedicated to craft suds, but the Pine Box takes the top spot over places like the Burgundian and Brouwer's because its setting inside an old funeral home is to... (sigh)... die for. Yup. Killed it with that joke... and then did it again!

Best Local Beer:With so many options, it's hard to believe most people aren't at least a little inebriated all the time/can't pick just one, but if you have to, hit Emerald City Beer Company's space in the old Rainier brewery and, in addition to sampling some experimental drafts, pound a racily arted can of Dottie's Seattle Lager.

Best Local Hang: It may not look like much from the outside, but on the inside, Vito's is an affectionate, partly ironic homage to hard-drinking decades past, right down to the throwback Italian eats, old-school lounge acts, and extensive use of red vinyl.

Best Brewery: Most breweries have a tasting room or restaurant, and some of them, like Bellevue Brewing Company and Fremont's Outlander, are particularly sweet. But the best is obviously Maritime's pirate-themed Jolly Roger taproom where, in addition to next-level beers, they've got tempura-fried bacon and Seattle's best sliders.

Best Jukebox: Any bar with a motto like "alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929", all-day breakfast, and a jukebox playing Coltrane, The Pixies, Tom Waits, and... um, Wham, is probably the place for you. So why aren't you at Mecca Cafe & Bar right now?

Best Outdoor Spot: If it's one of the 71 days a year that it's not at least partially cloudy, then Marination Ma Kai is where you want to be. This Alki Beach-adjacent offshoot of one of Seattle's best food trucks serves Hawaiian-influenced street food in a beer garden that overlooks downtown.

Best Place to Day Drink: You might think you're dreaming when you're greeted by Pike Place Bar & Grill's old-school divy vibe, seriously cheap drinks, and view overlooking Pike Place Market, but you'll be snapped into reality as soon as you hurriedly order an afternoon's worth of shots.

Best for Partying: Von Trapp's is what takes the place of nightclubs among discerning Seattleites. The cavernous space boasts two giant bars prepping unique, beer-based cocktails, five indoor bocce courts, and shareable eats that include housemade sausages. Note that it even has lines like a nightclub, so unless you like the sound of music (get it!? Von Trapps? The Sound of Music?) from outside, get there early.

Hottest Girls: Big-top-circus-inspired Unicorn is located in the heart of Capitol Hill's busiest nightlife strip and has multiple levels/bawdily named cocktails/fried candy bars for dessert. Plus Macklemore's Thrift Shop video was shot there, so it's likely that the lovely hipster ladies who flock there actually prefer dudes who dress funny.

Easiest Place to Get Laid: If you're having trouble picking up the chicks at Lower Queen Anne's Pesos (or at the nearby Toulouse Petit, or Ozzie's) just wait till all the guys who play for the Sounders (and anyone pretending they do) leave, then move in for an easy kill.

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1. Liberty 517 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

Liberty's a comfortable, laid-back cocktailery in Capitol Hill.

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2. Q Nightclub 1426 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122

Q Nightclub boasts two bars, an elevated mezzanine, a unisex (!...?) bathroom, and a custom sound system, all of which the NYC nightlife-vet running the place has stuffed into a cavernous, century-old auto garage.

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3. Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium 928 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium boasts an astounding collection of wine and spirits (a 94-page menu!), and they hold the title for having the largest selection of American whiskey in the world.

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4. Bathtub Gin & Co. 2205 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Bathtub Gin & Co.'s a slick speakeasy in Belltown.

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5. Knee High Stocking Co. 1356 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122

Knee High Stocking Co. is a speakeasy-style bar in Capitol Hill serving up classic, early 20th century cocktails.

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6. Tavern Law 1406 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

This classy Cap Hill boozer has won many accolades, and for good reason. Try their egg-white whiskey cocktail, or pretty much anything else their expert bartenders recommend.

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7. Vessel 624 Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101

A polished wood furnished cocktail bar located downtown, Vessel offers a few signature plates for lunch, including an interesting mash-up of foie gras and buttered popcorn. The ever-changing cocktail menu is curated nightly by a different bartender.

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8. Mission 2325 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

The wrought-iron and river rock heavy spot is the only one that serves an outrageous, only slightly ironic $50 margarita w/ 100yr Grand Marnier & Patron Platinum.

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9. Clever Bottle 2222 2nd Ave, Ste 100, Seattle, WA 98121

A refreshingly simple spot with a tidy selection of Northwest wines (and cocktails made almost exclusively with local spirits), the Clever Bottle is the kind of place to pretend you're sophisticated while subtly ogling the crowd of legitimately sophisticated women this place usually attracts.

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10. The Pine Box 1600 Melrose Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Opened in the old funeral home that used to house Chapel, this 120-seater's pouring the same number of beers Larry Bird probably drank with Wade Boggs every night after a victory (33) in a vaulted space decked w/ a U-shaped bar built using shelves that held ashes from the crematorium, and a poster in memory of Bruce Lee, whose funeral was held there in '73.

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11. Emerald City Beer Lab 3100 Airport Way S #8100, Seattle, WA 98134

After years of being used as artist lofts, and by Tully's to roast coffee, the Old Rainer Brewery's turned a portion of the old cold fermentation area into a high-ceiling'd/green-and-white-painted miniature brewing facility where they're developing commercial brews, as well as sharing the one-off, mico-batch results of their beer experiments.

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12. Vito's Restaurant & Lounge 927 9th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Vito's serves boot food ranging from antipasti (sirloin Carpaccio w/ arugula, shaved Parmesan & capers), to pasta (the black tiger prawns/black angel hair pasta/spicy red sauce'd Scampi Nero d'Angelo), and specials like the red sauce covered 12oz ribeye Steak Piazzola.

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13. The Jolly Roger Taproom 1111 NW Ballard Way, Seattle, WA 98107

There're 14 craft ales and lagers (including cask-conditioned/nitro numbers), beer-battered bacon, and pan-fried oyster sliders, all of which pretty much ensure you'll have a... waitforit... maritime.

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14. The Mecca Cafe & Bar 526 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Any bar with a motto like "alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929", all-day breakfast, and a jukebox playing Coltrane, The Pixies, Tom Waits, and... um, Wham, is probably the place for you. So why aren't you at Mecca Cafe & Bar right now?

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15. Marination Ma Kai 1660 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

"Ma Kai" means "by the sea", and that's exactly where this waterfront establishment is located. Serving up tasty tacos made from fresh ingredients, this Hawaiian-Korean fusion restaurant is all about finding the best of both worlds and melting them together. There's also a killer beer selection, and you can purchase "Nunya", the secret sauce used by the restaurant on many of its dishes, receiving a free slider or taco with each jar purchase.

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16. Pike Place Market 85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101

This is one of the country's oldest public farmers markets, and is home to a zillion unique vendors selling crafts, specialty foods, fresh produce, and playing live music.

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17. Von Trapp's 912 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

German resto Von Trapp's three core principles are bocce, brats, and beer. Hit the court and finish off with a hearty chicken wiener schnitzel.

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18. Unicorn 1118 East Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

Supposedly, the folks at Unicorn will deep-fry anything. Test that theory at this ridiculously high-concept French-circus-styled drinkery with vividly striped walls and zebra patterned/faux-period furniture.

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19. Peso's Kitchen & Lounge 605 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Peso's is designed from top-to-bottom to please, featuring everything you could want out of a Mexican restaurant -- and a whole lot more. Breakfast served until 3pm? Check. A premium Tequila selection? Check. Oh, and the waitresses may just be hotter than the food. So, check mate.

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