The Best Bars for Single Mingling in Seattle
According to the 2018 Census, more than half of Seattle is single -- and apparently not-so ready to mingle. While many in the Northwest corner are kind, friendly, and open once you get to know them, the “Seattle Freeze” -- a stand-offish, flaky, and sometimes downright cold culture -- doesn’t bode well for first impressions and leaves many in the area feeling frustrated with the dating scene.
How do you melt away that lumbersexual’s oversized-flannel shell? First, don’t open with a lengthy review of Nirvana’s "Nevermind." Second, hang out at the right spots. Whether your baby-to-be is a Birkenstock-clad dog lover, a pint-slinging hipster, a tattooed punk, or a clean-cut Amazon techie, these watering holes promise to help you break the ice and find love… if even for one night only.
Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is rife with welcoming bars and the Comet Tavern, built in 1948, is the area’s penultimate hang. Originally a divey hotbed for the city’s best bands -- The Comet saw performances from groups like the Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes, the Cave Singers groups before they got popular -- the bar moved towards more of a sit-and-chat experience. All you have to do is grab a bucket of bar peanuts and post up in one of the huge wooden booths. At night, seating gets scarce and the bar gets jam-packed, usually meaning you’re bound to be joined by a group looking to sit and converse with a stranger. And you never know where that might lead.
Another of Seattle’s legacy music bars is Chop Suey. Unlike Comet Tavern, Chop Suey continues to host a variety of local musicians almost every night of the week. The wealth of music performances provides a great chance to be exposed to local communities you wouldn’t otherwise come in contact with, offering up some new friends (and more-than friends) to be made. Go to one of the bar’s “Emo Nights” to meet your new gothic/pop-punk lover, or get out there for “Retro: Old School Dance Party” and get a little dirty with a fellow old soul. If the music makes the main room too loud for conversation, there’s an eclectic and cozy front bar and some quieter nooks -- the perfect spot to snuggle up and get to know each other.
There are a lot of fish in the Seattle sea, and at the Lava Lounge -- a tiki bar with a giant sea life mural, mounted shark jaw décor, and delicious rum drinks -- it’s apparent. Luckily, the Lava Lounge is a Belltown neighborhood staple, making it a comfortable spot full of twenty-something bar-hoppers and neighborhood mainstays alike. Even better: they’ve got a menu of tropical drinks that keep the festivities going (happy hours run every day), shuffleboard, and plenty of dim corners for you and your new catch to get your flirt on.
Jupiter Bar is another unique hang-out spot, on the same block as Lava Lounge. An art-meets-arcade bar with friendly bartenders, Jupiter brings a unique intersection of people together. In the front, stroll around and take in colorful murals and other funky art, move to a varied soundtrack of '80s and electronic music, or sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with a local. But the best way to “score” (WINK WINK) is to go into the back arcade. It’s easy to bond with a cutie when you’re playing multiplayer Teenage Ninja Turtles… didn't you know?
Pike Place Market
In Post Alley near Pike Place Market you'll find The Pink Door, a romantic restaurant and bar where you can find cabaret, burlesque, aerial trapeze, and live music almost every night of the week. Though it has a large dining room, The Pink Door’s whimsically lit bar area is where “inhibitions are few,” and singles can enjoy the spread of sexy entertainment. And, you can bet that your new crush will be dressed to the nines: The venue encourages guests to dress in a way that fits the playful, flapper-era aesthetic. A kink-friendly and saucy space, Pink Door is a great bar for singles to flirt confidently -- just don’t forget to check if you need to make a reservation, weekend nights fill up fast.
Got a dusty pair of boots you’d like to break out? Over near Green Lake, just to the northwest of the city center, find the Little Red Hen. This western-inspired bar hosts karaoke, as well as two-step and line dancing to live country music, seven days a week. And don’t you worry if dancing makes you nervous -- there are free lessons three nights a week starting an hour before the music, so you can boost your confidence and make some friends before the hoopla officially stars. While many couples will fill the dance floor, you’ll also find plenty of singles looking for a dancing partner. Little Red Hen offers you the chance to break out of your rain shell, put on Stetson, and ask that two-steppin’ babe for a dance.
Around the corner from the Little Red Hen is Ballroom, lit up with a neon sign of a dancing couple that might as well act as a bat signal for singles. On weekends, lines to enter this pool hall and dance club wrap around the block and for good reason: It’s spacious with romantic fireplaces indoors (and on their outdoor patio), offers a large variety of drinks and delicious food (get the pizza), and is perfect for large groups and events. That isn’t to say the entire bar will be groups, though -- there’s a bustling dancefloor that gives this place a nightclub feel and attracts singles from all over the city.
In the pursuit of sexual healing, never underestimate the power of The Orient Express, a Chinese restaurant and lounge inside of multiple refurbished train cars in Seattle’s SoDo district. Nostalgic and funky, with just a dose of industrial grittiness, the place is especially great for singles during their Saturday “Disco Nights.” This is when the lights go down, the disco goes up, and everyone dances in their '70s-era fashion staples. If loud polyester shirts, sequin bodysuits, yummy cocktails and the Bee Gees can’t spark new friendships -- what can?!
If you’re LGBTQ and single, this is the spot. Not only does Pony have amazing papier-mache penises hanging from the ceiling and out-of-this-world karaoke nights on Tuesdays, but they’ve got an outdoor patio with a retractable roof and gas fire pit that’s perfect for year-round flirting. They call themselves “Seattle’s most popular gay dive bar” and they aren’t wrong. The place is perpetually packed with gay singles looking for their next karaoke duet partner. Pro tip -- on Wednesdays, their happy hour goes all night.
Nacho Borracho—borracho meaning “drunk”—is one big Mexican fiesta complete with a variety of boozy slushies, colorful paper banners, Loteria card décor, and street-style Mexican food. On Broadway Ave. in Capitol Hill, the bar is close enough to the heart of the neighborhood to be bustling, but just far enough away to be its own thing. Meet your new main-squeeze while listening to one of the many live DJs who play the space, while waiting in line for a Frito pie at the bar’s taco window, or while hanging out in the back room by the photo booth. The space is so bright and welcoming—you just need to post up, get a little silly on their cheap margaritas, and wait for someone cute to approach you.
This artsy and LGBTQ-friendly space is known for its inclusiveness as well as fun and outrageous dance nights. On any given night, Re-bar brims with hipsters, freaks, geeks, artists, LGBTQ, intellectuals, punks, ravers, and clubbers all mingling openly on a large dance floor and at the adjacent bar. They often feature live DJs and weekly theme nights, like a steamy house music night, an '80s new-wave dance night, and most notably, “Night Crush,” a dance night dedicated to queers and their allies. Re-bar also offers theatre shows and monthly art installations -- highlighting how supportive and diverse this space is.
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