The Best Bars in Seattle Right Now
You could use a drink.
Let's face it, if there was ever a time you needed a drink, it's 2020. Luckily, you live in the Pacific Northwest, with its widely acclaimed wine region, a huge hops-growing industry supplying hundreds of craft brewers, and a maturing network of distilleries, all of which give Seattle bars new and old a veritable buffet of drinkable riches to play with.
Admittedly this can make it hard to choose between an equally rich array of excellent drinking destinations, but we did the hard work for you, assembling a list of our favorite places to drink that includes both longtime favorites, and newer options like a "gilded" Caribbean cocktail spot, a vegan bar from a beloved local quasi-celebrity, and one of the best new bars in the country.
This "low-lit, gilded refuge" north of Denny Park is serving up creative Caribbean-inpsired cocktails, and latin American snacks, in a space that's it's whimsical character despite transforming itself in the wake of COVID-19 by adding an outdoor space, and redesigning the interior to create individual "living rooms" where small groups can try GB's Pisco Punch with Gifford Pineapple Liquor & "sparkles," or their line of bottled carbonated cocktails.
How to order: Menus and payments are touch-less, and the bottled cocktails are available for delivery via their website.
Located inside The State Hotel, and named after a notable Seattle sportsman and entrepreneur who once owned a bar in the same building, BP elicits a kind of old-timey Americana with its decor, its food menu (fried chicken, Crab Louis, etc.), and its cocktail list -- which puts creative twists on classics like the 3 Martini Lunch (three different mini martinis), or the Gin Griffey Juniper, which is basically just a gin & tonic made with botanicals bought fresh from Pike Place market across the street.
How to order: Dine/Drink-in until 8pm, or order take-out/delivery at their website.
Stampede Cocktail Club
This whimsical drinks destination in an old house on 36th is run by a Reno native who spent years working in some of Seattle's best bars, and is designed to attract industry folks with its stylish and colorful (yet cozy) interior, sprawling patio, and a focus on killer cocktails with great names like the Mezcal-based How To Kill A Friend and the Desert Poetry made with tequila, passionfruit, and pineapple.
How to order: There's usually a wait list on weekends so get there early!
Beveridge Place Pub
Sprawling rooms filled with games, televisions, and cozy corners combined with a seemingly infinite number of taps make this beer bar one of our favorites. Comfortable and gently worn, much like the couches scattered around the space, the homey setting and tavern license (that’s no hard alcohol, just beer and wine) means that you can bring in your own food (and your dog).
How to order: All orders made via their website -- just include your table number.
The veteran crew behind Fremont’s Manolin took inspiration from their time in Sri Lanka when they opened this tiny Ballard space late last year. The dark wood and pink and blue paint on the walls are as rich as the short, precise cocktail menu, where Ghee comes in gin form in the curry leaf gimlet, and not just brushed onto their pillowy naan. You’ll want to tell all your friends about the crispy tender Kerala fried chicken, but just don’t bring them: There’s really no room for groups larger than four.
How to order: Open Tuesday-Sunday for dine-in, as well as pick-up and delivery. Reservations available at their website.
Mutsuko Soma gained fame for her subtle soba noodles at Kamonegi, but at her next-door bar, there’s no such understatement: This is a place for guests to explore sake and for Soma to experiment. The small bar carries dozens of varieties of sake and servers are always up to walk rookies or experts through the offerings and help you find one (or four) to try. Whichever you pick, it will go well with take-out from Kamonegi, which is your only eats option until they reopen their kitchen.
How to order: Purchase sake for carryout, curbside pickup or delivery at their website. Bar open Tuesday - Saturday with limited outdoor seating & hours.
While everyone was waiting... and waiting... to see what former Zig Zag bartender Erik Hakkinen would do with the old Lusty Lady spot he went ahead and opened an elegant addition to Belltown cocktail row. The drinks lean French, but ultimately this is a bartender’s bar, and thus includes agave spirits, rums, and Japanese whisky, along with the brandies, cognacs, and gins. Food, like the decor, is effortlessly simple but sophisticated -- tinned seafood, charcuterie, and snacks -- with a playful note, like the “Horns of Plenty:” caviar served with creme fraiche and Bugles. That said the menu is currently limited as they reopen.
How to order: You'll need a reservation if you hope to score a seat at one of their five tables.
Life On Mars
When beloved local radio DJ John Richards announced he would open a vegan bar featuring music on vinyl, Seattleites were torn: As much as everyone loves John in the Morning, it sounded like a magnet for the kind of aloof judgement reputed to come from folks who insist their ears need analog. With thousands of records to grab from the shelves and an intriguing cocktail menu that features bold flavors (and descriptions like “cool Icelandic menthol joy”), nobody needed to worry. Community comes first here, followed by a touchingly pure love for great music.
How to order: Currently only open for pick-up, delivery, or patio dining/drinking.
Linda’s is the platonic ideal of a Northwest bar, with good music, a vaguely woodsy vibe (provided in part by a taxidermied buffalo head above the bar), and plenty of Rainier tall boys. With more than two decades under its belt, this bar has laid out the welcome mat for Seattle’s most famous celebrities -- it is supposedly the last place Kurt Cobain was seen alive -- and its newest citizens alike, all without fanfare. Just a drink and a dark corner from which to watch the world go by. Also, their bathrooms are really nice. Just kidding, but the Cobain thing is true.
How to order: Pretty much as usual thanks to a variety of safety precautions.
It’s just like your home, only you don't have to do the cleaning, someone's in the kitchen whipping-up a variety of sandwiches and charcuterie, and suddenly, the living room shelves are lined with bottles of excellent wine. Seriously, this converted house brings all the comforts of home (with a lovely patio to boot) together with a well-curated wine bar. Taste through what’s open, have a glass and relax, or pay a small corkage to open any of the bottles in the store.
How to order: Just walk in. They are not currently taking reservations but have expanded their outdoor seating to help make social distancing easier.
Chuck's Hop Shop
Once a place to pick up cigarettes and malt liquor, this old corner store has undergone a slow but complete transformation into one of Seattle's leading beer bars (and spawned a second location in the Central District). Inside, 49 taps spill over with brews of all styles -- though the focus is on IPAs -- and they still sell a few snacks held over from the shop's previous incarnation, while outside you'll find a small patio and a rotating selection of Seattle's most popular food trucks.
How to order: Make a reservation at their website if you plan on sticking around. No reservations required for retail customers.
Knee High Stocking Co.
When it opened a decade ago, on what was then an out-of-the-way block on Olive, KHSC was at the cutting edge of a speakeasy resurgence. But now, in an effort to keep up with the times, it has expanded its Filipino-inspired menu and expanded the bar itself by adding a slightly misshapen subterranean space with rich wallpaper and a crystal chandelier. This effort has more than doubled the space and made it so (in normal times) you don't have to text ahead to get a seat anymore. One the thing that hasn't changed: There's still almost no way to tell there's a bar there from the street.
How to order: Now open Friday & Saturday nights with very limited seating (reservations required), but to-go cocktails are available for pick-up six days a week.
Owned by the same couple behind Seattle's legendary Rob Roy, and the almost equally great Navy Strength next door, No Anchor gets the nod because... well, because we couldn't exactly put ALL three on the list. And because NA's combination of "weird beer + rad food" make it an almost perfect expression of Seattle right now. Creative, casual, and upwardly mobile, but with just the right amount of fun.
How to order: Score take-out via their website, or make a reservation for a spot on their patio.
The Pine Box
One of the best beer bars in America (seriously, it’s good), the PB is located in a stunning old funeral home with a vaulted ceiling and tons of dark polished wood. It also takes an appropriately worshipful approach to the 30+ brews on tap, some of which they even pour through a flavor-infusing filter, giving them a... killer flavor. Thank you, thank you.
How to order: Pretty much as usual, just wear a mask and keep your distance. Or get take out via their website.
Bathtub Gin & Co.
It's easier to find than ever thanks to the new outdoor seating area near it's still largely unmarked entrance off an alleyway, but the secret's been out on this speakeasy-style bar for more than a decade. It makes some of the best cocktails in the city (like the bourbon/fig & maple syrup/lemon juice Death Star), all in a tiny, two-level space with a tin ceiling, and, surprise, an actual bathtub in the middle of the floor.
How to order: No reservations. To-go cocktails available.
Herb & Bitter Public House
We once named it Seattle’s best cocktail bar, thanks to a smart and mature drink menu centered around Italian amari (aperitifs, digestifs, and fernets, etc.) and one of the most beautiful bars in the city. It’s in a spectacular space, with a dark tin ceiling, a beautiful chandelier, and an oversized patio with a retractable roof that might be one of Seattle's best outdoor drinking spots.
How to order: Open with limited seating. To-go/delivery options available at their website.
Nominated for a 2020 James Beard award, and named the Best New American Bar in 2018, this funky drinking establishment from the people behind Rob Roy, and the next-door No Anchor, is ostensibly a tiki bar, but the drinks -- like the Japanese-inspired Space Crush, or the incredibly strong 1934 Zombie (limit two per guest) -- are so good it's become a can't miss cocktail destination.
How to order: Cocktails kits, etc. available for take-out via their website. In-person visits are limited to two hours.
Mischief on Canal
For years this Ship Canal-side distillery boasted only a tiny, hand-built retail shop/tasting room, but this summer they opened a rooftop bar overlooking the canal where you can enjoy some Northwest-inspired small plates (smoked oysters, shrimp & whiskey watermelon salad), and an array of classic cocktails made with the seriously good whiskey they make in the distillery downstairs.
How to order: Setting is limited, so reservations are highly recommended.
The Ballard Cut
Opened this summer by a pair of industry vets, TBC focuses on fresh, local food, and on whiskey that… um, is the opposite of local. Their spirits menus feature hundreds of choices from around the world -- particularly Japan -- all of which they'll be happy to share with you, and help pair with dinner options that include dry-aged steak, Dungeness crab linguine, and more.
How to order: Reservations recommended
This irreverent, moody cocktail spot a block or so from Broadway somehow manages to be seriously good without taking anything seriously. The drink menu is packed with boozy slushies, boilermakers, "trashcans", and other ironic booze options, while the food menu is highlighted by their version of fast food-style combos, including one with an upscale version of a Seattle Dog, cheesy fries & bar nuts. Oh, and if that's not enough, they promise the "weekends turn up", presumably with a not-so-straight face.
How to Order: Space is limited so hit 'em up on Instagram for a reservation. Seriously.