Food & Drink

The Most Festive Places to Grab a Drink in Seattle During the Holidays

Published On 12/22/2016 Published On 12/22/2016
Sun Liquor
Courtesy of Sun Liquor
Courtesy of Sun Liquor

Sun Liquor

Capitol Hill

Both locations -- the original cocktail bar on Summit, and the newer distillery nine blocks away -- are amazing booze destinations. But come Christmas time, all of said amazingness is eclipsed by the excitement generated by seasonal, aged eggnog, which is available for a limited time during the holidays, and has quickly become a Seattle tradition. This year you can only get it on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Hotel Sorrento

Fireside Room

First Hill

This living room of a bar (it’s filled with Honduran mahogany woodwork, leather wingback chairs, etc.) somehow manages to feel even warmer during the holidays, thanks to elegant Christmas decor and a string of seasonal performances from carolers, jazz singers, and more.



How could going to a vaguely nautically themed bar that never takes its Christmas lights down, starts serving at 6am, and hosts morning bingo/regular karaoke not be a good idea during the holidays? Sorry, we've been drinking the hot buttered rums since 6am, was that question rhetorical?

Il Bistro


This bar/eatery on Post Alley is consistently warm and inviting, but gets even more so when the tasteful holiday decorations (think poinsettias and evergreens) are put up. Eventually the temperature outside goes down and steams over the windows which shuts the subterranean spot off from the bustling Pike Place Market above. It's an especially wise choice for those looking for a romantic place to eat on Christmas Day, when IB'll be serving a three-course prix fixe featuring things like butternut squash soup, an herb-crusted rack of lamb, and a chocolate-hazelnut torte.

Zig Zag


This legendary Seattle bar on the stairs below Pike Place Market made our list for one reason: Its world-renowned hot buttered rum, which is made using a 25-year-old recipe, features a rich blend of butter and ice cream with just the right amount of sugar and spices, and is basically Christmas in a cup.

Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub



This boisterous pub between First Ave and Post Alley always makes a big deal of holidays -- St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, any excuse for celebratory imbibing, actually -- and Christmas is no exception. The place is covered in holiday decorations, it's a destination for people on Santa-themed pub crawls, and the atmosphere is always... well, merry, making it the perfect escape from family dinners.

Fairmont Olympic Hotel

The Terrace Lounge at the Fairmont Hotel


The stately two-story lobby of this hotel takes on an almost magical quality during the holidays thanks to stunning Christmas decorations that typically include a towering tree right outside the lobby bar. It’s there you can post up in a leather lounge chair, drink something from its Washington-heavy beer/wine/cider menu, and hopefully forget about all the shopping you probably have to do on 5th Ave outside.

Rob Roy

Rob Roy


Home to a female Seattle bartender you need to know, the Double R is one of The Town’s more ambitious cocktails spots. That extends to the holidays, when they host a class called Holiday Drinks That Don't Suck, and create a cocktail Advent Calendar, introducing a new beverage every day, including one this year called the Yippie Ki Yay Motherf****r!, which is exactly what you'll say when you taste how good it is.

Victoria Holt



This charming winery in a converted home is no stranger to best lists -- it's one of Seattle's best wine bars, and has one of the city's best patios -- and it continues in that tradition because drinking here in December feels like going over to a friend’s house for the holidays (only with better a better wine selection/food). But mostly because of its spicy mulled wine, which is made from the owner’s personal recipe, and a favorite with regulars once the weather gets cold.

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1. Sun Liquor 607 Summit Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

Sun Liquor's a Capitol Hill distillery & bar that also serves New American dinner and brunch dishes (options include a Tilamook cheddar "Tiki" burger with grilled pineapple and buttermilk biscuits and gravy). This spot makes top notch cocktails (duh), the likes of which include riffs on the classics like French 75's (Sun's Oslo 75 features Aquavit and sloe gin) plus original creations, all of which are picture perfect to sip in SL's plush, speakeasy style establishment.

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2. Fireside Room 900 Madison St, Seattle, WA 98104

At the Hotel Sorrento on First Hill, the Fireside Bar is only a “bar” at night — during the day, it goes by Fireside Room, and is the ideal setting for sipping coffee and making serious headway in your novel. The opulent living room-style space is replete with Honduran mahogany woodwork, leather wingback chairs, and beaded lampshades. At night, the room is warmed and lit by a roaring (gas, but quite realistic) fire, the ideal setting for consuming high quality drinks and elegant bar bites. Cozy up with a cheese plate and a cocktail, because sometimes it gets… cold, kind of.

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3. Baranof Bar & Restaurant 8549 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

There's nothing like waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to catch a solid game of bingo. The Baranof might be the only place in Greenwood (or the entire city) to offer it. It's equal parts diner and dive bar serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day. The nautical-themed diner and dive also hosts karaoke at night and is home to a bustling late-night scene (despite its opening at 6am). Plus, there's a sign outside that reads, "Hot Beer, Lousy Food, Bad Service." I don't know about you, but I'm on my way.

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4. Il Bistro 93 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101

Tucked away under Pike Place Market, Il Bistro is a subterranean trattoria serving up Italian favorites in a quaint space with white tablecloths, a wood-paneled, marble bar, and an (extremely) sizeable selection of beverages. The menu features familiar, classic dishes like calamari, bruschetta, Bolognese, lasagna, and whole-roasted fish. The liquor list is chock-full of the standard spirits (heavy on the scotch and whiskey), plus amaro and aperitifs, cognac and armagnac, grappa, and fortified wines. The wine list is an entity in itself, with nearly 15 pages of both Italian and American wines, covering a wide variety of winemaking regions in each country. Trust us, you will not leave thirsty.

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5. Zig Zag Cafe 1501 Western Ave., Seattle, WA 98101

This warm, intimate cocktail haven and American eatery in Pike Place has got your next date night covered. Plush banquettes flank the hip, bistro-inspired space, and a stellar happy hour (5-7pm Monday through Friday) makes it easy to knock back a few. Meticulously crafted entrees like the 12 hour beef shank with malted barley and horseradish gremolata are savory and sophisticated.

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6. Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub 1916 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101

Perched above Pike Place Market in Post Alley, Kells is everything you’d expect from an Irish pub. The atmosphere is inviting, cozy, and haunted by the ghosts of its previous tenant -- Butterworth & Sons mortuary. (Don’t worry, the bar is stocked with holy water to ward off said ghosts.) It’s also stocked with Bycastle sausage rolls, Shepherd’s pies, and Limerick ham sandwiches. Stop by for happy hour, to catch a soccer game, or to down a pint Guinness or three and witness the paranormal activity first-hand.

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7. The Terrace Lounge 411 University St, Seattle, WA 98101

In the lobby of the historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel, The Terrace Lounge is a luxe bar with large, leather armchairs, chandeliers, and piano music. The high-end space is matched with upscale cocktails and elevated bar snacks, like elegant cheese boards and a slew of seafood options. While the cost may preclude frequent visits, the approachable happy hour is generous and the best time to sip martinis among the deep pocketed people of the Central Business District.

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8. Rob Roy 2332 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

This 50s' style cocktail lounge in Belltown serves classic libations in addition to a solid beer selection and smattering of small-plate bar dishes to soak up your booze. Besides offering all the traditional tipplers (Negronis, Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and of course, Rob Roys), Rob Roy's rotating artisanal offerings like the Campari and pineapple soaked Jungle Bird will whet your whistle if you're seeking a more creative boozy beverage.

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9. Bottlehouse 1416 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

In a cozy, converted house in the Central District, Bottlehouse is a wine bar, tasting room, and event space featuring regional wine and microbrews. Wine and beer selections are rotating, highlighting producers from the PNW, and can be enjoyed on tap, in a tasting flight, by the bottle, or in the comfort of your own home. Cork a bottle of your favorite local wine, (pick up some wine-wares from the shop so you can drink it at home), and sip the local juice you never knew you loved. Bottlehouse offers a taste of the Pacific Northwest, with cheesemonger-approved cheeses and cured meats to pair in a living room-reminiscent environment, or on the back patio.