Food & Drink

The Best Places to Drink Wine in Seattle

Published On 02/22/2016 Published On 02/22/2016
wine barrels seattle charles smith wines
Courtesy of Charles Smith Wines

The best part about Washington being wine country? Duh, wine. We’ve already told you where to drink for every occasion, but we didn’t actually include the best place to drink wine on that list, because pretty much every place in Seattle has some solid vino. Instead, we've made the complete list here, with everything from grandiose spaces boasting lists longer than a punchline on Frasier, to hidden gems offering personal recommendations from well-curated lists.

Le Caviste

Le Caviste

Downtown
Don’t misinterpret the all-in-French chalkboard menus as snobbiness, but rather, an invitation to get friendly with the guy behind the bar. He’ll help you pick out the perfect rosé to toast to the sun, or the exact cellar-temp Burgundy to brood over in the darkness.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Bottlehouse

Madrona
The name is literal, as in this is an old house that’s stuffed with bottles -- and bottle drinkers -- alike. The remodeled living room is the store, but deeper in, the dining room offers a sweet place to sit and sip (as does the porch, on a nice day). Choose from bottles, by-the-glass options, and even wine on tap.

Naomi Tomky/Thrillist

Vif

Fremont
Ever wondered where you might sit and get some work done while drinking wine all day? This combination coffee shop-and-wine bar has everything you need and more -- including eclectic and perfectly Instagrammable snacks like sardines on toast. Seriously, we totally Instagrammed ‘em.
 

Courtesy of Suzi Pratt

Picnic

Phinney Ridge
As the name implies, this hilltop shop is designed for picking up snacks and supplies. What is more subtly disguised is that it’s also a wine shop with indoor and outdoor seating, a list by the glass or bottle, and a tiny menu of cheeses and small plates to go with it.

Bar Ferd'nand

Lower Bar Ferdinand

Capitol Hill
You never know what you’re going to get at this tiny alcove inside Melrose Market, where each day the small batch, family-owned winery up serves glasses and bottles at the bar, but you can be damn sure they’re gonna be pretty great.
 

Upper Bar Ferdinand

Capitol Hill
Just like Lower Bar Ferdinand, but newer (in the trendy Chophouse Row development), and with wine-friendly food being prepared from the wood-fired oven and smoker. Cured meats, pickled vegetables, bread, and pizza spark a romance with the daily selections of wine.

Courtesy of Jim Henkens

Barnacle

Ballard
There aren’t many times when sitting in a tiny hallway with no windows seems appealing, but when Renee Erickson’s helming the food, you don’t want to miss out. The wine list is small and all Italian, and you might not have heard of any of them, but listen to the staff and drink them with seafood, and you won’t care what happens outside.

Courtesy of Nate Burgher

Locöl Barley and Vine

West Seattle
All of your favorite things about your favorite beer bar (laid back, relaxed, a constantly rotating selection of quality beverages) can also finally be found in a wine bar. Probably because they do both here (plus cider and cocktails using both beer and wine), but this is one of the few beer bars that puts equal thought and care into the grape program.

Courtesy of Charles Smith Wines

Charles Smith Wines Jet City

Georgetown
Local wine lovers used to trek to Walla Walla for a taste of Charles Smith’s various wines, but now he’s bringing his winemaking to Seattle -- and opening up the facility to everyone. With a big space and a bigger view, it offers a pretty background for drinking his gorgeous wines.

JarrBar

JarrBar

Pike Place Market 
It may look like a closet, but don't be fooled. This is the Spanish-style tapas bar opened by Bryan Jarr (previously of Madison Park Conservatory). Like the space, the menu is small, featuring jarred and tinned seafood, but the wine list reads (and tastes) like a love letter to the Iberian Peninsula.

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Naomi Tomky is a freelance food writer in Seattle who never turns down a good glass of wine. Follow her on Twitter @Gastrognome and Instagram @the_gastrognome to see what’s in her glass today.

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1. Le Caviste 1919 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 (Downtown)

Smack dab in the Denny Triangle, Le Caviste, a European-inspired safehaven wine-enthusiasts, touts dishes like escargot and Champignons Rôtis.

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

Opened by two lovebirds whose resumes include interior design, event planning, and, naturally, fly-fishing, this new wine bar/shop slings a bevy of local and not-so-local vintages, small bites, and assorted wine-ware from the converted home it shares with

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3. Vif Wine and Coffee 4401 Fremont Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98103 (Fremont)

Specializing in locally-grown and organic products, the team behind Vif Wine and Coffee handpick what they consider to be the most "natural" menu items available at this Fremont coffee shop.

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4. Picnic 6801 Greenwood Ave North, Seattle, WA 98103

From the street this may look like simply a wine shop, but inside awaits a small food menu and wide array on delicious wines to taste and enjoy.

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5. Lower Bar Ferdinand 1531 Melrose Ave, Ste 3, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

From the guy behind The Corson Building, and next door Sitka & Spruce (plus two other partners), this final addition to the Melrose Project is a small-platery/wineshop with an eat-space that boasts an over-size stainless bar with white-tile-backsplash, bottles of wine a plenty, and a petite menu of small plates. Stop by this cozy space and sample all the goods.

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6. Upper Bar Ferdinand 1424 11th Ave, Seattle, WA (Capitol Hill)

The companion to the Melrose market original, Lower Bar Ferdinand, Upper Bar is an upscale cocktail joint on Capitol Hill's Chophouse Row. The focus of this warm, buzzy space is on small-batch wines from global producers, but craft cocktails and elevated bar food also get equal billing. Complex, meaty small plates (dry cured pork, fermented sausage) are the stars of the menu, and are made using an in-house masonry smoker.

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7. Barnacle 4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (Ballard)

Opened by the lady behind The Whale Wins and next-door's The Walrus and the Carpenter, the 800sqft boozer is pouring an unfussy selection of old-fashioned cocktails (like... um, Old Fashions) from behind a 13ft copper-bar stocked with a highly curated selection of wines, digestifs, aperitifs, liqueurs, etc. On the food side, this mostly kitchen-less spot, is doing not-hot small plates like escabeche-style mussels, shaved pork leg, and stocks some of the boss' Boat Street Cafe jarred goods.

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8. Locöl 7902 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126 (West Seattle)

Just opened in a former tanning salon after a year of work, this rustic Highpoint joint is serving up drinks/eats sourced from (wait for it!) hyper-local mostly West Seattle producers; options include snacks (salted/spiced Chard Chips), soups (Butternut S

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9. Charles Smith Wines Jet City 1136 S Albro Place, Seattle, WA 98108

Charles Smith quit touring and managing rock bands to enter the Walla Walla wine world in 1999. Since then, his Slash-esque coiffure, prolific portfolio, and playful wine names like Kung Fu Riesling and Boom Boom! Syrah have made him a household name. This year, he opened a Jet City tasting room so you don’t have to trek all the way to Walla Walla for a taste.

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10. JarrBar 1432 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 (Capitol Hill)

JarrBar in the Pike Place Market us a celebration of Spanish and Portuguese wine and cuisine. The quirky, intimate space hosts tapas galore, paired with bold cocktails and vino. Nightly happy hour deals include $2 and $3 bar snacks, $6 cured meat plates, and $5 well cocktails and house wine. Fun and colorful, JarrBar is sure to be a new nightlife favorite.

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