Food & Drink

Where to Find Seattle's Best Late-Night Eats

Published On 12/11/2013 Published On 12/11/2013
Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge
Geoffrey Smith

You know how people will say nothing good ever happens after 10pm? Well those people are likely geriatrics who’d rather spend their time watching Matlock reruns and saying things like, “When I was a kid my toys used to be made out of real metal!” Anyways, because you’re surely not one of those people, after 10pm in Seattle is the perfect time to readily devour a donut burger, fried cheese curds, or a satisfying slice of NY-style pizza. And here is where to find it all...

Big Mario's

Big Mario’s Pizza

Capitol Hill

This almost always packed hangout in the heart of Seattle's busiest late-night 'hood is one of the few places in the city you can order 40s of Olde English and get quality New York-style pizza by the slice 'til 2am... or 4am on the weekends.

Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge

Lost Lake

Capitol Hill

This overtly '60s-inspired joint serves up fattening yet delicious meals like poutine, beer-battered deep-fried cheese curds, etc. (and a wide range of traditional breakfast and other eats) that make it the perfect spot for after-hours carousing. And, at least according to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, for a dance off.

Kedai Makan

Capitol Hill

Once a farmers market-only affair, this Malaysian street food specialist now serves up savory nighttime (it's open until 11pm Wednesday through Sunday) offerings ranging from fried rice with lamb & a runny fried egg and soy-/chili-marinated pork ribs, to... well, spicy fried frog legs.

Bitterroot BBQ

Bitterroot BBQ

Ballard

This isn't your usual BBQ shack. Sure, it's got some succulent beef brisket, smoked pork belly, baby back ribs, etc. (all cooked in a custom-built smoker), but it's also boasting a surprisingly refined interior for such a hardcore BBQ spot, a bar in back stocked with all sorts of American whiskey, bourbon, and craft brews, and it stays open late. The entire menu is available until 1am every night, and the late-night happy hour doesn't even start until 11pm.

The Escondite

Capitol Hill

Hidden inside the mainstay music venue Chop Suey, this perfectly named operation (Escondite means "hideout") originally started in Los Angeles in 2011, but brought its creative brand of burgers -- like the provolone, bacon, and maple syrup-topped Fat Albert, served on a donut instead of a bun -- and other not-so-good-for-you foods to Seattle a few months ago. And they just may be giving The Town's famous hot dog a run for best thing to eat on Capitol Hill at 1am.

Geoffrey Smith

Ba Bar

Capitol Hill

You know the famous nursery rhyme, "ba bar blacksheep, have you any... delicious Vietnamese-inspired street food that you serve until 4am on weekends and/or wool?" Well, this 12th Ave spot from the virtuoso behind Monsoon would answer "Yes sir, yes sir" to the first part, obviously, and then point out that the late-night menu, which features steamed clams from Taylor Shellfish, fried frog legs (again), and five different kinds of noodles in broth, is available until 2am the rest of the week too.

Pel Meni Dumpling Tsar

Fremont

Sure they've got a gleaming semi-new outpost in Cap Hill, but that area’s got tons of late-night options (just look at this list). And besides, wandering down an alleyway past the graffiti-splashed VW van that serves as this place's sign, and then waiting in line for a pile of Eastern European-style dumplings -- we always go for the beef ones -- with a slice of fresh dark bread has become something of a Seattle tradition.

Bar Noroeste

Bar Noroeste

Downtown

This brand new bar in the Denny Triangle (right next to one of Seattle's best strip clubs) is from the same crew behind Westward, Quality Athletics, Great State Burgers, Saint Helens Cafe, and... well, you get the picture. These guys know what they're doing. And what they're doing in this instance is plating up a Northwest version of Mexican street food (nachos, ceviche, tacos, etc.) in a bustling narrow space, where the kitchen is open until at least 11pm on weekends.

Cafe Presse

Capitol Hill

We don't know how this charming french bistro/cafe manages to serve its entire menu (steak frites, cold roasted half chicken w/ mayonnaise, etc.) until 1:30am every night, and still manage to open early enough to show European soccer matches on the weekend. But we're extremely glad they do.

Laura Hobson

Damn the Weather

Pioneer Square

It's one of the 21 best cocktail bars in America. It's got an excellent, if small, selection of edible options (chicken fat fries, spaghetti Bolognese, a grass fed beef burger w/ bacon, Gruyere & portobello) to go with whatever you're drinking. And everything's available until 2am, so you can easily say "damn the time!" and have another round along with some of those aforementioned fries.

The 5 Point Cafe

The 5 Point Cafe

Belltown

It's been around forever. It's one of the best dives in the city. It's got a breakfast happy hour for godsakes. Seriously, what more do we need to say about this place? OK fine. How about they’ll serve you loads of cheeseballs, a 1/3lb cheeseburger and fries for $3.50, and pour $2 PBR drafts. Plus, it’s across the street from the Space Needle... which you should probably hit first before ordering a bunch of $2 PBRs.

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Bradley Foster is a former senior editor at Thrillist which just means he's old enough to remember when none of these places except The 5 Point were even open.

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1. Big Mario's Pizza 1009 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

There aren't many places in Seattle where you can slug an Olde English 40 and bask in the glory of true New York-style pizza, but Big Mario's is one of them. Located in Capitol Hill, this is one of the best spots for quality, thin-crust pie. Hipsters flock to Mario's for its retro style and late-night deals.

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2. Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge 1505 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

This varnished wood paneling, accented stone walls, and deep red furnishing ooze laid-back '70s style at this modern take on old-school diners in Hilltop. A late-night haunt to most, Lost Lake really shines in the breakfast and burger departments with their dreamy hollandaise-heavy benedicts and the secret sauce that tops the ground beef on the handful of specialty burgers. There are, however, comforting house mains like pot roast that stands toe-to-toe with mom's and Brit-approved fish & chips.

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3. Kedai Makan 1510 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

Colorful and admittedly a little cramped, this Hilltop spot makes Malaysian and southeast Asian bowls so good they've usually got a waiting list to get in at dinner time. Kedai Kakan takes late-night Asian eats above the threshold of the go-to pho bowl with Chili Pan Me, a mass of whole wheat noodles, pork, soy, poached egg, and fried anchovies with tangy broth on the side to dip and slurp as you please.

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4. Bitterroot BBQ 5239 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (Ballard)

Nothing beats the smell that emanates from Bitterroot's custom smoker and fills its reclaimed brick- and wood-laden space. Specializing its own bbq formula they've dubbed "Northwest style," this waterside Old Ballard spot dry rubs their ribs, briskets, roasted chickens, and pulled porks and comes with four house-made sauces: apple- and cola-based sweet, tangy Carolina mustard, spicy chipotle, and garlic vinegar. The tiled bar in the back is the icing on the cake with flights and specialty cocktails from their impressive aged whiskey collection.

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5. The Escondite Seattle 1325 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

Hidden inside funky music venue Chop Suey, Escondite (literally, "hideout") is an LA import that flips an inventive menu of burgers, including the Fat Albert, which is topped with provolone, bacon, and maple syrup and is served on doughnuts instead of buns. Looking to go even greasier? You can also order some mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, and grilled cheese on the side.

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6. Pel'Meni Dumpling Tzar 3516 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103 (Fremont)

If the prospect of dumplings isn't enough to wake you up on the quest for a midnight snack, the bright yellow walls at Pel'Meni should do the trick. The Fremont outpost of the food truck you've probably seen around town deals strictly in the practice of Russian-style dumplings, little bits of beef and potato wrapped up into thin bits of dough and thrown into a bowl of other toppings. You can venture outside of he traditional sour cream and spicy sauce by going for whatever specialty dumplings they're featuring that month.

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7. Bar Noroeste 2051 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (Belltown)

In the bottom floor of a reflective glass building above Belltown lies a bar and taqueria from restaurant giant Huxley Wallace slinging not just tamales and cane asada, but a next-level brunch that's got Mexican flavor and flair in spades. Breakfast tacos and duck carnitas line long wooden tables until the late afternoon and evening, when they're packed with spicy ceviche, Oaxaca cheese-stuffed empanadas, and rum-heavy cocktails.

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8. Cafe Presse 1117 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

With mutliple international soccer jerseys hanging in frames, French menus, and endless options for wine and coffee, Cafe Presse is is the ultra-European answer to Seattle's boom in trendy coffee shops. One would think at first glance that the menu came straight from Paris, with entirely French names and dishes like simple baguette sandwiches, charcuterie plates, and sirloin steak-frites (that's steak and fries, obviously). It's merely the appearance of the American dollar sign that separate this place from the real thing.

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9. Damn the Weather 116 1st Avenue S, Seattle, WA (Pioneer Square)

This cozy little bar with open brick walls and few rustic details keeps well with the atmosphere of its historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. With only a few local ciders and beers, Damn the Weather deals in a rotating selection of veggie-heavy shared plates and in cocktails, which on its menu range from "tall and fizzy," like the Chilcano to "short and fresh," like the scotchy Godfather Part II to "boozy and evocative," like the Tuxedo No. 3 with a daring dash of absinth.

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10. The 5 Point Cafe 415 Cedar St, Seattle, WA 98121 (Belltown)

It's hard to argue with this quirky's dive's tagline: "Alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929" -- these guys have been serving boozy concoctions way under the radar since just before the end of prohibition, and it shows. The same goes for its heaping breakfasts of chicken & biscuits, plate-sized pancakes, and vegetarian hash and endless selection of classic burgers, sandwiches, and classic American comfort foods that make an ideal pair for a pint or specialty cocktail.

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