Food & Drink

The 8 best bar snacks in Seattle

Published On 10/30/2013 Published On 10/30/2013
Seattle oyster bruschetta

You can't just drink when you go to a bar. You are also pretty much obligated to slurrily ask directions to the bathroom, get a fake number from that cute girl Rachel who you kept sending mojitos to, and, if you hit one of the sweet booze-slingers on this list, eat some of Seattle's best pub food:

Sweetest Sweet Snack: Deep-fried Snickers Bar
Unicorn, Capitol Hill
Rumor has it that Unicorn will deep fry anything you bring them… within reason. But why bother when they've already got this unreasonably good candy bar -- served with a heaping portion of whipped cream -- on the menu?

The 5 Point

Best Canadian Bar Snack: Poutine
The 5 Point, Belltown
If this spot's poutine were an NBA player, this half-pound pile of fries smothered in gravy and Beecher's cheese curds would probably look a lot like the cottage cheese-complexioned, somewhat overweight Brian Scalabrine, but he'd average wayyy more than... waitforit!... five points.

Best Use of Bacon: Bacon-wrapped Mussels
E Smith Mercantile, Pioneer Square
The tiny, dimly lit bar in this shop's back room hosts a world of uncommon offerings like Campari colored with beetles, or an absinthe spritzer, plus more straightforward offerings, like this pork bi-valve combo w/ a shot of cocktail sauce, that're still uncommonly good.

Best Wings: Palace's Chicken Wings
Palace Kitchen, Belltown
Sure, this place might not actually be a bar, but it's open as late as most of 'em, and it's where super-chef Tom Douglas is serving the quintessential bar snack: chicken wings -- smoky, hot pepper spiced numbers w/ cilantro sour cream that're some of the best in Seattle.

Best Bite-size Snack: Pork Sliders
Witness, Capitol Hill
From its name (as in "can I get a...") to the church pews it's outfitted with, this place is all about religion... a religion presumably dedicated to plying you with booze and stuffing you with Southern eats like these Carolina-style pulled pork sliders w/ slaw and a heaping pile of fries.

Ooooh, Fancy: Frites et Foie
Le Zinc, Capitol Hill
Easiest way to make foie gras accessible? Just plop it on top of a pile of fries, and serve it with bone marrow aioli like they do at this Cap Hill boozer, which is seemingly designed to prove that the French are better than Americans at everything -- even getting really, really fat.

Best Use Of Seafood: Mussels on Toast
Barnacle, Ballard
Brought to you by Seattle's sweetest seafood-slinger, Renee Erickson, these bi-valves on fiore bread w/ an electrifyingly green cilantro escabeche sauce are the pick of all the small plates on offer at her shiny new boozer.

Twilight Exit

Best Use of Cheese: Baked Cheesy Garlic Bread
Twilight Exit, Central District
Everyone (except Slim Charles, obviously) loves cheese, so the folks at this CD destination for notoriously affordable drinks are doing the obvious thing and serving it on top of garlic bread w/ salami, basil, and marinara.

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1. 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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2. Unicorn 1118 East Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

Supposedly, the folks at Unicorn will deep-fry anything. Test that theory at this ridiculously high-concept French-circus-styled drinkery with vividly striped walls and zebra patterned/faux-period furniture. Ever wanted a drag queen to serve you breakfast? Lucky for you, Unicorn's also well known for their Sunday brunch specials, Mimosas with Momma, a weekly variety show and brunch buffet.

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3. E. Smith Mercantile Back Bar 208 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Pioneer Square)

Shop till you drop at this boutique apothecary and mercantile, and then be sure to hit the Back Bar. Tucked away inside the shop (hence the name), Back Bar offers serious libations and intimacy in a 14-seater cocktail lounge. Order from a selection of craft cocktails made with rare and unusual liquors and refined small plates.

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4. Palace Kitchen 2030 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (Belltown)

From renowned restaurateur Tom Douglas, Palace Kitchen is a casual Belltown spot bursting with flavor. You'll want to start off with the tangy goat cheese lavender fondue (wood grilled bread, apples, pears) before moving onto the famed Palace Royale burger, made with hand-ground Washington natural chuck, house-made Dijon aioli, thinly sliced white onion, dill pickles, and served on a Dahlia Bakery bun. Be sure to pair it with a drink from the extensive, wine, beer, and cocktail lists, and top it all off with an order of the plum cobbler. All of the ingredients here are as fresh as it gets -- some are even sourced from Douglas' own farm.

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5. Witness 410 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102 (Capitol Hill)

Opened in the old Five Fish Bistro space by a former Knee High Stocking Co. bartender, this Capitol Hill boozer uses decorative touches (frosted class windows, booths built with 102yr-old church pews, etc.) to evoke an old-timey church, and serves up a menu stuffed with Southern classics ranging from buttermilk waffles & fried chicken w/ Bourbon maple gravy, to vivid green Mint Juleps.

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6. Le Zinc 1449 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

A new French eatery from the guys behind Pike Place's Maximilien, this bistro serves up beautiful takes on classic fare, like moules feu de camp and french fries with foie.

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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. Twilight Exit 2514 E Cherry, Seattle, WA 98122 (Central District)

Hit the Twilight Exit for their happy hours and comfort food, but stay for karaoke and their game room, featuring vintage finds like Ms. Pacman.



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