Nothing says fancy like a seafood tower.
Nothing says fancy like a seafood tower. Goldfinch Tavern Facebook

Recently, Chase Burns, Stranger social media mastermind and author of great articles about weed lube and falling in love via Instagram, tweeted me with a question.

NOLA guy, by the way, is named Marc, and he and Chase met super cute. You should really read the whole wonderful article Chase wrote for The Stranger's Queer Issue, but basically they crushed out on one another via Instagram and then because love is crazy Chase quit his job and flew to NOLA to spend a week in the gentrified millenial paradise that is New Orleans' Bywater district and now they are certified lovebirds.

Anyway, after replying with a few recommendations, we quickly discerned the need for a post. I would provide a list of recommendations, and Chase would narrate the experience at whichever eatery he selected.

This being Seattle, it's actually awkward to go certain places in suits, despite stretch pants being considered appropriate attire pretty much everywhere. The following places may not be friendly to your bank balance, but you won't feel out of place in pinstripes:


Canlis is indisputably the fanciest place in Seattle. You HAVE to wear a sport coat to get in, and the only parking is valet parking. The setting is picture-perfect, as the restaurant is in a mid-century modern cliff house and all the plates come out looking like leftovers from the American Psycho set. My buddy Pepe, who works in the lounge, informs me that you can order a la carte in the bar, but the website only lists their $120 tasting menu. I have no idea what budget our overlords gave Chase for his classy adventure, but its safe to say that the tasting menu and wine pairings for two would outpace it. Easily.

Miller's Guild

Miller's Guild is the fancy shcmancy restaurant in the sexy Hotel Max. Their main focus is spendy steaks, and their vibe reflects that. Thus, our snazzily dressed couple would feel right at home forking little bits of the happy hour bavette steak into one another's mouth.

The Brooklyn

Normally, for an Auld Seattle fancy experience, I'd send them to the Metropolitan Grill. Sadly, that palace of white privilege is closed for renovations, so I had to go with my backup plan: The Brooklyn. The Brooklyn is a mere block up from the Met on 2nd Ave, and it serves food that makes you feel like you might own a yacht.

Goldfinch Tavern

Goldfinch Tavern, in the fancy-ass Four Seasons, hosted a brunch for "a local group of menswear fashion social media influencers" last October, so it's safe to say they're suit-friendly. There's also this weirdly homoerotic photo of Chef Joe Ritchie perched atop bossman Ethan Stowell's lap while feeding him an oyster:

I figured maybe Chase and Marc could recreate the magic. #BivalveBromance, baby!

Bathtub Gin & Co.

The very classy Nile Klien, co-owner of Cook Weaver and Twitter junkie extraordinaire, chimed in on our previous thread to recommend Bathtub (and to post a selfie of him prancing around the Loveless Building in a suit). Good call, my dude. The unmarked door in the alleyway is fun the first time you go, and I figured our subjects would feel very classy and debonair drinking scotch in armchairs together. Plus, the speakeasy theme harkens back to a time when people wore suits all the time, not just at funerals.

Rob Roy

For one, Rob Roy has easily some of the best cocktails in the city. For two, the rock-inset backbar, moody lighting, and copious use of leather are very suit-appropriate. Also, lots of suit-wearing business dudes go here to impress their secretaries, so it makes for fun and fashionable people-watching too. Another good omen for Chase's classy charade: The clientele hates when I come in with my skateboard, but the bartenders don't.

Zig Zag Cafe

Nestled on the Pike Place Hillclimb in a secluded, out-of-the-way location, and lit like a '70s porno, Zig Zag is perfect for a fancy date. The drinks are absolutely amazing and their food is also one of the city's better kept secrets. That said, I advised Chase to "maybe skip the pork rinds so you don't burst the buttons on your nice suits." Would that I could heed my own advice.

Tavern Law

This bar boasts the city's strongest speakeasy vibes by far, so obviously suits are a go. While Knee High Stocking Co. has ditched their elaborate entry system in favor of a simple doorbell, Tavern Law's Needle and Thread still requires you to dial the right numbers from a faux phone booth to get in. Bring a bowler hat, I guess?


It's downtown's fanciest French joint. You can wear a suit, split a $24 burger, and act like a big shot who knows what the best year for Burgundies in the mid-aughts. Perfect.

El Gaucho

I don't think I even need to explain this one. El Gaucho is the epitome of opulence. When you imagine fat cat bankers and oilmen reclining in plush chairs, drinking $500 pours of scotch, and smoking ultra-premium cigars, this is the restaurant you imagine them doing it in. Sadly, no more cigars after the smoking ban, but you can still get a bottle of wine that costs more than the median rent for a 1-bedroom on Capitol Hill. For Chase and Marc's purposes, there's is also a bar menu that won't result in an eviction notice.

And the winner is.... Goldfinch Tavern! As I suspected, Chase gravitated to their latently homoerotic vibes, and took his beau out for braised octopus. I hope you enjoy his hilarious review of the experience as much as I did.

The Main Event

We chose the Goldfinch Tavern because the website said it paid "homage to the city's pioneer days, when taverns catered to lumberjacks and sailors," which sounded homoerotic AF. Unfortunately, it was neither homoerotic nor pioneering. Instead, we were greeted by a forlorn and suspicious straight person who wore all black and had tired eyes. "You must be meeting your grandfather," they seemed to want to say. And indeed, the Four Seasons on a Monday is a place filled with grandpas and grandmas who have strong opinions on golf.

We spent the entire dinner contemplating late capitalism and how we could steal the heavy silverware. Sure, the braised octopus was delicious. It's essentially just creepy-cute pork belly. And my apricot sour was served in a very ornate goblet that made me feel like Jaime Lannister, which was kind of hot. But all we could think about was how sad everyone looked. Oh, that $30 plate of organic chicken? Ester/Harriet/Constantine/Pick-A-Name-For-The-Rich-Old-White-Lady-Next-To-Us was NOT pleased with it. She kept waving down the waiter to complain. When she wasn't screeching for service, she spent her time staring down the setting sun like it was a progressive tax policy.

In summary: Wear fancy things and go to fancy places but don't expect it to feel fancy if you're not fancy because Ester and Harriet and Constantine have been trained to sniff out interlopers since birth. But pro tip: Loudly saying "money makes me itchy" and "let's break something" does not help you blend in. The waiters were openly relieved when we left.

Also, here's a picture of what we wore. We posed next to the trash cans because that's where we'll be living once we get our credit card bills.