Robert Ullman

You're devastated when your favorite bars, shops, and restaurants close. We know because we've read your 10-paragraph Facebook eulogies about how "necessary" and "vital" and "Seattle" you thought those places were. But maybe you should pay more attention to those businesses while they're still alive? Nobody pays the rent on the strength of their reputation, and it's actually FUN to unhook yourself from your Amazon Prime Now Premium Culture feeding tube and have an unmediated social experience every once in a while. Here are 50 of our favorite places to do just that. For the spots that seem endangered: Go to them. For the places that are doing just fine: Go on off nights. Otherwise, if and when they close up, don't let us catch you on social media publicly grieving a place you looooooooved but never found the time to throw your money at.


Pacific Inn Pub
3501 Stone Way N

The Pacific Inn is a mid-century lozenge of cheap, stiff drinks and above-par pub food. It's owned by the legendary "singing bartender," a classically trained opera singer who dazzled patrons with his voice while mixing drinks at Jake O'Shaughnessey's (RIP) who's now legendary in the industry for his excellent treatment of employees. There's a nice little patio, Gas Works Park is walking distance, and you might see something amazing like a woman ordering a bowl of malt vinegar with a milk back while ranting about lead, or elderly couples, queer and straight, having a Friday nightcap and fish and chips at the same institution that hosted their first date. SARAH GALVIN


Ristorante Machiavelli
1215 Pine St

Machiavelli is the most dependable and reassuring restaurant in Seattle—the service is always competent and confident, and the food always delicious and fast (except the chicken-liver lasagna, please allow 20 minutes for baking). The arrival of dinner is always punctuated by the arrival of a server making advances with a giant black-pepper grinder and silver dish of grated Parmesan cheese. The dining room is the sort of place where everyone feels at home, and, best of all, Machiavelli is affordable. (Pay with cash, and you get a 5 percent discount.) At my house, we call it "the people's date night." May it live forever. ANGELA GARBES


13 Coins
125 Boren Ave N, 900 Bellevue Way NE, 18000 International Blvd

It's possible that the contemporary gustatory zeitgeist has strayed from the pleasures of a massive steak smothered in pasta and heavy cream sauce soaked up by liberally buttered bread in the privacy of a tall-backed, darkly upholstered booth at 3 a.m. But that's because everyone who denies the glory of 13 Coins is a fool. It's a monument to a certain kind of decadent entitlement that harms no one (unless you count your own body). It's like the deluxe Scrabble game with the raised grid and swiveling board of diners. Three locations, open 24/7-infinity, if all goes well. SEAN NELSON


The Seattle Times
1000 Denny Way

Maybe there was a time, some fleeting moment in the early 20th century or so, when it made sense for reporters to be gleeful about the failures of competing local news outlets. It has never made sense to me. I believe that an informed citizenry cannot exist without beat reporters and experienced, dedicated editors. Not stringers. Not rock stars. Workers. In journalism. Full-time. The Stranger and the Seattle Times may appear to have little in common, but that's only if you're not looking behind the curtains. There's no love lost on many fronts, it's true. But, look, I subscribe to the Seattle Times. I amble out every morning to grab the dewy bag of democracy lying in my overgrown side yard, and you should, too. JEN GRAVES


Quarter Lounge
909 Madison St

According to the Seattle Times, Midwestern transplants make up around 11 percent of Seattle's population, the highest percentage of any city on the West Coast. The Quarter Lounge is the bar of this 11 percent. To walk inside and see corn dogs and frozen pizzas on offer, to overhear Kim talk about how hammered Jason got last night, to silently navigate the power dynamics of the pool table, is to teleport to any local in Ohio, Missouri, or Michigan. The major difference: When you leave the lounge, you emerge into a city where rampant intolerance is at least generally looked down upon. RICH SMITH


Denny Blaine Park (aka Dykiki)
200 Lake Washington Blvd E

I will never forget the first time I stretched my naked body out near the shining lake at Dykiki. It was heaven, the island of Lesbos on Lake Washington, the one place in Seattle where nude queer girls made up a majority of souls on the beach. The last time I went to Dykiki, I looked around and realized that most of the bodies on the beach belonged to white men. Dudes: You can be naked and shirtless in lots of places. And while I encourage you to get down with body positivity and your bad self in the nude, too many cis men and not enough queer girls at Dykiki ruins the Lesbos vibe. Cis and trans ladies, let's get in formation. SYDNEY BROWNSTONE


That Parking Lot Next to My Apartment Building
Summit Ave and E Howell St

You know what I hate most about New Seattle? All these goddamn buildings. Fucking capitalism, you know? This parking lot at Summit and Howell is the perfect antidote to all that shiny, techy bullshit. It's surrounded by a pale salmon-colored wall (quirky!), and it's half-empty most of the time (like the good old days!). Inside, one wall reads in huge, Helvetica letters "NO TRESPASSING." The day this place is razed to make room for a new apartment building, I'm moving to Austin. HEIDI GROOVER


Rendezvous
2322 Second Ave

This is the old fucking Seattle about which old fucking Seattle residents yammer when the subject turns to old fucking Seattle. Now 90 years old, the Rendezvous oozes character and history. Its decadent glamour is holding on by a thread... as are many of its well-lubricated regulars. (The pours be strong here.) While I've not eaten at the 'Vous since 2003, plenty of folks do and look happy doing so. I come for the entertainment (Comedy Womb, weird music shows in the Jewelbox Theater and the Grotto, like Alvarius B., Sun Araw, and Hans Grusel's Krankenkabinet), which always seems more momentous amid the Rendezvous's comfy confines and fading elegance. DAVE SEGAL


Sunday's Restaurant
620 First Ave N

One of the Northwest's finest and most distinctive restaurants resides in a handsome restored 1906 church. The memorable architecture is defined by a classic winding staircase, 12-foot-high gazebo, domed ceiling, fountain, and impeccable character. Located two blocks north of the Seattle Center in the Hansen Baking Company. In addition to award-winning lunch and dinner menus featuring "paperfish" and the West Coast's best "rack of lamb," Sunday's lounge offers a superb view of Seattle's glitter. Garden settings, stained glass, and excellent service are the perfect accouterments to enjoy casual or well-dressed dining. ARLO HOPSTASH


George's Sausage & Delicatessen
907 Madison St

I like any eatery that doesn't seem to like me that much. There are plenty of places that flatter you into believing you're part of the family, but George's is all business, which is an underrepresented sort of kindness in this town. After a few visits, you know exactly what to do. Order the pastrami sandwich. While you wait, consider buying some weird mustards or some bulky prepackaged poppy-seed desserts, then don't. Consider buying a fancy Polish beef jerky, then do. Collect all victuals and mosey over to the steps of St. James Cathedral. Enjoy the afternoon. RICH SMITH


Pony
1221 E Madison St

The only gay bar in Seattle with a fire pit also has the best gay-bar bartenders in town. And the best DJs, the best DIY shows, the best deck, and the best wallpaper. Plus, a photo booth. Plus, a glory hole. What more do you want? Go-go dancers? They have go-go dancers sometimes, too. So why is Pony so often empty? Seriously, get off your fucking smartphone app and go sit at Pony. It's one of the places that make this city great. Runner-up in the gay bar category? CC's on East Olive Way, where on the first Saturday of the month, people dress like freaks—or hardly dress at all—for kink night. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE


Mashiko
4725 California Ave SW

I like a restaurant with rules, and Mashiko, the excellent West Seattle sushi restaurant devoted to using only sustainably sourced fish, certainly has a few rules. On its website there's an entire tab called "Obey," and among the enumerated terms of entry: "Music is chef's choice" and "Prices are subject to change based on customer's attitude." Given all of this, I've found it best to save up and order one of the omakase meals. Once one orders an omakase meal at Mashiko, the chef takes control, which I also like. It's a delight to spend an evening as merely an eager vessel into which your culinary boss stuffs his most special types of sashimi, sushi, fish eggs, and grilled fish "until," as the menu says, "you cannot eat another bite." ELI SANDERS


Hazlewood
2311 NW Market St

I can't fetishize the old-timey "dives" of old Ballard. (There are too many casually misogynistic alcoholics in my family line—yours?) And I fall dead inside the new-timey corporate cuteness of new Ballard. This is why I like Hazlewood. The place is odd. It's small, mostly standing room. The drinks are good, and the drinks are strong. The bartenders give off the air of people who will kick you out with a withering glance if they must, but I have never seen them actually break into hostility. A person who seems to need the place more than want it can still often be found seated at the bar. I appreciate the need, and the want. JEN GRAVES


Fort St. George
601 S King St, Suite 202

I love everything about this bar and, to be honest, I visit it about once a week to drink one or two glasses of white wine (usually two—sometimes three) and to eat a thing or two. The bartenders are the best and have excellent taste in music. The last time I was there, which was just a few days ago, I had the pleasure of listening to the local hiphop classic "Connect For" by Common Market. I also heard "Da Two," the last bumping jam by CL Smooth and Pete Rock, the founders of the sound that dominated the first half of the 1990s. If you have not been here in a bit, you should pay a visit. Fort St. George deserves your business. (Also, it is above Venus Karaoke.) CHARLES MUDEDE


Venus Karaoke
601 S King St, Suite 102

This is a cave. A gorgeous, deep, dark, neon-lit cave that contains several rooms for those who want to sing bad pop songs with their friends or alone. Venus Karaoke is the kind of place you would expect to find in the heart of a Wong Kar-wai film (Chungking Express, for example) and not in the heart of an average American city. Upon leaving Venus Karaoke after a solid session of eating, drinking, and singing, one always feels like they are about to walk out onto the streets of a megalopolis of 20 million densely packed humans. One needs to be regularly refreshed by that big-city feeling. CHARLES MUDEDE


Monorail Espresso
520 Pike St

Someday we'll all get around on self-driving Solowheels and pay for coffee with chips implanted in our brains. But let's resist that time for a little longer. Monorail Espresso is a pedestrians- and cash-only venue. In a very Seattle act of passive aggression, they offer directions to tourists at a cost. ("Where is the Gum Wall?" $2.) The espresso is good, and the staff has no time for your bullshit. HEIDI GROOVER


Starbucks
1912 Pike Place

When I first moved here from Los Angeles, I stumbled across a little coffee shop while wandering through Pike's Place Market. Even though it's hard to find, it's worth the hunt. This charming, local spot has managed to keep its doors open in the outdoor market since 1971—which is saying something in this age of constant development—and their chipper baristas serve up perfectly roasted, no-frills cups of joe. You won't find coffee like it anywhere else. ANA SOFIA KNAUF


MacPherson's Fruit and Produce
4500 15th Ave S

The fruit and vegetables here are cheap, fresh, succulent, and delicious. Those are overused marketing words, I know, but I don't use them lightly. The MacPherson's staff are neighborhood people with actual personalities. Go there and you will not go back to the corporate grocery stores for produce. But the corner is changing. Expensive new modern townhomes have gone up right across the street. I don't worry too much about MacPherson's becoming a victim of gentrification since they always seem busy, but better safe than sorry. ANSEL HERZ


Grand Illusion Cinema
1403 NE 50th St

Staffed by volunteers who are in it for the sheer love of and obsession with unconventional films, Grand Illusion is an underdog player in Seattle's cinema-scape that deserves unstinting devotion. Whether it's highbrow foreign fare or a lowbrow domestic flick, Grand Illusion's curation—by Cleveland transplant Brian Alter—comes off like a scrappy adjunct of Scarecrow Video: the selections of deep nerds whose instincts you trust to bring the warped goods. GI is consistently astute with its music-oriented documentaries, too, and it sometimes doubles as a venue for left-field concerts with equally rewarding results. DAVE SEGAL


Amtrak to Portland
303 S Jackson St

I will admit that I stopped using Amtrak for trips to Portland and have switched to BoltBus, which is much cheaper. But the train is by far the most comfortable and romantic way to make this journey. Nothing beats a train when it comes to ground transportation. A bus is still on the road, and roads have no magic whatsoever (particularly the main one to Portland). Cutting costs always comes at a price. In the case of using BoltBus instead of Amtrak, the price is your daydreams. You always arrive in Portland with daydreams that are much poorer than the ones you would have had if you'd taken the train. I-5 is not for the lovers of dreams. CHARLES MUDEDE


Waterfall Garden Park
219 Second Ave S

When the western water wars come, Seattle probably won't have the luxury of a 22-foot waterfall tucked away in a corner of Pioneer Square. We'll need the water to sustain humans, farms, and fish—or hell, maybe we'll start bottling it and selling it to Los Angeles. The day Waterfall Garden Park runs dry will be a sad one for all of Seattle, due to the loss of that unnamable and sublime thing standing or sitting near abundant falling water does for the human consciousness. Make a point of visiting Waterfall Garden Park now, and then walk over to Ping's Dumpling House to grab a steamed bun. Whatever you do, definitely don't think about the future. Anything but that. SYDNEY BROWNSTONE


T-Bone's Hand Car Wash
2715 E Cherry St

These days, it's easy enough to drive through an automated car wash or get your car washed on the internet. And so the art (and business) of hand car washing—done by slow, steady hands guided by meticulous, loving eyes—marches toward oblivion. Thankfully, T-Bone's Hand Car Wash at the corner of MLK and Cherry lives on. Central District institutions like Catfish Corner, located just across the street from T-Bone's have gone, but the men of T-Bone's, always ready with a wave and hello, stand sentinel, both witnessing and resisting change. ANGELA GARBES


Left Bank Books
92 Pike St, Suite B

Left Bank Books is the quintessential anarchist bookstore—a small two-floor bungalow stuffed to the brim with anticapitalist tomes, anarchist fiction, political magazines, zines, pins, guides for vegans, and punk cashiers. When I moved away from Seattle years ago, I desperately missed home—and during my short visits, I would always make a point of stopping by Left Bank. I would head up to the cozy wooden nook that overlooks Pike Place Market, sit next to the window, and just read. ANSEL HERZ


The Scarecrow Project
5030 Roosevelt Way NE

From its humble beginnings as simply the world's best video store (when there was one on every block), Scarecrow has become one of the last—which is why it survives despite changing times. Every time your Netflix signal buffers, or you're in line to get some Redbox garbage, or you're watching Star Wars on your fucking phone, I urge you to consider: (1) how much worse all this convenience actually makes your life, and (2) how lucky we all are that this cathedral of movie worship (and Stranger Genius Award winner) remains open for business. SEAN NELSON


Lenny's Produce
10410 Greenwood Ave N, Suite C

This is the place I turn to for the ingredients needed to make my lola's ginataan or her famous pancit. The small market stocks my favorite brand of coconut milk, canned jackfruit, and rice noodles, right alongside shelves of Russian tea cookies and smoked fish and Latin spices and soup mixes. Lenny's has your run-of-the-mill tomatoes and greens, too, but for cheap. A good amount of the store's produce is locally grown—some even organic, if that's your shtick—for non–Whole Foods prices. Even if you fill your shopping basket to the brim with pantry staples, you would rarely leave Lenny's with more than a $15 grocery bill. ANA SOFIA KNAUF


Open Books
2414 N 45th St

That a poetry-only bookstore exists in the first place is a testament to the strength of the literary communities we have in Seattle. That it's been so well stocked is a testament to its former owners, John and Christine, who ran the store for 28-plus years. You can find almost everything in that little shop, from first-edition stuff to zines and chapbooks and magazines. To my knowledge, the store is in no danger of closing, and the new owner, Billie Swift, has plans to hold more readings in the space. Go enjoy them. RICH SMITH


Hothouse Spa & Sauna
1019 E Pike St

Hothouse is warm and inviting and relaxing and underground and small and only for you. Only for you if you are a woman, that is, with a few dollars and a few minutes. There's a big hot tub, and dry and steam saunas, and a place to take a naplet. There's a cold plunge in the form of a shower that dumps frigidness onto your head when you pull a lever. There is no talking, only whispering, and if you break this rule, you will be scolded, which is kind of fun and funny, and then you can return to being quiet, because after all, you came here to get quieter, to get away. JEN GRAVES


The Hideout
1005 Boren Ave

Seattle doesn't have enough dark bars. I don't mean dim bars. I mean dark. The kind of bars you're looking for when you're both sick of everyone on earth and interested in staring at strangers without them noticing. The Hideout is a perfectly dark bar. The walls are covered in art, and a vending machine sells art too. The location is just out of the way enough to skip the Capitol Hill crowd. It's also just close enough to Eighth and Seneca to get tipsy before you and your KUOW tote bag wander over to an author reading at Town Hall. HEIDI GROOVER


Highline
210 Broadway E

Highline is Seattle's preeminent spot to get vegan comfort food and tinnitus. It's the only place where you can consume sandwiches like the Weedeater (marinated portobello mushroom cutlets), soy fish tacos, gluten-free poutine, and drink cocktails named after the world's heaviest rock groups... and hear some of the world's foremost death-metal bands (and, oddly, Australian electro-pranksters Severed Heads). That kind of versatility and range is rare in this city's nightlife. You should treasure it before some rich asshole decides to tear down the building and erect a nondescript box for people of exceedingly bland cultural proclivities. DAVE SEGAL


Ambrosia Cafe
619 S King St

When my friends and I trek to Jade Garden to gorge ourselves on dim sum, we always make room for post-dumpling bubble tea. Ambrosia, which is tucked between a hotel and a florist in the heart of the International District, became our favorite stop. The bubble tea shop, which also serves frosty taro shakes and $1 toast, introduced me to the wonder that is hot bubble tea. Warm jasmine green tea with milk transforms otherwise strangely dense tapioca balls into pleasantly gooey bubbles that don't leave your jaw hurting. ANA SOFIA KNAUF


Katsu Burger
6538 Fourth Ave S

Katsu Burger, the unassuming home of the towering Mt. Fuji burger, gave us all a scare a few years ago when the owner announced its closure. But Stephanie Kang, who bought the place, told The Stranger she "could not let the legend go down in history." Go there, order the Mt. Fuji burger (you'll want to share among yourselves), and you will understand what she means. Because it is tucked away in a strip mall in Georgetown, Katsu Burger does not get the love it deserves, and I often fret over its future. ANSEL HERZ


Admiral Theater
2343 California Ave SW

Last year, the Admiral Theater looked like it might expire at any moment—a depressing vibe for one of Seattle's few remaining neighborhood movie houses to be giving off. But it recently got a big makeover, which means the days of falling ceiling tiles and garbage-bag-covered seats are over! (We hope.) Also, the 1940s-era nautical-themed decor is still in effect and it is A+. ELI SANDERS


Wall of Sound
1205 E Pike St, Suite 1C

No local retail establishment means more to me—and many other music aficionados—than Wall of Sound. This tiny indie record store carries more important music per square inch than any other Seattle shop of its kind. That it's survived for 25 years while hundreds of other music retailers nationwide have folded over that time testifies to Wall of Sound's profound knowledge of its niche (great obscure music from many genres and countries), excellent aesthetics, and savvy customer service. Similarly, vinyl and video-game peddler Spin Cycle (321 Broadway E) has found viability on a coveted strip of Capitol Hill real estate while catering to refined tastes. Let's hear it for the odds-defiers! DAVE SEGAL


Baranof
8549 Greenwood Ave N

The food at Greenwood's Baranof is the best kind of greasy diner fare, and much of it is made from scratch. But what you're really here for is the slightly ramshackle, hodgepodge, nautical-themed bar, where the sign by the entrance promises "Hot beer, lousy food, and bad service." Stiff drinks are poured by salty, wonderful older women who stand under a sign that reads "Warning: Bitch Bites." Karaoke happens six nights a week; Jell-O shots cost $2 each and are available every day. At this moment, the Baranof's very existence feels increasingly improbable—and essential. ANGELA GARBES


The University of Washington English Department
Padelford Hall, UW Campus

Universities across the country are suffering budget cuts from the very states emblazoned across their buildings. Despite this, University of Washington perseveres, teaching 6,500 kids a year not what to think and write but how to think and write, and they do it well. They run genius creative-writing programs, and they house some of the best literary scholars in the country. They host readings and seminars for the public all the time. Go to them. They're a force against the ignorance, intolerance, and intellectual weakness threatening to overrun the country. RICH SMITH


Bulldog News
4208 University Way NE

Bulldog News, founded in 1983, carries a selection of hundreds of magazines and newspapers unlike any I've ever seen: American, African, Asian, European, international, large and small, famous and obscure. It represents the last vestige of what was once a thriving regional chain of newsstands. And it is not unchanging: With the recent addition of a parklet (a mini-park with chairs and tables) outside, it has become a delightful place to spend an afternoon. Bulldog is where you go to browse: to escape the algorithms of Facebook that serve you whatever confirms your own biases, to become an informed citizen of the world. ANSEL HERZ


Thai Tom
4543 University Way NE

There's nothing as exciting as sitting at the counter at Thai Tom and almost having your eyebrows burned off by the great gusts of fire that sometimes launch out of cookery. The way the cooks sling vegetables and noodles and protein leaves specks on the wall. The food is insanely delicious, somewhat singed, as spicy as you want it, and cheap. The atmosphere is cramped and exciting and can't be beat. If this place ever disappears, I'm going to create a Change.org petition, which always solves everything. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE


Cafe Munir
2408 NW 80th St

This small Lebanese restaurant's claim to authenticity is necessarily mediated. Yet its quotient of Lebanese to not-Lebanese seems correct to people who know such things. I know that my children long for its lamb cigars coated in powdered sugar. I know that when Lebanese chefs are left to their own devices, as they are every Sunday night when dinner is prix fixe, they create a parade of small plates of food that arrive unbidden but welcome. I know that the whisky of the week is a bit of idiosyncrasy I always look forward to. I have no reason to believe that Cafe Munir is endangered. It's often busy. It's just that if Cafe Munir were no more, I wouldn't know of a single thing like it in the city. JEN GRAVES


Wildrose
1021 E Pike St

It's insane that there is only one lesbian bar in the heart of the gayborhood. Nevertheless, the Wildrose is still the purest of lesbian bars, despite the fact that its dance floor and barstools are not always filled. If you're ever feeling lonely living in a city full of out-and-proud gay men and elusive gay women, the Wildrose is still an excellent place to grab a whiskey and talk to the cute bartenders about Sandra Bullock movies. I still make a point of stopping by the Wildrose every now and again, just to be comforted by the knowledge that there is at least one place that proudly celebrates the L in LGBTQ. SYDNEY BROWNSTONE


The 5 Point Cafe
415 Cedar St

The opportunity to pee into some ice on the floor in the men's restroom is not the only charm of the oldest bar in Belltown. There's often shoofly pie, courtesy of longtime employee Kate. Plus, the 5 Point is one of the few places in Seattle that serves a meaningful glass of whiskey and an inoffensive lager for less than $6. Their sandwiches are whatever, but you're drunk anyway, right? Go in summer and from the patio watch the tourists roam around the Space Needle; go in winter and weep onto the black-and-white checkered floor. RICH SMITH


Glass Box Gallery, The Alice
831 Seattle Blvd S, 6007 12th Ave S

Glass Box and the Alice are both relatively new. Founded by Weston Jandacka, Glass Box gives smart and varied artists the full treatment, featuring them in solo or two-person shows. This is where Rob Rhee presented his twisted-flesh gourds, where No Touching Ground planted a proud portrait of 89-year-old Seattle activist Dorli Rainey, and where writer/photographer/sculptor Maggie Carson Romano first examined the fresh pain of an identity-altering accident that changed the appearance of her own face. The Alice, in Georgetown, is a rigorous curatorial collective run by four artists, three women and one genderqueer person, who bring together groups of artists, writers, and thinkers through exhibitions, residencies, and talks and events. The Alice is named after a smelly, dirty pool that's a ritual fraternity dumping ground, but which is held out to newbies as a desirable woman. More details on this fairly fantastic metaphor are linked on the gallery's website. (Plus, do not skip the other small, solid galleries in the same building: Sharon Arnold's Bridge Productions and Julia Greenway's Interstitial.) JEN GRAVES


Cafe Selam
2715 E Cherry St

It's raining. You're hungover. There's nothing in your fridge but shredded cheese and soy sauce. Get out of there. Find Cafe Selam, a bright, cozy Ethiopian spot next to an auto-repair shop in the Central District. Bring the newspaper or a good book. Order the ful, a mango juice, and coffee. You can be productive tomorrow. HEIDI GROOVER


Fou Lee Market
2050 S Columbian Way

For Beacon Hill residents—especially Filipinos—Fou Lee is as necessary as oxygen. Boiled peanuts by the pound? Check. Ampalaya? Check. Gina brand mango juice? Skyflakes crackers? Rufina patis? Special bihon noodles? Checkout line clusterfuck with people pshhhhhhhhhhting and yelling in Tagalog like they're your family? Fou Lee's got you covered. Don't even get me started on the hot to-go deli with ukoy, grilled pusit, beef caldereta, and more—nearly all of which is available in bulk through the store's catering menu. Who you gonna call when you need a platter of 200 lumpia for your party tomorrow? You already know. ANGELA GARBES


Ly's Donuts
4336 Roosevelt Way NE

This is an underrated University District gem. The 24-hour shop is frequented by morning commuters, sleep-deprived students, and munchies-afflicted bar-hoppers looking for Ly's unpretentious classic doughnuts. As a UW student, Ly's was just a drunk stumble away from my apartment. It was dangerous, always delicious, and never cost me more than $4. An elderly gentleman, who I always assumed was Mr. Ly himself, was behind the 24-hour bakery's counter whenever I visited. As though he could sense my exam anxiety or homesickness, Mr. Ly always threw in some free munchkins (his name for doughnut holes) along with my cream-filled doughnut and sugar twist. ANA SOFIA KNAUF


In the Bowl
1554 E Olive Way

It's tiny and has no real atmosphere, nor art on the walls, and one of the servers—probably the owner—is brusque and devoid of patience, but, damn it, In the Bowl is something of a lifesaver for Seattle vegans. The food comes fast, flavorful, and reasonably priced, if a bit greasy, and no matter what you order (fake meats, stir-fries, noodle dishes, soups, mountains of tofu, etc.), you can leave with your belly full and your conscience clear. Oddly, the bathroom is more lavishly decorated than the dining room; it's kind of a new age paradise. DAVE SEGAL


Lake Chad Cafe
1712 S Jackson St

Lake Chad Cafe is the spiritual successor to Waid's—the off-the-wall, eclectic Haitian Central District nightclub that shut down a few years ago after years of official harassment. Even so, owner Felix Ngoussou, originally from Chad, will welcome you in with a grin. Waid's was a haven for all black people, immigrants, hippies, and rebels. When Manny Pacquiao fought Floyd Mayweather last year, I went to Lake Chad Cafe and found the same kind of group crammed into the cafe's upper room watching the fight on a makeshift laptop-projector setup. Lake Chad Cafe is a precarious treasure. ANSEL HERZ


Hollow Earth Radio
2018 E Union St

The only internet radio station to merit a Stranger Genius Award nomination (so far), Hollow Earth Radio is a magnet for Seattle's most inquisitive music and social-activist freaks to air their sonic predilections and political views. Its DJs rank among the most knowledgeable in the region, and the sheer diversity of HER's programming puts most other outlets to shame. (I'm listening to the show Alone in the Woods now, and its pastoral rock and folk beauty is exquisite.) Besides this great service, the station is working on infrastructure to broadcast terrestrially (as KHUH, 100.3 FM) and is often hosting adventurous live music acts. DAVE SEGAL


Sundance Cinemas
4500 Ninth Ave NE

Don't you wish there were a movie theater with a full bar? Oh wait, there is! Don't you wish a movie theater would serve better dinner fare than, like, hot dogs? Oh wait, one does! Don't you wish you could select your seats in advance so you didn't have to do a mad dash for an aisle seat? Oh wait, you can! Sundance Cinemas lets you choose your seats when you buy your ticket (which you do in advance at sundancecinemas.com), and there's no silly rule about drinking your booze in some godforsaken corral in the middle of the lobby. You can take your drink all the way to your seat, like a civilized person. And the seats are big and comfy. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZLE


Mediterranean Express
1417 Broadway

Small and unpretentious, Mediterranean Express is the only inexpensive yet quality Middle Eastern eatery on Capitol Hill. (I need to ascend a couple of tax brackets before I can afford Mamnoon.) This is a sorry state of affairs for a Detroit-born dude of Syrian descent, so I'll take what I can get. Granted, Mediterranean Express's menu is standard, but it does the old standbys with a freshness and an efficiency that are ideal for people on strict budgets and deadlines. Middle Eastern joints rule because they cater to vegans like me without having to try too hard, and Mediterranean Express fills my baba ghanoush–loving heart with unequivocal joy. DAVE SEGAL


The Slug Hole
Buried beneath Linda's on Pine

A BYOB DIY dive that used to be an auto shop that used to be a patch of grass. Decent tomato soup, but the spoons are locked up at night so the junkies don't use them to shoot up in the alley. Half of Alice Wheeler's photos were taken in the bathroom. Many still remain on the walls. It's the last place Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were seen wearing pained and stunned expressions, the first place Morris Graves scratched out a bird on a bathroom wall, and the birthplace of never truly knowing anyone at all. If the Slug Hole goes, so goes Seattle. RICH SMITH


From Our Readers:


The Jefferson Lawn Bowling Club
4103 Beacon Ave S

On an impeccably neat lawn in the pinky rosy tones of early evening at the Jefferson Lawn Bowing Club, you can overlook one of the loveliest views of the Sound with a "bowl" in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. You feel like you’re in a Maxfield Parrish print. It is glorious; a wonderful country club without any of the assholes, just friendly folks who like to engage in a little physical social activity and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Every time I go I marvel at how special it is. KATHRYN RATHKE


Mercury @ Machinewerks
1009 E Union St

The third incarnation of the legendary and infamous Machinewerks resides in a dark dingy basement off a once quiet lane that recently became Capitol Hill’s newest boom street. It’s a members only goth-industrial club, sort of like the Knights of Columbus, but for Seattle’s black-dressed, fetish-loving set. They’ll make you jump through a few hoops before you can get in on your own, but it’s nothing untoward and well worth it. Expect inexpensive, lovingly prepared drinks, respectful patrons, and a friendly staff that sticks to and enforces the rules…making this one of the safest, most welcoming places in Seattle. TOM SCHMITZ


The Siren Tavern Dart Shop
3403 4th Ave S

A dive for sure, but spacious. There’s a back patio for those who enjoy a smoke with their drink, and also tons of dart boards, a few pool tables, and always an open spot at the bar. The drinks are cheap, the food is fried, the staff is friendly. There's a tight community of regulars, but they are super welcoming. You may even stumble in to a charity potluck on your visit. A great spot in an otherwise desolate section of the Industrial District, which it shares along with Orient Express and Ghostfish Brewery. AMANDA GEMMILL


Cafe Turko
900 N. 34th St

Kitschy, roomy, and covered in Islamic art, Café Turko is my favorite place to get a taste of Istanbul. Everything about it is just right; the Islamic script lining the walls, the piquant spices flavoring the doner kebab, and the piping hot Turkish coffee. Nothing beats a warm pita, olives, and hummus on a gray day in Fremont. I will never forget when I took my Islamophobic, conservative father there for dinner one night. It was his first Middle Eastern meal ever. I was giddy when he reluctantly looked up and said, “Middle Eastern food is damn good.” ROBERT KAMINSKI


Al's Tavern
2303 N 45th St

Al's is cozy and unpretentious. I love the cushy benched seating, the tabletop Pac-Man game tucked in the corner, the cheap beer served in mason jars (in a way that doesn't come off as snooty and contrived), and the reheated Ore-Ida tater tots that make up the majority of its tiny food menu. I tend to be a bit aloof (like any good Seattleite), but the bartenders here are incredibly friendly and easy to talk to. The crowd is always great, too. Some nights it's old dudes hanging out with their adorable dogs. Some nights it's crowded with younger queers. My girlfriend and I had our first date here and have had many dates here since. CLAIRE SIMON


Cafe Racer
5828 Roosevelt Way NE

I graduated from UW two years ago, but this place is one of the reasons I'm still living in the University District. Racer has the distinction of being a spot where you can both watch some great bands at night and eat corned beef hash and eggs the morning after. It's also host to the Dune comic drawing jam, but its big tables and cozy back room make it great for hanging out and drawing with your friends any day of the month. CLAIRE SIMON


Vito’s Restaurant & Lounge
927 9th Ave

The handcrafted cocktails are legit, and they won't force you to mortgage your home in order to cover the tab. Barkeep: just like the sort who took care of your Grandpa. Live local jazz and frequented by all walks of life. When I close my eyes I dream of their Old Fashioneds. Oh yeah, and they have a cougar room, which is a private banquet room with a life-size cougar in it. You’re welcome. KATHRYN HOWELL


Joe Bar
810 E Roy St

Joe Bar is a cafe at the north end of Broadway. If you blink you’ll miss it. And now, without the Harvard Exit, there is no bigger place sending traffic it's way. It does coffee well, and, more recently, it’s started making crepes, panini and soup, as well as serving prosecco along with other wine and beer. But the small, intimate space itself is what makes the place great. I can still remember when you could smoke in one of the two tiny loft spaces. The art on display is precise, aware, and a bit ironic, but, since this is Seattle, it’s only a bit ironic. Go there while it is still here. ROBERT CORBETT


Pam’s Kitchen
1715 N 45th St, 609 Eastlake Ave E

When Pam’s Kitchen was forced out of its U-District home a few years ago, all signs pointed to a New Seattle that was a post-apocalyptic hellscape devoid of roti—the warm, buttery, voluminous flatbread piled high into baskets alongside India-influenced Trini dishes. Miraculously, Pam’s is back, in Wallingford across from the QFC. While waiting for the tenderest of lamb curry, have a rum punch. I recommend the sorrel, if a boozy Christmas-in-Trinidad vibe is your thing. Fried plantains, aloo pies, and jerk chicken abound. Go. Now. We’ve seen what life without Pam’s is like, and it’s hardly worth living. JILL ANDERSON


Smarty Pants
6017 Airport Way S

I have a rule against two-bus bars, but I make an exception for Smarty Pants. It’s a place that will remind you that there are still interesting people in Seattle. You might find yourself sitting next to a printmaker, an airplane mechanic, a filmmaker, a moto-racing enthusiast, or a musician from one of your favorite local bands. The bartenders are sassy, the beer selection, while small, is good, the patio is lively, and the food is delicious. Order the cheesy chicken enchilada soup when it’s available on Fridays, and start making your way down the sandwich list. MOLLY FOSTER


Two Bells Tavern
2313 4th Ave

This is the best lunch place in downtown Seattle to get a decent burger. The menu never changes. Never ever. There is one special and it also appears to vary only slightly. The vinyl seats are dark red and the bathrooms have years of people's phone numbers painted out but the best part is that no one fits in or out here. LAUREN


Twice Sold Tales
1833 Harvard Ave

Twice Sold Tales on Capitol Hill is a maze of used books, larger than it seems from the outside, that has been in business on the Hill for nearly 30 years. Besides the affectionate pack of cats and good selection of used titles, it has a stunning huge neon sign of an orange cat on a book, a local landmark. There is also a genuine brass plaque up over the cat box door(discreetly hidden in a closet), dedicating the contents of said cat box to the writings of Christopher Frizzle.(This plaque has been up since 2003, in the old location originally, when said staff writer said the store smelled of cats.) This brass plaque has been a stopping point for all new employees of The Stranger, so that they can snap a selfie in front of it.The staff is friendly, and if they don't have the book you want, they will suggest where in town to find it. Evening sale every day, 25% off, starting at 6 pm to close. JAMIE LUTTON (owner)


The Sunlight Cafe
6403 Roosevelt Way NE

The Sunlight Cafe serves up vegetarian fare along with a retro-hippie vibe. It's been around for decades: the ambience and aesthetics are 1970's funk, and everyone acts mellow and happy to be there. Great Yogi chai tea, perfect black bean burritos. The desserts are divine—the chocolate tofu cheesecake will keep you smiling for days. Recently, it appeared that the restaurant would have to move, due to gentrification, and I went into mourning.  They now have a two-year lease / stay of execution, so patronize the place while it is still in the groovy Roosevelt neighborhood! ALISON JENNINGS


Annapurna Cafe
1833 Broadway

Annapurna was the first restaurant I stepped foot in when I moved here 12 years ago, and the weekly go-to for my fella and me. It feels like a second home. Their mango martinis and everything's-good-I-can't-make-up-mind-mind Nepalese menu keep us coming back, along with the hovering yet efficient and friendly staff who inevitably yank the small plate from in front of you before the entrees arrive, regardless of whether you're using it. Annapurna's cozy underground dining room is great for a warm meal on a cold day, or a warm meal on a hot day. This is the one place in Seattle that's caused me to threaten to move if it closes. SARAH


OH. AND. We probably missed some places that you love. And guess what? You can help us fix that! To make this noncomprehensive list a little more comprehensive, just e-mail rich@thestranger.com with your 100-word ode to that special place you want to see survive using the subject line "Keep Seattle Great." He'll review your entry, edit it for clarity, and add it to the bottom of the piece at his discretion.