How many times have you said to yourself, "I want to be drunk... but I don't know where to go!"? The Stranger is happy to aid your inebriation by suggesting just a few of the fine liquor bars in Seattle. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but merely a few joints that we like, with bartenders who know how to pour a good tumbler of liquor. Included are sobering statistics on happy hours, bar chow, entertainment, and our patented "fun-o-meter." NOTE! The fun-o-meter registers high if it's a great place for dancing, yelling, and fistfights, and low if it's a great place for chatting, romance, or somberly meditating on your stinking rotten life.

700 CLUB
700 Virginia Ave 343-1255

This bar will revive memories of those great out-of-town clubs, because there is no food in sight! The dark, nook-filled club shares a liquor license with Jersey's Sports Bar next door (where you can get a sandwich if you like), but couldn't be more different, with jazzy funk spinning practically every day of the week. The crowd can get a bit too dressy, but hey! You could use a few fashion tips, couldn't you?

Happy Hours:
Happy? I'll show you happy!
Bar Food: Go next door.
Drink Strength: 6
Entertainment: DJs.
Fun-o-meter: 6

85 Pike (in Post Alley) 623-3180

The Alibi Room plays up its connection to the local film industry by hosting industry networking nights, occasional script readings, and a shelf full of scripts for your perusal. If you come here just to hang out, the decor makes it uncomfortable for anyone in less than business clothes, though DJ nights help bring in a younger crowd.

Happy Hours: None.
Bar Food: Chi-chi appetizers and sandwiches.
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: DJs Wed-Sun.
Fun-o-meter: 4

1517 Pike Place Market 624-7166

The perfect place to kick off an all-day drunk, especially considering it's only open from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. One of the oldest bars in Seattle, with one of the best views of the sound; both the daytime hours and the strong drinks ensure a hearty number of old-timers and regulars. Bonus: for those who like their milkshakes alcoholic, Smith & Wessons are made with real ice cream.

Happy Hours:
Beer specials before noon, well drinks 5-6:30 pm (closing time).
Bar Food: Breakfast, lunch, or early dinner.
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: Nothing but conversation and a lovely view.
Fun-o-meter: 7

503 Third Ave 622-7665

Perhaps the most comfortable space in Pioneer Square, except on the weekends. That's when Square-crawlers invade this cozy, couch- and comfy-chair-filled nightspot, with some of the best turntable spins in town. But weeknights? Choice.

Happy Hours: 4:30-7 pm.
Bar Food: Pizza.
Drink Strength: 6
Entertainment: DJs.
Fun-o-meter: 6

Eastlake Ave & Lynn St 329-7559

Belly up to the bar for fresh fruit drinks and kick-ass Margaritas. Hotty, qualified bartenders and low-key boozing make this a late-night must-stop on Eastlake, but avoid Mondays unless you like cigar smoke. Over 45 different tequilas? ¡Ay Caramba! Glug, glug, glug!

Happy Hours: Tues night tequila specials and tapas.
Bar Food: Regular dining menu.
Drink Strength: 6
Entertainment: Live guitar Sundays.
Fun-o-meter: 4


8549 Greenwood N 782-9260

This bar mixes Greenwood fishermen with good old-fashioned North End trash. Lynnwood is alive and well in our fair city, if ya know what I mean. The Baranof offers an assortment of leering locals who'll give you a shoulder colder than a Ballard man's balls at the annual polar bear swim.

Happy Hours: 6 am-7 pm, $2-2.25 for well drinks.
Bar Food: Fried delicacies
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: An occasional "One Man Show."
Fun-o-meter: Fun for Greenwood, I guess.

614 Maynard Ave S (between Sixth & Seventh) 682-6830

No-nonsense, no-frills karaoke joint, best left unattended by hipsters. The food is best left untried, drinks best downed as rapidly as possible. Local crowd adds flavor.

Happy Hours:
None currently.
Bar Food: Japanese.
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: Karaoke every night, 9:30-close.
Fun-o-meter: 9

524 15th Ave E (at Mercer) 322-3130

Old-English style 23-year-old pub--two pool tables, two fireplaces, sooty as all get out. Quite the local joint. The Stranger is split on the quality of the food, but there's no denying the Canterbury's coziness--nor its nauseating French fry aroma. Good strong doubles.

Happy Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am-6 pm, 50 off all drinks.
Bar Food: An "immense" menu. Breakfast all day, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, "big" potatoes.
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: Not usually.
Fun-o-meter: 6

414 E Pine St 325-2149

Here you'll find stiff drinks in a setting reminiscent of I Dream of Jeannie's bottle. The bartenders are always friendly, in a no-bullshit kind of way. The crowd is youngish and mixed, with lots of undersized eye-wear, although Jean Enersen has also been spotted. We had the delicious Mixed Mezze Plate: its Spanish cheese, raita, hummus, contrasting olives, and grilled pita brimmed with Mediterranean goodness.

Happy Hours: Daily 4-7 pm, $4 Martinis, Manhattans, and Cosmopolitans.
Bar Food: Rocks the Casbah.
Drink Strength: 9.5
Entertainment: Occasional belly dancing and live music.
Fun-o-meter: 9


15 Madison 726-0565
We don't go there for the cruising or the porno. That's why we never go there alone. We don't go next door to eat--although you should know the restaurant serves food 24/7 and you can get fries with that shake. We go there because they have strong drinks in tall glasses--pint glasses, in fact. They've got a patio, too, open any time you're in the mood to sit outside: hot, cold, rain or shine.

Happy Hours: 6 am-7:30 pm, 5-7 pm hors d'oeuvres.
Bar Food: Full grease menu next door (Cadillac Grill).
Drink Strength: 8.5
Entertainment: Only what your eyes provide.
Fun-o-meter: 5


625 Broadway E 324-9697
A neighborhood favorite, the Deluxe is a great place to talk-amongst-yourselves if you can dodge the odd herd of vocal collegiate wannabes. Lots of kooky drink specials and a smattering of vodka options.

Happy Hours: 4-7 pm & 11 pm-close.
Bar Food: Regular dining menu, but avoid the fancy-schmancy stuff. Their buffalo wings kick ass with extreme prejudice. Woof!
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: Bring your own.
Fun-o-meter: 4

1102 N 34th St 632-4300

Oh sure, this dimly lit restaurant/bar hybrid ("est. since 1984") resembles a satanic cafeteria. But where else can you hope to play doubles at pool with a nice Christian gal from Everett against a pair of randy Russian sailors fresh off the boat? Add hotty (and in the case of Janet, abusive) bartenders, stir gently, and pour. Ahhh.

Happy Hours: 4-7 pm. Drink specials nightly.
Bar Food: Burgers, sammies, and the rest of the restaurant junk. A friend swears the Monster Burger cured his hangover.
Drink Strength: 6; 8 if you know the secret password.
Entertainment: Two big-ass TVs, darts, pool table, video poker, jukebox, Janet.
Fun-o-meter: 6, but your results may vary.

4720 University Way NE at 47th 525-4493

Despite being in the U-District, Earl's manages to ward off most frat and sorority types, making it a pleasant place to stumble into near the end of an evening. Definitely not admired for its decor; it embodies squalor at its most beautiful.

Happy Hours: 12-1 pm & 4:30-6:30 pm.
Bar Food: Full menu available 10 am-4 pm.
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: Jukebox, darts, pool, foosball, video games, pinball.
Fun-o-meter: 4

300 Broadway E 324-0229

It's loud, it's smoky, and comfortable as all get-out. The post-grunge crowd meets here, still drinking in celebration of guitar and drum sets. Not always pretty, but entertaining and honest. Sit at the bar early, and meet the patrons who ought to have their names engraved on the bar stools.

Happy Hours: M-F 10 am-2 pm, 50 off well drinks.
Bar Food: Good ol' greasy spoon, full menu, limited hours.
Drink Strength: 8
Entertainment: Pull tabs, Broadway transients, jukebox.
Fun-o-meter: 8

University Plaza Hotel 400 NE 45th St 634-0100
The best part about this place is the profoundly cheesy medieval-themed corridor. Upon entering the bar, a knight on a chalkboard greets you with the words, "Once upon a time, a knight came in for a beer and liked it!" It looked more like the Black Death had arrived, as there were only a few patrons in the cavernous, dark wood/red vinyl bar.

Happy Hours: Mon-Fri 4-7 pm, $2 cocktails.
Bar Food: Excellent quesadillas and buffalo wings. Full menu.
Drink Strength: 3
Entertainment: Three TVs, all loudly tuned to different channels.
Fun-o-meter: 4


2203 First Ave (at Blanchard) 441-3377
If you're about to OD on cosmopolitans and cell-phone hipsters, you'll be relieved to find the Frontier Room in the midst of Belltown's chi-chi lounges. This satisfying, dimly lit, no-frills dive serves the stiffest drinks in town (order a Vodka Tonic, and get vodka on the rocks with a splash of tonic), and features polite but curt bartenders who don't try to schmooze you to death.

Happy Hours: 10 am-6 pm (!)
Bar Food: Greasy omelets, burgers, and diner fare.
Drink Strength: 11
Entertainment: Jukebox, video game.
Fun-o-meter: 4

116 Stewart 448-6369

place to see your friend's band play. The bar itself is smoky and dark, with darts, a juke box, and stiff drinks. When there's no entertainment happening, the clientele ranges from fishermen to old-timers. Try the hipster karaoke on Wednesday nights.

Happy Hours: 4:30-7 pm.
Bar Food: Hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: Karaoke Wed, live music Thurs-Sat.
Fun-o-meter: 6


8519 15th NW 783-5164
Goooo Paaackers! Oh Gawd, if you want to go to a good Paaackers Bar this is the place to go, you know. Aw heck, the drinks are as stiff as Reggie White's pecker at a Janet Jackson concert. I had some good beef ribs there, and you can go to the titty bars down the block at half-time. Okay then, there you go.

Happy Hours:
Aw, it's a happy place there.
Bar Food: Chuck Wagon Style!
Drink Strength: Depends on who you know.
Entertainment: Centerfolds on "Shaving Night"(next door).
Fun-o-meter: Better when the strippers come over, okay then.

500 Wall 441-9326

Looking to escape your boring friends? Well, they'll never find you here! This lounge is attached to one of Seattle's fanciest retirement high-rises, and though the crowd might be a little long in the tooth, the Martinis and Manhattans are just right! P.S. Get there early! The bar closes at (yawnnnn) 9:00 pm!

Happy Hours: M-F 4:30-6:30 pm.
Bar Food: Quesadillas, nachos, calamari, etc.
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: TV.
Fun-o-meter: 3

5919 Airport Way S 763-0570

The grand dame of Seattle's liquor bars, and the longest continually running one (even during Prohibition)! Discreetly tucked away in beautiful Georgetown, across the street from the old Rainier Brewery, Jules Maes serves up fascinating history along with each drink, and you should certainly die ashamed if you never go there.

Happy Hours: Happy all the time.
Bar Food: Daily specials, American diner food.
Drink Strength: 8
Entertainment: Live music Fri & Sat.
Fun-o-meter: 7

10201 Greenwood Ave N 783-8010

Although we think they should go even more overboard with the Hawaiian decor, this friendly, comfortable bar has a great karaoke set-up, plenty of room for your rowdy friends, chicken fried steak on the bar menu, and if you can't find the liquor you want... the manager will ORDER it for you! This we like.

Happy Hours: 3-6 pm, $2 drink specials after 9 pm.
Bar Food: Dinner menu before 10 pm, cold sammiches after.
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: Karaoke (Sat) and... well, bowling.
Fun-o-meter: 7


7115 Woodlawn NE 522-1168
Servin' up honky-tonk for 40-odd years, the Hen is Seattle's quintessential redneck country-western dive. You can almost smell the hay on the floor and the Chaps on the men. The bartenders are encouraging in drink selection and there's never a cover charge.

Happy Hours: Daily 6-11 am & 5-8 pm--but any excuse for an all-day happy hour (say, tax day), and look out--rodeo. Tues $2 microbrews w/free pool.
Bar Food: Better not bother.
Drink Strength: 8
Entertainment: Live music & dancing Thurs-Sun, country karaoke Wed.
Fun-o-meter: 9

2331 Second Ave 441-9842
There's only room for about 15 people to sit at the bar, but of all the places to go after a late-evening show (the Palace, the Flying Fish, and the spanking-new Brasa), Lush Life remains the most comfortable, the most accommodating, the friendliest swank to have an Armagnac with you and yours. It's quieter, the late-night menu's better, and your date really needs the tiramisu.

Happy Hours:
Bar Food: Regular menu is served in the bar.
Drink Strength: 6
Entertainment: Occasional live music.
Fun-o-meter: 2

6421 Latona NE (at NE 65th) 526-1188
Tucked away on the border of Wallingford and Green Lake, Mona's is a smallish drinkery known for its upwardly mobile clientele, fancy-pants cocktails, live jazz, and (Rrrrrowrr!) gorgeous bartenders (ask for Jean). An extremely well-stocked bar featuring a great variety of vodkas, scotches, tequilas, and rums.

Happy Hours: After midnight.
Bar Food: Tapas, salads, grilled things on a stick.
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: Live jazz on Thurs & Sat... don't go to chat.
Fun-o-meter: 4

2108 N 45th 633-4280

Hidden away in Wallingford, the Moon Temple offers one of the quietest, most pleasant bars in town. Everything about the dark little room is extremely low-key, from the lo-fi little jukebox to the easy bartenders. A great place for drinking and conversation.

Happy Hours: None.
Bar Food: Full menu of Chinese delights.
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: Jukebox, darts.
Fun-o-meter: 3

(Moore Hotel, Second Ave & Virginia) 448-4852

Before Greek Row took over, the Nitelite was a safe haven for hipsters and quiet drinkers. Now you have to fight through a sea of baseball caps and khakis just to get a drink. Still, if you arrive early enough and stake out a seat, the swank decor and stiff drinks will lull you into a pleasant buzz where even the most obnoxious individuals can be easily ignored.

Happy Hours: Mon-Fri 4-8 pm, $1 Pabst & $2 Bud pints.
Bar Food: Chicken strips, fries, various fried food.
Drink Strength: 6
Entertainment: Jukebox with oldies & country.
Fun-o-meter: 6


2030 Fifth Ave 448-2001
Tom Douglas runs this cozy and beautifully lit establishment, and we saw him there, speaking nicely to his help. Maybe he was telling them to go easy on the booze, because our drinks seemed a little mild, although the $6 Lemon Drop was an Absolut work of art. Four different Stolis spelled vodka heaven, and our quiet bartender grew on us (not literally). Affluent patrons appeared enthusiastic yet well-mannered.

Happy Hours: The rich are already happy.
Bar Food: Salty Vegetable Chips (potato, sweet potato, and taro root) were extra-special, as was the highly touted Plin (pork-chard ravioli).
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: Spankin' your neighbor.
Fun-o-meter: 4

First Ave & Pike (in the Market) 621-8555

A great hide-away for that tricky combination of drinkin' and romance. Patti Summers and the Gary Steele combo provide old-school jazz and can't-wipe-the-smile-off-your-face entertainment from 9:30 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, followed by rock bands. Blended fresh fruity pleasures are the drink of choice. Cocktail culture without (thank God!) the irony.

Happy Hours: None, open from 5 pm-2 am.
Bar Food: $1.95 bar menu--nachos, linguine, chili, burgers, fries.
Drink Strength: 6
Entertainment: And how!
Fun-o-meter: 6


6049 Seaview Ave NW 789-3770
Upstairs from the more sedate Ray's Boathouse, Ray's Cafe offers some of the best happy hour food values in the area. While the drinks are unspectacular and the clientele occasionally suffers from an elevated yayhoo factor (characterized by men loudly using "Bang!" as a conversational exclamation), the half-priced cafe menu items are sure tummy-pleasers.

Happy Hours:
Daily 4-6 pm & 10 pm-midnight.
Bar Food: Quesadillas, calamari, mussels, and burgers that won't do you wrong.
Drink Strength: 3
Entertainment: Bang.
Fun-o-meter: 2

2320 Second Ave (between Battery & Bell) 441-5823

The place for hardcore drinkers. On the weekends the Rendezvous is always packed, but during the week only the regulars are saddled up to the bar, offering keen insights on life via drunken ramblings. Order a Vodka Tonic and you're likely to get something suspiciously like kerosene.

Happy Hours: They don't like to advertise, so you'll just have to drink there all the time.
Bar Food: Sandwiches & soup, full menu.
Drink Strength: 9
Entertainment: Jukebox, stumbling drunks.
Fun-o-meter: 7


719 E Pike (near Broadway) 323-6636
The convenient double happy hours combined with a selected $5 mixed-drinks list--Blue Valium, Melonball, Monte's Punch (Southern Comfort, amaretto, cranberry, o.j.)--make this a great place to get blasted on a Sunday afternoon. The lack of ambience and entertainment, plus the stupid artsy crowd, is more than compensated for by the strength of the drinks. Cool garden out back.

Happy Hours: 4-7 pm & 10 pm-1 am (beer, wine, liquor).
Bar Food: Good quesadillas and artichoke crab dip.
Drink Strength: 9
Entertainment: Bartender's choice of CD.
Fun-o-meter: 3

1413 14th Ave 323-2158

Old queer chic, and straight-friendly. The occasional gaggle of butt-rockers wander over from the Breakroom next door, but like ebony and ivory, everybody lives in harmony. Stiffies include the drinks, and the bartenders and bouncers are dolls! Plus, soft-core gay porn or Cher videos on the tube? Sounds like an evening to me!

Happy Hours: 11 am-7 pm.
Bar Food: Burgers, fries, pasta.
Drink Strength: 8
Entertainment: Pool, darts, jukebox, video games, mostly naked men on the TV.
Fun-o-meter: 8

94 Pike St Suite 34 467-9990

A romantic little corner at Chez Shea above the Pike Place Market, and a real winner. Our bartender was cheery and conversational without pandering. They've got a smart little wine-by-the-glass list and moderately priced appetizers (Lounge Pizza for $6.95). The Bruschetta of the Day ($5.95) was served over toasted Tuscan-style bread. No happy hour here, but they serve food in the bar until midnight.

Happy Hours: Nope.
Bar Food: Straight from Naples.
Drink Strength: 5
Entertainment: Chatty bartenders.
Fun-o-meter: 4


2622 NW Market 789-0100
Remember when you were in high school and your mom was frying cod and you snuck into your parents' liquor cabinet and chugged whiskey until you were so drunk you couldn't keep a straight face at the dinner table? That's how the Broiler is, only you have a waitress.

Happy Hours: Ballardites aren't happy.
Bar Food: Nothing but.
Drink Strength: Sufficient.
Entertainment: Husky fishmongers.
Fun-o-meter: Depends upon B.A.L. (Blood Alcohol Level).


529 Queen Anne N 283-3245
Early in the morning, they arrive: the dustily dressed old men who make Sorry Charlie's their home. This bar, divided between Howard Bulson and his ever-hep piano playing (with surprisingly talented guest singers), and the Union grunt's side, is a haven for regulars and heaven for those who love a little dinge with their grease and tequila.

Happy Hours: Sorry, Charlie.
Bar Food: Traditional greasy spoon.
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: Piano & singing, video golf, pull tabs.
Fun-o-meter: 8

2308 Union 329-2512

Unlike other venerable Seattle establishments such as Vito's and Ileen's, Thompson's is the type of bar that caters to "grown" folks. They do not suffer foolishness lightly, so don't drag your Maker's Mark-drinking behind there if you cain't handle your business. Anthropologists are forewarned: Thompson's is doggedly resistant to nostalgia--the jukebox is as likely to be blasting the latest Genuwine as Al Green.

Happy Hours: Every hour is happy. Every drink is special.
Bar Food: When the kitchen's open, have yourself a plate of wings.
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: Genuwine Al Green.
Fun-o-meter: 5

100 Denny Way (at First Ave) 284-0931
Don't be discouraged by the all-black, red-lit interior. Tini Big's is a cozy, unpretentious martini and cigar lounge with sweet, sexy waitresses and an enormous single-malt selection. Kick back in a private booth with one of their specialty martinis and a grilled rib eye, or join the chatty crowd up front by the bar. Extensive cigar menu and port/sherry list.

Happy Hour: 4-6 pm.
Bar Food: Thin crust pizza, steak, calamari.
Drink Strength: 6
Entertainment: TV, live jazz Sun 9 pm-1 am (too loud for chatting).
Fun-o-meter: 6

Corner of Ninth & Madison 682-2695

Once it was strictly goombah (before goombah was cool). Now the Mafioso image has been toned down, and the music turned up. Still a good place to get a healthy pour and feel good about smoking cigs.

Happy Hours: None currently.
Bar Food: Pizza, calamari, grilled things on a stick.
Drink Strength: 7
Entertainment: DJs or live music Thurs-Sat. Chattable, but just barely.
Fun-o-meter: 7

* * *

Thanks to all the lushes who contributed to this list: Vic Carbone, Everett True, Scott McGeath, Jim Anderson, Traci Vogel, Wm. Steven Humphrey, Brad Steinbacher, Andy Spletzer, Min Liao, Melody Moss, and Riz Rollins.