Il Bistro


I don’t blame anyone for assuming this Pike Place Market bar is a tourist trap, but this place is sexy and the entire menu is exquisite. They have several unusual amaros, rare scotches, and there’s a nice balance of high-proof, low-ABV, and booze-free drinks available.

Korochka Tavern


Owners Lisa Malinovskaya and Kendall Murphy opened this old-world drinking parlor together, taking inspiration from Lisa’s upbringing in Moscow, as well as her childhood nickname. (Korochka means “heel of the bread,” a name Lisa earned for being stubborn.) I’m in love with this bar: the showy wallpaper, the birch juice, the housemade beet and horseradish vodkas. They also have non-alcoholic kvass.

Oliver’s Twist


At Oliver’s Twist, all the drinks are reliably fabulous, balancing between creative stuff like the Pickwick Papers (mezcal, Ancho Reyes, pear-rosemary shrub, lemon juice, and Angostura bitters) and well-styled standards, like their simple but succulent Dark & Stormy with Cruzan blackstrap rum. Sit at the bar, if you can: the bartenders are sweet and chatty, and the bar-top crowd’s a real hilarious scene.

Zig Zag Cafe


This is the cradle of the mid-aughts craft cocktail renaissance, thanks to bartender Murray Stenson, whose repopularizing of Prohibition-era cocktails—including his signature Last Word—happened in this place. Murray’s long since moved on to greener bars, but his legacy remains at Zig Zag, and you’ll still find some of the most inspired cocktails in town inside this unassuming cinder-block basement.


Blue Moon Tavern


Say what you will about the Blue Moon—it’s crusty, it’s loud, weirdos will talk to you—but you can’t say it’s not an essential Seattle dive. It’s got those great wooden booths with generations of hysterical tripped-out messages carved into them, there’s live music on most nights and it’s good, and this historic place has been all kinds of things over its 90 years in business, from a communist treehouse to a biker bar to a grunge haunt.

The Deluxe Bar & Grill


You wanna go to the Deluxe for big messy burgs, tots, cheap wells, and a chill respite from the surging crowd of woooo!-ing Capitol Hill people. Nice cocktails at the Deluxe too, and oh, that pressed tin ceiling.

Hattie’s Hat


With its vintage sailed-around-the-cape mahogany bar, kickass diner menu, and perennial crowd of drunks congregated around the TV forever playing VCR movies, Hattie’s Hat is an inestimable Seattle treasure. The food’s solid and inexpensive, and the bathroom graffiti is always prime literature. This is a hallowed and precious place.

Marco Polo


Marco Polo has arguably the best fried chicken in this insufferable cityscape where fried chicken has somehow become haute cuisine and costs $22 for four wings. That’s because they have one of those OG pressure fryers with the giant fuckin’ crank on top, sometimes marketed as Broasters in the ’50s and ’60s. I also really love the vintage bar with the big vinyl bumper on it.

The Streamline Tavern


You kinda can’t fuck with the Streamline. People wanna act like it lost its powers when it moved a few blocks away, but the new pad has the cool-ass red-and-black checkerboard floor, plus they hauled that huge 1950s bar and all those exact same green pleather bar stools up the street, so what more do you want? They also have pickled eggs—hell yeah.


Beveridge Place Pub


Out in West Seattle, Beveridge Place keeps it local, serving craft beers across a magnificent Victorian cherrywood bar. This is a beer nerd’s bar, and the list is massive. The aesthetic is like a pub in the idyllic English countryside, with a truly beautiful floral outdoor space and cute dogs in abundance.

Brouwer’s Cafe


This is a Belgian beer hall in an old warehouse, and not only do they carry 18 fuck-tons of brews from 15-plus countries, they also have several dozens of scotches. The food here’s quite good, and they do events, such as Beerlesque! (Need I explain?)

Über Tavern


I’ll confess that I’m not really a beer dude, but I’ve never not had a great time at Über, which has such a tremendous variety of imported and domestic beers that I can always find something I like. Plus they have beer cheese!




Add-a-Ball is a very weird place. The majority of games are arcane shit seemingly rescued from a Midwestern bowling alley basement. Pinball people have a hard-on for this bar, but even if you’re a normal person, it’s fun to just wander the arcade and enjoy all the wacky art and see what you can find. Also, they have fernet! Fernet in a video arcade! Who am I, Mr. Belvedere?



The arcade list here is real decent, and there’s booze—cool, great! That’s what we want from barcades. But the best thing about Coindexter’s is the ridicu-licious food, and the fact that they serve it late. Nacho fries and grilled cheese on Texas toast until midnight—which isn’t really late-night for most people, but it is for Seattle.

Jupiter Bar


Half of Jupiter Bar is a fucking ginormous video arcade with every single game you could ever name. That’s only the second-best thing about Jupiter, though; the first is Lupe Flores’s food kiosk, Situ Tacos, which has the best tacos AND the best soup you’ve ever had in your life. The Lebanese browned beef and the vegan cauliflower tacos are tied for first for me. If she has soup on the menu and you don’t get it, no matter what kind it is, you fucked up.