Seattle is known as the biggest city in the state of Washington, as well as the general Pacific Northwest. With several tourist attractions and an even brighter (and generally louder) nightlife, the many 21+ bars and nightclubs the city has to offer to give off that chill, laid back vibe that draws people to the PNW if you’re a local or just visiting. Whether you want to feel like you’re part of the city with such unique history, or just want a night to get dressed up and have a night out with your friends, the variety of options the emerald city has helped keep it active and alive. Listed in the five categories below, here are some of the best bars in the greater Seattle that are definitely worth a visit.
Unicorn, Capitol Hill
One of the many sites located in this rather colorful part of town, known for being the center of greater Seattle’s LGBT and counterculture communities, it’s no wonder this spot leaves customers wanting to come back. The host of many events, including a music video for greater Seattle rapper Macklemore’s 2012 hit “Thrift Shop”, as well as a full game room downstairs, this two-story, circus-themed bar offers a whimsical vibe, and a medley of cocktails, carnival food, and sweet treats to go with it. You walk in, and you can choose to either hang out in the upper seating area or head downstairs to a more low-lit room with an empty stage and one of the many friendly bartenders providing a positive experience.
The Screwdriver, Belltown
If you’re looking for a more mellow experience where you really feel like home, then this self-named “rock utopia” is the place to check out. Just from the name of this bar, you could And when they say rock utopia, they’re not playing around. This bar opened just three years ago, by three friends who wanted their customers to feel how they feel after building this joint themselves: at home. Like the décor, the list of affordable, evenly balanced cocktails and very friendly hands-on service do exactly that. You walk down the stairs, greeted by blue light and a painting of a face above you saying, “ALL ABOARD FOR FUNTIME”, and enter a lounge lit with fairy lights, portraits and artifacts of greater Seattle rock legends such as Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. Almost hidden next to the bathrooms is a door that leads to the Belltown Yacht Club, which has a whole separate bar and a stage for a variety of live music. All three owners, including Chris, clearly take pride in this place, saying everything placed in this lounge “is here for a reason. Because we love it.”
Hattie’s Hat, Ballard
Packed with a three-meal menu, a variety of drinks and a big entertainment area in the back, this friendly neighborhood joint has been around since 1904. With a setting in a neighborhood so defining of the city, it’s no wonder this lounge is a favorite to the Ballard community. Specialty cocktails including Iggy’s Pop and its virgin beverage cousin Iggy’s Kombucha, as well as the Cia-A-Bunga Spritz and Bill Murray, find that balance with food choices such as Ol’ Cons Chicken Fried Chicken Sandwich, a favorite to Ballard residents like Owen Burr. “It’s just got a great atmosphere.”
Tavern Law/Needle & Thread, Capitol Hill
Having opened in Capitol Hill in 2009, Tavern Law provides the vibes from standing next to the hemlocks and firs in Washington’s forests, with a varied drink menu and a vast selection of comfort food. Upon entering the lounge, you will see, on the right side, another door and an old telephone, which leads to Needle & Thread. One of the many speakeasy bars in greater Seattle, the entrance to this one bar takes you into the scene of a vintage mystery film. After making a reservation, you enter the bar and make your arrival known by picking up the telephone to notify the bartenders on call. Alcohol expert Adam is one of the talented few who will warmly greet you up and show you to your table. With staff so welcoming and genuine, they get to know you and your taste in beverages. There’s no saying in how they know exactly what you want, but, they just know. While others prefer drinks a little more bitter, others may not know how to take their harder alcohols. “Communication is key,” Adam says. “You have to as to figure out what they’re seeking.” With great communication skills, from the bartenders to their customers as well as their coworkers, they nail it right on the head.
5 Point Café, Belltown
Located in a rather hidden part of town, this bar is one of the oldest that’s still standing and has even been in business over 30 years longer than the Space Needle has been standing. And, don’t let the word “café” fool you. Open 24 hours a day, the goal at 5 Point is to build and foster community, “to have a place for all types of people to come together, drink, eat, connect and have a good time.” Bartenders such as Sean Dunlap, do exactly that with the variety of cocktails, including their mystery shots, comfort food, and a warm and friendly environment to everyone who walks through the door. Their no-nonsense attitude also provides that safe place as well.
Linda’s Tavern, Broadway
When you first walk into this bar, it’s like you’ve walked in with cowboy boots and a ten-gallon hat, hankering for a mug of sarsaparilla. The cherry on top of the subtle cowboy theme this bar provides, giant bison head and all. Having opened in 1994, this fun and relaxed environment is perfect for a chill date night or catching up with an old friend. If you’re looking to eat, the food makes you feel right at home with the perfect amount of spices and French fries, and they provide vegetarian/vegan options as well! One of their most popular cocktails being a Peach Whiskey Sour, along with a rotating tap menu and an outdoor patio, this bar also happened to be the where greater Seattle legend Kurt Cobain, lead singer of grunge rock band Nirvana, was last seen before he took his life in April of 1994.
Rumba, First Hill
You walk into this “premiere rum bar”, and it’s like you entered from under a palm tree into paradise. With over 200 rum choices and their most popular drinks being their daiquiris, Rumba offers “a wide array of libations including prohibition-era Havana, exotic cocktails, classic punches, and Caribbean standards.” Packed with soft bar chairs, a small assortment of Tiki mugs, and a set of rum experts who help make this tropical bliss a reality, this bar helps amplify the nightlife.