Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,812 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Thursday, December 31, 2009

#963 - Atlas Foods, Seattle - 12/31/2009

For my 216th new bar in 2009, I finally made it to Atlas Foods on their last day in business after a decade in U Village.  The Chow owners say they were not a fit for a mall (nor, apparently, as partners any longer), and it's hard to argue with the point after suffering the seventh circle of hell known as "U Village Parking."  The food seemed fine to me, though I've heard mixed reviews from people who have been there more than I, and strictly as a bar it didn't appear to have anything that will be particularly missed.

2675 NE Village Ln., Seattle, WA 98105 - (206) 522-6025
seattle times - yelp - seattle weekly - chow foods

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

#962 - China Dragon, Seattle - OOO

With the previous post, I realized that I'd forgotten to list one of the venerable dive bars in my own neck of the woods, the lounge at the China Dragon.  Consider for a moment all the things that are charming about dive bars, and all the things that are disgusting about them.  This place is pretty keenly focused on the latter.  It is one of those bars where you want to get drunk BEFORE you go in.

10119 Aurora Avenue N. Seattle, WA 98133 - (206) 524-5525
yelp - citysearch

#961 - Four Seas Restaurant (Dynasty Room), Seattle (I.D.) - 12/29/2009

Update: The Four Seas and Dynasty Room closed in late 2017.

The Four Seas Restaurant and Dynasty Room Lounge
Seattle, WA
It seems to me that the grand tradition of dive bars attached to Chinese restaurants breaks down into two major designs -- what I'll call the "slipshod" and the "classic."  In the slipshod design, the bars seem to have been improvised over a hasty weekend, with decorations from a local flea market.  Cheap Chinese cardboard mix with 50s Americana and various liquor company paraphernalia, in a hodgepodge that creates the unavoidable impression that the owners were looking for almost ANYTHING to fill wall space.  Typically, the hastily improvised lighting is far too bright for a bar and eliminates what little hope of romance might have existed.  In the Slipshod design, the only thing that seems to have been planned at all is the karaoke section.  Prime examples from the Slipshod School include Greenwood's Yen Wor Garden, Aurora's China Dragon, and Lake City's Seven Seas.

Four Seas Tiki Mug, Seattle, WA
The Dynasty Room, inside the Seven Seas restaurant, is from the Classic School.  The liquor choices are limited and the decor pedestrian, but the lighting is happily low, the decorations adhere to theme, and there are few, if any, of the cheap cardboard decorations.  It's not fancy, but you can still envision the rat pack rolling in for a few generous pours of scotch and soda or whiskey and Coke.

Slipshod Chinese Restaurant dive bars can be excellent fun due to the corresponding hodgepodge of human beings they bring in.  But Classic Chinese restaurant dive bars provide a more serene and abiding pleasure.

The Four Seas Restaurant has been running here since August 1962, constructed with the idea of taking advantage of the Seattle World's Fair, although construction delays led to it opening with just two months of the exposition to go. It is owned by the same Chan family who founded it and also Tai Tung, established in 1935 and the oldest Chinese Restaurant in Seattle. While Tai Tung serves traditional cross regional Chinese dishes, the Four Seas catered to tastes for Chop Suey, General Tso's Chicken and the classic Americanized versions of Chinese fare.

Just north of the current stadiums and a tad bit further from old Sicks Field, the lounge also hosted a number of local athletes over the years, and in Northwest Asian Weekly, co-owner Dean Lum recalled:
"I even worked the night the Seattle Supersonics (all of them) came in for dinner 30 minutes after they lost the deciding 1978 NBA Championship game to the Washington Bullets. General Manager Zollie Volchok called right after the game to say, “We’re all coming down! Get three bartenders!” and hung up. To say they were completely devastated would be a gross understatement."

714 S King St., Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 682-4900
Est. Aug 1962 - Closed 2017 - Building constructed 1962
Previous bars in this location: None known
Articles ranked: nwasianweeklyseattle weekly - seattlemag - yelp -

Sunday, December 27, 2009

#960 - Lil' Jon Lounge, Bellevue, WA - 12/27/2009

As a bar, Lil' Jon holds lil' interest.

3080 148th Avenue Southeast, Bellevue, WA 98007-6420 - (425) 746-4653                
yelpurban spoon

Sunday, December 20, 2009

#959 - WingMasters, Seattle (Ballard) - 12/20//2009

Wingmasters, Ballard, Seattle
Update: Wingmasters was acquired by new ownership and reconfigured into "Fitzgerald's" in October 2015.

If you like fried food and guys dropping various shots into pints of watery beer, then go for it.  I've already described my opinion of boring, formulaic sports bars here.

Wingmasters, Ballard, Seattle
Historical notes:  There has been a bar at in this 1908 building since at least shortly after prohibition, with "Davented's Tavern" appearing in city guides in 1935. By the mid 40s it was "Club Two Hundred," which it remained into the 80s. By 1985 it was listed as the "Oar House Tavern," by 1990 as "Tor's Tavern," by 1995 the "Galaxy Tavern," and it was "Epp's Place" until 2005.

5811 24th Ave NW., Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 706-9999
Est. 2005 - Closed 2015 - Building constructed 1908
Previous bars at this location:  Davented's Tavern, Club 200, Epp's Place, Tor's Tavern, Galaxy Tavern, Oar House Tavern
yelp - the stranger - gastrognome - chowhound


#958 - Wild Mountain Cafe, Seattle - 12/20/2009

Of course most people come here for the food (which is very good and also earth friendly, BTW).  But there is also a fairly minimal but cozy bar here, at least until the 9:30pm closing time, where 8 or so people can squeeze in.  And it seems particularly welcoming when it is damp and cold outside.

1408 NW 85th St.,  Seattle, WA 98117 - (206) 297-9453 - facebook - seattletimes - yelp - notfortourists - the stranger -

Friday, December 18, 2009

#957 - The Lobby, Seattle (Capitol Hill) - 12/15/2009

The Lobby is the ambitiously remodeled and now fairly swanky bar in the space of the former King Cobra -- formerly Sugar, formerly The Easy, formerly Spintron, formerly Velocity, formerly Nine 16, formerly Ego, formerly X-Factor.  Good luck with this one, guys.  The owners reportedly want to capture the design -- but not the attitude -- of New York boutique hotel lobbies. 

The bar caters to a predominantly male and gay crowd.  The cocktails I saw seemed fairly ordinary and the bartender seemed relatively inexperienced, but the service was prompt and friendly, and made me want to root for their success.

916 E. Pike Street, Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 328-6703 - facebook - seattle pi

Thursday, December 17, 2009

#956 - The Seven Seas Lounge, Seattle (Lake City) - 12/15/2009

Update:  The Seven Seas lounge closed 5/28/2011

The lounge at the Seven Seas is a classic Chinese restaurant dive, which appears hastily assembled with various nostalgic Americana (in this case dominated by Marilyn Monroe) and drawing and odd variety of patrons. In fact, person-for-person, the light crowd in the lounge when I went may have been the most diverse set of drinkers I've ever seen; there were not more than ten people there the weeknight I dropped by, but the range included African American, Asian, Caucasian, Native American and wheelchair-bound. Debbie, the Native American representative -- a full-blooded Blackfoot, she informed me -- draws pictures as a way of getting to know people. She was chatting with me within three seconds of my entering, and had just finished a drawing of an albino giraffe on roller sakes. She asked me to name any animal. For some reason a squirrel came to mind (perhaps the recent Squirrels show at the Tractor?), and in about 30 seconds one appeared.

8914 Lake City Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115 - (206) 522-3863
myspace - - seattle weekly - yelp

#955 - Boxcar Alehouse, Seattle (Magnolia) - 12/12/2009

(Formerly, the Roadhouse)  The Boxcar, a basic neighborhood bar, was hopping on the Saturday night I went, and had a fairly ordinary mix of people, though it included this guy, who apparently had just given some marriage advice to the guy on the right and his sister.

3407 Gilman Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98199 - (206) 286-6000
myspace - - the stranger - seattle weekly

#954 - The Ebb Tide Room, Seattle - 12/11/2009

"You're going to Harbor Island on a Friday night without a knife?" asked my friend Marlowe. That comment, and the great name, had my hopes up for an interesting bar. But the Ebb Tide Room, aside the Chelan Cafe, was one of the most boring bars and crowds I've seen. It was at what one would assume is one of the busiest nights and times for a bar, but perhaps the tide schedule is different here? It does open at 6:00am.

3527 Chelan Ave SW., Seattle, WA 98106 - (206) 932-7383
facebook - Seattle Weekly - Voracious

Sunday, December 06, 2009

#953 - Cicchetti, Seattle (Eastlake) - 12/2/2009

Wow, add Cicchetti immediately to your list of great cocktail bars in the city. I'm not quite ready to put Cicchetti (chi-KET-tee, a Venetian term for a small plate of food) in my very top rated bars -- the modernist space (a previous office designed by George Suyama) leaves me a little bit cold and I'll have to get more of a feel for the clientele and conversation around the bar itself. But I may have to change my mind after working my way further through the very interesting cocktail menu (by Chris Bollenbacher), or perhaps in the summer when the open feel and garden courtyard between the bar and parent restaurant Serafina becomes even more welcoming.

We had the "Silk" (Moldovian brandy, St. Germain, Liquor 43, lemon and egg white) and the "Blushing Goddess," and both were quite fine (you can see more of the selections here). I definitely foresee coming back many times.

121 East Boston, Seattle, WA 98102 (around the corner of through the courtyard from Serafina)
web site - facebook - seattle magazine - seattle times - yelp - seattlest - the stranger

Saturday, December 05, 2009

#952 - Thompson's Point of View, Seattle - 2/3/2009

Update: Thompson's Point of View closed in late September 2011

Apparently I just missed Mrs. Thompson, and none of the patrons could tell me where the "Point Of View" part of the name comes from, including Patrice, who was celebrating her 59th birthday and has been coming there for decades (apparently it used to be "Helen's"). But I did fine this in PI:
    The tip of Mount Rainier can be glimpsed through the streetside windows, but the "point of view" refers to an expression of opinion by co-owner Carl Thompson during a discussion over potential names.

Hmmm, okay.

I'm not a big fan of soul food and this blog is about bars, but apparently if you like southern food you should definitely check out Thompson's (see the links below). The bar had a nice mix of ages and personalities, at least if you're not uncomfortable being the only white person there. The neighborhood is still a little shaky and some online reviewers report seeing drug use and gang activities, but the night I went it was an enjoyable crowd, and Patrice and I were able to easily find such points of agreement as that sagittarians are the finest people in the world.

2308 East Union St., Seattle, WA 98122 - 206 329 2512
Est. 1986 - Closed Sep 2011
seattle weekly - seattle pi - hugeasscity - voracious - yelp - seattle weekly

#951 - LTD Bar & Grill, Seattle - 11/30/2009

While other new and remodeled bars in the area seem to desire to help preserve Fremont's unique character (Sinners and Saints, 9 Million), the LTD is having none of that. Buy a standard selection of liquors, put a few beers on tap, slap TVs all over the place and tune them to sports and bingo! You've got another bar entirely devoid of character which would be at home in any godforsaken strip mall in the country.

The food, though from a pretty typical bar food menu, was ample and better than average. This was particularly gratifying because I had so much time for my hunger to mount while waiting for service. The web site offers the features "Long Shuffleboard Table, Pool, GoldenTee 2010, and an insane Jukebox." Maybe I've been spoiled by so many great new bars in town, but when one of your top four attractions is a golf video game, I'm not likely to be back often.

309 N. 36th Street, Seattle - (206) 632-7876 - facebook - yelp

#950 - Sip, Seattle (downtown) - 11/23/2009

Update: Sip closed March 31, 2012

Sip is a swanky new (opened 11/20/09) wine bar and restaurant in the shadow of the downtown public library, following locations in Issaquah and Gig Harbor. This Sip has a very nice looking patio with a sizable stretch of grass that looks like it will be fairly irresistible when Summer arrives, and several comfortable couches and soft lighting to support its "casual but elegant" style.

It features some fairly interesting cocktails, though they were not quite as well mixed as the best cocktail bars in town, a large wine selection of course, and good food (executive chef Cody Reaves). I like the bathroom sinks -- one set for both genders just outside the bathrooms themselves. The tony decor of the interior is consistent to every last touch with the exception of a curious selection of paintings that look like they would be more at home in a Señor Frog's. Perhaps the owner's nephew is a struggling artist, whose work in anthropomorphized olives at bars has yet to be fully appreciated.

909 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98164 - eric rivera - psbj - the stranger - yelp

Monday, November 23, 2009

#949 - Chopstix, Seattle - 11/21/2009

Update: Chopstix was renamed Keys on Main in March 2012.

A night at Chopstix is like watching two extremely homely people feverishly making out on the bus -- you'd rather not have to witness it, but at the same time can't help feeling a little happy that at least they found someone, seemingly against all odds. The place is packed, and with what seem to be all home-schooled kids getting drunk for the first time. Thus the dumb sex allusions by the piano players are all simply HEE-LARIOUS (OMG! OMG! I can't believe he said that!), and then the night turns absolutely AWESOME when they launch into a muddled piano version of Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer"!

The cocktail menu is unrelentingly awful and appears to be designed by teenage girls. It bizzarely finished in the Top 5 of King TV's Best Cocktails, which must be seen as a tribute to the power of organized sorority members. (BTW, when I asked for a cocktail menu, it took the bartender a while to find one, and I had to promise to return it because it was the bar's only copy.)

I'm happy that all these people can find a bar that's safe and boring enough for them to feel like part of the party. But if you've been going to bars for more than six months and don't belong to a sorority, this is not the bar for you. On the other hand, if you love good bars, good cocktails, and good music, then Chopstix is like a night of being waterboarded.

11 Roy St., Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 270-4444
Building constructed: 1918 - yelp

#948 - Toulouse Petit, Seattle - 11/21/2009

It's not often that a menu has credits for woodworkers, metal artists, and glass blowers, but the owners of Peso's are justifiably proud of this very attractive, French Quarter style restaurant next door. They also rattle off some of the stats: 712 panes of glass in the windows and doors, 85,000 Italian mosaic tiles in the floor, 40,000 glass tiles in the booth platforms, and 10,000 board feet of hardwood. (My favorite touch is the long, gently bending lamp hooks.) Other numbers I witnessed include about 200 wine choices, 40 vodkas, and around 120 votive candles sparkling on the walls.

The menu is massive and comes with a large wine list and a very large menu of modestly discounted Happy Hour items (4:00-5:30 and 10pm-close). Both my food and my cocktails were very good. Toulouse staff include chef Eric Donnelly, from Sazerac and Oceanaire, and bartenders Shing Chen, from Ovio Bistro and Wild Ginger, and Miles Thomas, from Tavern Law. It is loud -- though not as loud as Peso's, and seems to play the same sort of rock music as Peso's, which seems a bit at odds with the romantic decor. Overall it is a lovely place for dinner and/or drinks, particularly when it is dark outside.

Try the: Katie Mae

601 Queen Anne Ave N., Seattle, WA 98119 - (206) 432-9069

yelp - seattle weekly - seattle magazine - seattlest

#947 - Ascada Bistro, Seattle - 11/21/2009

The former "Perche No" location now houses a small, meat market sort of nightclub, where hapless bartenders try in vain to keep up with drink orders and telephoning credit card bills via a slow, little machine. The drinks are nothing special, but it is a fairly happening little scene, particularly if you like soul/R&B, and it does have a bunch of genuine Jimi Hendrix gold records on the wall.

621 1/2 Queen Anne Ave., Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 282-1018
yelp - citysearch - seattle pi

#946 - Lowell's, Seattle - 11/18/2009

Another honest, old place in the market (next door to the Athenian), with great views of the sound and a pleasant handful of regulars at the bar. The Lowell's location opened in 1908 as the first of Manning's Cafeterias, which eventually expanded to 40 restaurants in 9 states, including the 1964 googie architecture Ballard building (the "Taj Mahal of Ballard") that later became Denny's on 15th and Market. The Pike Place Market location became Lowell's in 1957.

Overheard "And he's been getting shitfaced by closing every day since 1974."

Try the: Seattle 75

1519 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 622-2036 - the stranger - the stranger 2- citysearch - yelp - urban spoon

#945 - Castaways, Long Beach, WA - 11/12/2009

208 Pacific Ave S., Long Beach, WA 98631 - (360) 642-4745 - yelp - yahoo - urban spoon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#944 - Top Notch Tavern, Raymond, WA - 11/12/2009

Update: Top Notch has closed and been replaces by the Pitchwood Alehouse.

The Top Notch is just the sort of bar you'd like to find on a gusty Willapa Bay weekday afternoon. The parking lot is all trucks, the interior is woodsy with taxidermy mounts and signed dollar bills tacked to the walls, and strung around the corner of the bar was a grizzled set of regulars that looked like they just rolled off of an episode of "Deadliest Catch." As soon as I entered, a fellow shook my hand and told that he'd been wondering when I'd show up again. When I told him I'd never been in this place before in my life, he informed me that there was going to be a fight, and I was going to be on his side.

A fight did not seem imminent given how comfortably ensconced in their bar stools everyone appeared -- though I've little doubt that the place has seen its share of scraps in its day. I later told Tom, the fellow that greeted me, that I was heading out to Long Beach peninsula, he told me that he used to have some kind of realtor or inspector job in that area and knew "every spot to piss in" up in those parts.

There are not a ton of google results for the Top Notch, but I did find a "Virginia's Resume" that included this:
    "Top Notch Tavern - Bartender - I quit this job because money kept missing from my check."
And I also found this note from "steveni" on
    "The Top Notch Tavern in Raymond was originally opened by my great-uncle, who had been a moonshiner and bootlegger supreme in earlier years. I believe he died in his 50s of a heart attack during his trial for murder when he beat a business associate to death with a chair in Aberdeen. Alcohol was involved, I'm sure. That is one of the milder stories about my family in Raymond."
Good stuff.

Historical notes: I know the town of Raymond as a sleepy, small community of antique shops and roadside metal sculpture, bisected by Highway 101 on the way to Long Beach.  I believe that the Top Notch is the only bar in Raymond, today, along with Tombstone Wiley's on the outskirts of town. But a century ago Raymond was rollicking. Bars preceding prohibition in town included Kuehner’s Tavern, The Russell Bar, The Astoria Bar, Owl Bar, The Palm Bar, Portland Beer Hall, Office Bar, The Doctor Bar, and the Combination Bar. Local Doug Allen quotes the Pacific County sheriff describing Raymond's 1st Street as a "howling wilderness."

Allen continues:

'Prior to the First World War there were more retail businesses on First Street and its neighboring side streets than in all of modern day Raymond.  In those days there were at least a dozen saloons, squeezed into the single city block, on the street’s south end, between Commercial and Alder.  As late as the 1930s, shopkeepers on the north end (the other three blocks) would warn customers and families to stay away from “that part of town.”
     A series of anti-beer and liquor laws, dating from 1913, and lasting until 1933, began to affect the saloon owners and shopkeepers, especially the European-born.  The prohibition era, combined with the movement of Raymond’s commercial district toward Third Street and beyond, led to significant changes in the 1930s and 1940s, which is more recognizable in the memories of today’s group of senior citizens.
     The days of Prohibition in Raymond, South Bend, and the Willapa Valley is a story unto itself but Raymond’s saloons managed to stay in business as pool halls and “social clubs.” Bootleggers and police were kept busy.  At least one dairy farmer supplemented his income by delivering milk bottles painted white, filled with the product of a secret still.
     The youngsters who grew up between World War II and the Vietnam War recall a different First Street.  By then it was a collection of beer parlors, card rooms, aging rooming houses, and a few fading grocery stores and cafes.  Two or three houses of prostitution, historically tolerated by the city and police, continued to operate, but a corrosive political climate had turned against the “old days.”  People growing up during those years have their own memories of the area, and some may have been told by parents to stay away from “that street.”
     Searching back before the ‘forties, to the period of time between 1903 and 1930, the amateur sleuth can discover a street that had been the city’s focal place of business and social life.  Even in the years immediately following World War II, through the 1950s, First Street clung to its former character, its businesses and social gatherings still reflecting a vibrant role in the life of the city.
     The First Street of Raymond’s early years is a dimming memory; Ray Wheaton’s “Howling Wilderness” is gone.  The few older buildings still standing are the lamentable relics of a more glorious, or possibly infamous, past.  The Cedar Tavern finally closed just a few years ago, a crumbling reminder of what once was.  And as for the glory years, an accurate communal memory threatens to fade and disappear, as the men and women who recall the area’s youthful exuberance grow old and pass on.'  (The Sou'Wester)

425 Third Street, Raymond, WA 98577

#943 - The Spectator, Seattle - 11/11/2009

Update: The Spectator closed and the building was demolished in 2015.

Take the former Sorry Charlie's and Mirabeau Room, add 16 televisions and remove all personality, and you have The Spectator. The people working here were pretty cool, but if you're not one of their friends, it is not apparent to me why you would ever, ever go here.

529 Queen Anne Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 599-4263
Previous bars at this location: Bob Clay's Restaurant, Sorry Charlie's, Mirabeau Room - yelp - the stranger - bar exam

#942 - Streamline Tavern, Seattle - 11/11/2009

The Streamline is a bare bones dive bar that was recently acquired by ex-Seattle P.I. writer Mike Lewis and some partners:

    "Lewis' partners include: Lock & Keel owner John Herrmann, former College Inn owner Gary Kelfner (who, incidentally, is former SW editor/current Crosscut columnist Skip Berger's brother-in-law), and Blue Moon bartender Mary McIntyre, who is also Lewis' longtime girlfriend and whose tastefully nude (no nipples!) likeness adorns the sign of the historic U-District bar which currently employs her." (Seattle Weekly 9/16/09)

It appears that the Streamline is applying for a liquor license in order to extend beyond wine and beer, and at least for now it serves as a sort of slow, grandfatherly alternative to neighbor dives like the Mecca and Ozzies.

121 W Mercer St., Seattle, WA 98119 - (206) 283-2923

Seattle Weekly - yelp - the stranger

Saturday, November 14, 2009

#941 - Stumbling Goat Bistro, Seattle - 11/11/2009

Update: Stumbling Goat closed Aug 27, 2016

My K-Bar stop here was a very pleasant surprise. I expected the food to be good of course, but I also expected the bar to be an ancillary bore. However, at least since the new owners took over, this is a swell bar with some very nice cocktails. Included in this was the best gin and tonic I can ever remember having (with home-made tonic). So even if you're not looking for dinner, this is a very nice little stop.

6722 Greenwood Ave N., Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 784-3535
Est. 2000 - Closed Aug 27, 2016 - Building constructed 1927 (to be demolished) - - seattletimes - yelp - thestranger

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#940 - Prost!, Seattle (West Seattle) - 11/9/2009

This is the fourth in Chris Navarra's locations bringing the German tavern to Seattle (he also owns Feierbend, Die Beir Stube, and the Prost! in Greenwood). These are all fine places if you love German beers, and while they are not my favorites, this location is my favorite of the four. I like the intimate size, the photos, and the crowd here.

3407 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - seattle weekly - urban spoon - yelp

#939 - The Bohemian, Seattle - 11/9/2009

Closed 2010

3405 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 938-2646 - yelp - seattlest

#938 - Feedback Lounge, Seattle - 11/8/2009

Update: The Feedback Lounge closed Aug 8, 2015

I know I'm going to like a place when I sit down to find a bottle of falernum in front of me. In chatting with Matt, the co-owner and concocter of fine cocktails, he mentioned that he wasn't sure that type of bar would be successful in West Seattle, or whether the reaction would be "What's that? Give me a jack and coke." He might just as well have asked if the sophisticated drinks would work with the old school rock theme of the place. But he seems pleased with the support so far and whatever the context, these are some drinks well worth seeking out.

The Feedback just took first place for "Best Cocktails" in King-5's Best of Western Washington, and while I do not consider that a particularly reliable guide, it is definitely a worthy contender. And Sundays are a fine day to go: "Each week co-owner Matt Johnson comes up with a drink whose recipe might go back 100 years — or just a month or two. Starting today, Matt will shop at the West Seattle Farmers Market each Sunday and uses those fresh ingredients in a drink that evening." (West Seattle Blog)

Try the: St. Basil (or the drink of the week if it's Sunday)

6451 California Ave SW., Seattle, WA 98136 - (206) 453-3259
Est. April 25, 2009
Previous bars in this location:  New Deal Tavern, Digby's Tavern, Kilroy's Pub, Full Moon Saloon, Beveridge Place Pub - myspace - west seattle blog - yelp - the stranger

Sunday, November 08, 2009

#937 - The Shipwreck, Seattle (West Seattle) - 11/8/2009

Update: The Shipwreck closed Nov 18, 2012.

The Shipwreck is a nifty neighborhood tavern -- and a true tavern, not just because it is limited to beer and wine, but because it has that old, stolid, tavern feel. The curveball is an open upper level with a ping pong table curiously placed over the main bar, which makes the evening vaguely redolent of "Captain Kangaroo" with cascades of ping pong balls popping into your beer at any moment. Yet another pleasant addition to the California stretch of West Seattle.

Historical Notes:  The "Happy Hour Tavern" is listed at this location from 1948 into at   least 1970.  In 1980 it is "Ye Old Hour, " in 1985 "Luther's Pub," and in 1990 it is "TNT's Place."

4210 SW Admiral Way, Seattle, WA 98116
Est. Oct. 10, 2009 - Closed Nov 18, 2012 - Building constructed: 1926
Previous bars at this location: Happy Hour Tavern, Ye Old Hour, Luther's Pub, TNT's Place
west seattle herald - yelp

#936 - Chao Bistro, Seattle - 11/6/2009

Update: Chao Bistro closed in June 2012.

There's nothing particularly wrong with Chao Bistro, and in some neighborhoods, I'd probably seek it out (the owners are affiliate with soul-less Belltown venues Amber and Venom). But in a neighborhood with as many choices with personality as Capitol Hill, it's not clear to me why anyone would choose this place.

1200 Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122 - 206 324 1010
Est. Sep. 25, 2009 - Closed June 2012
Previous bars at this location: Pike's Bar and Grill,  1200 Bistro - facebook - yelp - the stranger - seattle weekly

#935 - Quinn's Gastropub, Seattle - 11/6/2009

Quinn's has excellent food (try the wild boar sloppy joes) and good cocktails (try the Missed Opportunity). It's right in the middle of the Capitol Hill nightlife activity, and I probably avoided it earlier only out of personal, sentimental reasons. The space is a little open and the crowd a bit boring, but from now on out, if I am on Capitol Hill and in the mood for some top rate drinks and/or food rather than decor and people, the choice will be Tavern Law or Quinn's.

1001 E Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 325-7711 = seattle times - seattle times 2 - yelp - sneaky sunday

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

#934 - Mr. Z's Lounge (Zaika), Shoreline - 11/2/2009

Zaikia closed (in 2011?)

Zaika site, via the Wayback Machine

14622 15th Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155 - (206) 306-0880             (defunct) - yelp - waybackmachine

Monday, November 02, 2009

#933 - North City Tavern, Shoreline, WA - 11/2/2009

The stretch of 15th Ave NE north of Northlake Mall has a pretty nice string of neighborhood bars, from Boud's Pinehurst to the Caroline to North City Tavern. North City Tavern/Lounge has been around since at least 1945. It occupies the oldest commercial property in the area (built in 1930 according to tax records, though I've seen 1927, 1928, and 1929 all cited by other sources) when it apparently started as a small store and gas station. Inside it has all the basics of a neighborhood dive -- woody interiors, yellowing old beer promotion lights, and yellowing old regular patrons.

17554 15th Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155 - (206) 362-1443
eater - ronaldblogseattle weekly - yelp

#932 - Shelter Lounge, Seattle (Ballard) - 10/29/2009

The old location of the Station Bistro has been re-made into a lovely, half-indoor/half-outdoor, mid-century modern lounge that brings to mind Portland's Doug Fir. (And like several Portland bars, they feature a nice, jalapeno-flavored margarita.) The decor is a swanky dark combination of rock, wood, and flame. The central bar serves both indoor and outdoor patrons, and on summer evenings when the garage doors are fully opened, this is sure to be packed. (Opened 10/23/09, owned by Kevin Carlson)

4910 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 829-8568
my ballard - yelp - girl in the city

#931 - Andaluca, Seattle (downtown) - 10/28/2009

Good wine, good food, upscale but comfortable.

407 Olive Way, Seattle, Washington 98101 - (206) 382-6999 - yelp - the stranger

Monday, October 26, 2009

#930 - Athenian Inn, Seattle - 10/26/2009

Although I've eaten there many times, I've never made it to the bar at the Athenian Inn, probably because it just recently extended its closing time from 6pm to 7:30pm. The restaurant has now been there literally a hundred years, and the bar since 1933. It has a surprisingly large beer selection for a place that seems to cater to blue collar regulars who prefer Miller or Bud Lite, and a nice happy hour menu (try the elk sliders).

Along with the pleasantly inebriated regulars (Hi, Frank), it has a nice cross-section of old and young, tourists and locals, and of course it has that view (best witnessed in the colder months, when the sun sets before closing time). It was pretty foolish of me to live in Seattle for a quarter of its century-old life and not stop in for a drink before now.

1517 Pike Place, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 624-7166 - seattle dining (history) - seattle weekly - the stranger - yelp

#929 - Ventana, Seattle (Belltown) - 10/23/2009

Update: Ventana closed 7/3/2011

Ventana, named for the large windows looking out on Elliot Bay ("ventana" is Spanish for window), is owned by the same folks who own Twist next door. It has quite good food, quite good cocktails, quite nice service, and quite nice ventanas.

Try the: Cucumber and jalapeno margarita

2323 1st Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 441-9478 - seattle pi - yelp

Monday, October 19, 2009

#928 - Pike Place Bar & Grill, Seattle - 10/19/2009

A place like this rises or falls as a bar with the characters it brings in, and on what appeared to be a typical weeknight this one had more than it's fair share of color. There were the old codgers describing how they explained to their doctors that they didn't *really* need to stop drinking, the full-on alcoholics all too eager to regale you with how they've screwed up their lives, the man in the cheap Sunday suit who looked like a televangelist intently reading a book in the corner, and a host of other regulars along with the inevitable tourists visiting Pike Place Market.

One of the codgers explained to me that his wife was again on her "apple diet," and observed that "all wives are crazy." "On the other hand," he noted, with a straight face that worked like a wink, "all husbands are the epitome of normalcy."

There was the drunk fellow trying to get the drunk woman to come home with him: "I have cable! Comcast! I got beer. I got chronic." The woman responded that seven men have tried to get her to go home with them tonight. "Well them six are shit outta luck, because I'm fucking classy!"

This was all before 7pm on a Monday, mind you.

I like this place. The employees there were all very nice, including Lee the bartender, who asked me if this was my first time there. "If this was my first time here," Lee pondered, "I don't know what I'd make of it."

90 Pike St Ste 22, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 624-1365
yelp - citysearch - the stranger

Saturday, October 17, 2009

#927 - Alki Tavern, Seattle - 10/26/2009

Update: The Alki Tavern closed after St. Patrick's Day, 2013

This is just about the perfect dive bar. Outside, ramshackle patio furniture, hand-painted stylized seagull sign, and the Pacific Ocean lapping up from around the Olympic peninsula across the street. Inside, a woody, flag-draped interior and any number of local characters. On this night the latter included the artist who was having a difficult day due to patrons passing gas in the Starbucks where she does her work, and the hyper-affected English gentlemen manners of a young fellow with a cane (asked by the bartender how his dog was: "Well," eyelids fluttering half closed, "He is well.") And of course the bikers.

An excellent dive to have so close to the middle of the city.

1321 Harbor Ave SW., Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 932-9970
Established 1976 - Closed March 18, 2013 - Building constructed: 1915
Previous bars in this location:  Unknown name owned by Thomas & Jensen in the 1930s - myspace - seattle weekly - yelp - - the stranger

Sunday, October 11, 2009

#925 - Mac's Smokehouse, Seattle - 10/10/2009

1760 1st Ave S., Seattle, WA 98134 - (206) 628-0880
yelp - urban spoon

#924 - Casuelita's, Seattle - 10/5/2009

Reviews on various sites have claimed that the quality varies widely here, but the night I went the food was all very good and the drinks fairly good too. I'll definitely be coming back.

81 Vine St., Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 770-0155
<seattle weekly - seattle pi - seattle times - yelp

Saturday, October 10, 2009

#923 - Kushibar, Seattle - 10/6/2009

Update: Kushibar closed in October 2017

2319 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98127 - (206) 448-2488
Est. 2008 - Closed Oct 2017 - Building constructed 1928
Previous bars in this location: None known - seattle dining - the stranger - seattle times - seattle pi

#922 - La Vita É Bella, Seattle - 10/6/2009

2411 2nd Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 441-5322
lavitaebella - yelp - zagat - bellinghameats - the stranger

#921 - 9 Million In Unmarked Bills, Seattle - 10/5/2009

The new place in the old Triangle location in Fremont has an inconsistently applied 30's gangster theme and a menu of interesting cocktails. The ones I tried didn't have quite the balance that Seattle's finest bartenders produce -- and I didn't try the John Dillinger (Bulliet Bourbon and a cigarette) -- but it's a step up, as is the very good food (I had the Caprese salad and the lamb sliders).

Historical notes:  This was the "Triangle Tavern by 1935 until 1986 (the listed address is slightly different in earlier years, but it is the same location).  It was the "Classic Tavern" in the latter 80s and 90s, and re-named the "Triangle Lounge" from 1998 through 2009.)  Building constructed in 1926.

3507 Fremont Place, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 632-0880
Est. 2009 - Building constructed: 1926 - Previously: Triangle Tavern, Classic Tavern, Triangle Lounge - seattle magazine - yelp - seattle times - the stranger

Thursday, October 08, 2009

#920 - Sinners & Saints, Seattle (Fremont) - 10/5/2009

Update:  Sinners and Saints was closed and reopened as Woodsky's in Jan. 2011

Not a whole lot of good drinking choices and even fewer food choices, but it's very nice to look at.

303 N. 36th Street, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 547-1141
seattle weekly - first call - yelp - the stranger

#919 - The Cuff, Seattle (Capitol Hill) - 10/4/2009

(Brian P. photo -- The resemblance may not seem so remarkable in this pic as it was taken before I took my shirt off.)

So I went to The Cuff and had a Top Shelf Electric Ice Tea and I still didn't contract gay, as far as I can tell. I'm beginning to think that it doesn't spread quite as easily as Rev. Pat Robertson has led me to believe.

Anyway, I had an entirely inaccurate impression of The Cuff: I was thinking it was a relatively small, leather bar, and of course it's a large, varied, multilevel place (I guess that's why they call it the "Cuff Complex"). And I have it on good authority that the next time I get a Top Shelf Electric Ice Tea it should be from the back patio.

1533 13th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122 - (206) 323-1525
Est. March 23, 1993 - seattle weekly - gay cities - the stranger

Monday, October 05, 2009

#918 - Pony, Seattle (Capitol Hill) - 10/4/2009

Pony is like a gay "Cha Cha" -- a bar designed from day one to be a dive (although one of our party repeatedly insisted it was not a dive but rather a "shanty"). As nouveau dives go, it's a fairly good one, with its odd angles giving it character and its ship-like patio giving it an odd sense of command of Capitol Hill.

1221 E Madison St., Seattle, WA 98122
the stranger - yelp - stranger pics (NSFW)

#917 - Hamburger Harry's, Seattle (Ballard) - 10/3/2009

Hamburger Harry's closed in late 2013

2409 NW Market St., Seattle, WA 98138 - (206) 297-8000
Est. 2008 - Closed Sep or Oct 2014 - Building constructed 1950
Previous bars in this location: Sea Breeze
yelp - myballard - the stranger

Sunday, October 04, 2009

#916 - Moshi Moshi Sushi, Seattle (Ballard) - 10/3/2009

If you assume the lounge was something of an afterthought for this sushi bar, you will be pleasantly surprised if not stunned at the deep and creative list of house cocktails created by Erik Carlson. On a tip from itinerant cocktail connoisseur Rocky, every drink that our party tried was tasty and artfully balanced.

The decor of Moshi does not have quite the dark warmth and feeling of age that I prefer in a great bar, but it certainly isn't boring -- the interior is dominated by a fairly spectacular LED Sakura tree. I think I'll have to check out the crowd on a few more nights to know if I'd move this from my recommended list to my highest recommendations. But if you want a choice of interesting and finely made cocktails this is as good a choice as you're going to find.

5324 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 971-7424 - seattle times - yelp - daily candy - the stranger

Thursday, October 01, 2009

#915 - Copper Cart Cafe, Seattle - 10/1/2009

Update:  The Copper Cart closed in 2012, briefly became the Empire Lounge, then the Ampersand, then a marijuana shop.

Why we need a bar that feels exactly like Spitfire three blocks from Spitfire is not abundantly clear to me. In fact, it's not clear to me why we need any warehouse sports bars blasting techno. But the happy hour appetizers were actually quite good, the drinks were serviceable, and the bartender (Zar?) was pretty cool. So if you're hungry, and you're wearing your untucked, striped dress shirt and your hair product, it's probably a pretty good place to go.

113 Bell St., Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 239-0830
Est. July 2009 - Closed 2012 - Building constructed 1930 - facebook - the stranger - yelp - seattle weekly

#914 - Little Red Bistro, Seattle - 9/30/2009

The Little Red Studio is a whole different conversation, but strictly as a wine bar the Little Red Bistro is charming and fine.

400 Dexter Ave N. (between Harrison & Republican), Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 328-4758 - facebook - yelp

#913 - Bathtub Gin & Co., Seattle - 9/30/2009

A cozy, little speakeasy hidden off a Belltown alley, Bathtub Gin & Co. has a limited but fine cocktail menu and various romantic nooks and crannies. This is probably the most pleasant bar in Belltown just to sit in, and with the fairly high quality drinks clinch the case. It's not easy to find though, and no doubt the neighbors on 2nd Avenue are amused by the confused looks of people trying to get into the locked door of the apartment building where it is housed.

2205 2nd Ave. (between Blanchard&nbsp& Bell) Seattle, WA 98121 - (206) 728-6069
yelp - the stranger - seattle magazine - seattle weekly