Bars where Pete has had a Drink (5,729 bars; 1,754 bars in Seattle) - Click titles below for Lists:

Bars where Pete has had a drink

Friday, July 23, 2010

#1185 #S723 - The Copper Gate, Seattle - 7/15/2010

Update: The Copper Gate is closing after June 30, 2013.

The Copper Gate dates back to 1946 and when it went under it was one of the last beer and wine only taverns in the city and one of the more intimidating dives.  It was picked up by the owners of Thaiku and La Carta de Oaxaca sometime shortly after 2000, and its bawdy theme not only preserved but accentuated (Seattle's only surviving "scandalnavian" lounge, they proudly proclaim).

The drinks are like none you'll find anywhere else in the city, centered around their home-made variations of aquavit.   The food is inspired by Scandinavian traditions, which naturally means that it ranges from tasty to disgusting.

But the best reason to go to the Copper Gate is the place itself.  The bar is a replica viking ship, with a sail formed of vintage porn images.  An original column with bas-relief naked woman has been nicely restored.  There are various mild porn dioramas, including a Barbie-orgy version in the women's room.

And then there is the Pussy Room. You enter the Pussy Room through an entry shaped like a vagina, pass a case large case of champagne, and turn into a shabby/swanky room with a stage, stripper pole, high-backed, red velvet seats and room for about two dozen people.

Ostensibly for the jazz band that plays there, and not simply the pun, there is an organ in the back of the Pussy Room.  But you do not simply enter it any time you feel the urge; currently the room is open to the public only from 8pm-10pm Tuesday nights.  At these times they host the impressive jazz drumming of Mike Peterson, a partner on keyboards whom I do not know, and often a guest artist to sit in for a few.

It is a living tribute to the unvarnished, old Ballard, and a must-visit for any lover of unique bars and cocktails.

Try the: Stor Agurk

6301 24th Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 706-3292
Est. 1946 - Closed July 1, 2013 - seattle times - the stranger - seattlest - seattle weekly - seattle weekly 2 - seattle weekly 3 - yelp

Thursday, July 22, 2010

#1184 #S722 - Red Lantern, Seattle - 7/15/2010

The food in this modern Northern-Chinese/Korean restaurant gets quite good reviews, but I wasn't eating this visit. It is much more elegant than the sign outside would lead you to believe.  The bar portion is pleasant, but unremarkable, and the bartender pours wine with a heavy hand.

520 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 682-7211 - the stranger - yelp

#1183 #S721 - Bush Garden, Seattle - 7/15/2010

As I've noted, I tend to classify the dive bar lounges attached to Chinese and Asian restaurants as either the "classic" kind or the "slapdash" kind.  This one is definitely in the classic school.  No quick trip to the 99 Cent store decor here -- the bar is happily dark and old school.  The drinks are the very basics, except for some Asian beer choices, and the (Japanese) food is mediocre.  But it's a nice, retro American-Japanese joint with bamboo, tatami rooms, sushi bar, and gin on tap. (And it's a shame my good camera was in the shop during this visit.)

Est 1953
614 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206) 682-6830 - yelp

#1182 - Joey, Bellevue, WA - 7/13/2010

Even the Lake Union Joey seems pretty Bellevue, so I didn't expect to like anything about the actual Bellevue version except ogling some of the women. But the night I went there, the bartenders and crowd were both actually pretty cool. I can't say its cocktails are particularly good -- although also not as bad as some places like this (e.g. the Bellevue Earls), and the food is pretty decent. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, and I certainly wouldn't trade the Lake Union view for the mall-ish Bellevue setting, but it's not altogether unpleasant either.

800 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004-4229 - (425) 637-1177 - facebook - yelp

#1181 - Earls, Bellevue, WA - 7/13/2010

I have zero interest in ever going to Earl's for a drink again.  If you like top 40 dance music blaring, lots of hair product, and cocktails designed for sorority girls on spring break, maybe you'll like it better.

700 Bellevue Way NE #130, Bellevue, WA 98004 - (425) 452-3275 - yelp

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#1180 - Naga Bar, Chantanee, Bellevue, WA - 7/13/2010

Very good cocktails, very good Thai food, and hand-carved baseballs of ice to dilute and cool at just the right rate.  Mike McSorley has replaced Andrew Bohrer behind the bar, and the Naga Lounge remains the home of the best cocktails on the East Side.  (Photo by Neil C.)

601 108th Avenue Northeast #100A, Bellevue, WA 98004 - (425) 455-3226 - facebook - bellevue reporter - seattlemet - seattle timesthe stranger - seattle mag - seattle weekly - yelp

Sunday, July 11, 2010

#1179 #S720 - Van's 105 Tavern, Seattle - 12/31/2009

Update:  Van's was sold and renamed "Tim's Tavern" in late 2011.

This is a pretty standard neighborhood dive bar.  The decor is the same old beer-company paraphernalia, but the bartender and some of the regulars give it a good dose of personality.

I'd missed getting this on my list earlier, but I've been there two or three times, the last time on New Year's Eve, 2009/2010.  Don't ask me why.

Historical Notes:  This bar was said to be established in 1937 as "Jack's Tavern."  The first listing I've found is for Mackey's Tavern in 1948.  By 1970 and into the 1980's it was simply the "105th Street Tavern," and by 1990 it was "Van's 105 Tavern."  In late 2011 new owner Tim Arnot renamed in "Tim's Tavern."

602 N 105th St, Seattle, WA 98133 - (206) 789-9005
yelp - seattle weekly - citysearch

Friday, July 09, 2010

#1178 #S719 - re:public, Seattle - 7/8/2010

What a welcome change after coming from Citrus.  The decor here is warm and interesting, the lighting excellent, the cocktails very good, and the staff friendly and competent.  The garage doors make it a great stop on a warm summer evening.  I wasn't eating on this stop, but I took a look at the menu and am eager to go back.

429 Westlake Ave, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 467-5300 - yelp

#1177 #S718 - Citrus, Seattle - 7/8/2010

Update: Citrus closed April 2013.

If your car is not a present from your dad, it's not likely you'll enjoy this place.

I read one review describing Citrus (in the old TGI Fridays space on Lake Union) as "ultra swanky," and the web site describes it as "a premium dining establishment."  It is really not quite either.

But it does have some nice bubbles, and there are lots of attractive women to look at- although your odds of finding an interesting conversation are about as likely as getting a good reading tip from Sarah Palin.  The bartender herself noted that their cocktail list is "all girly drinks."  But if you like popping your collar, hanging with groups of people who all dress alike, and drinking cocktails with enough sugar to hide any hint of the liquor, then it's highly recommended.

1001 Fairview Ave N, Ste 2000, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 402-6364
Est. 2010 - Closed 2013 - myspace - yelp

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

#1176 #S717 - Bricco Della Regina Anna, Seattle - 7/7/2010

Update:  Bricco closed Sep. 13, 2011

The emphasis is on the wine here, and in sharp contrast to their sister establishment Moshi Moshi, the cocktail menu is tiny.  It's still interesting though, and the bartender is willing to improvise off your wishes.

It also has a very nice happy hour menu, if a confusing list of happy hours (Mon-Thurs: 4:30-6:30pm, 10-11pm, Fri: 4:30pm-6:30pm, 11pm-1am, Sat: 4:30pm-6pm, 11pm-1am, Sun: 4:30-6pm), and a wide open feel on a sunny day.

1525 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 285-4900 - seattle weekly - the stranger - yelp

#1175 #S716 - How to Cook a Wolf, Seattle - 7/7/2010

I recently had the good fortune to stumble upon the particular combination of rarities in which A) it was a sunny, warm, Seattle afternoon; B) I was not working; and C) How To Cook A Wolf was not at all crowded.  They do not have a very interesting cocktail menu at HTCAW, but if you challenge the bartender, he will fix you something good, and if you are not fond of the hoity toity attitude, you can get a minimum of it by showing up shortly after they open.  The food, meanwhile, a selection of mostly Italian-inspired small plates, is very much worth it.  I had the heirloom tomato salad (very good) and the tuna bruschetta (excellent).

2208 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 838-8090 - facebook - seattle weekly - seattle pi - seattletimes - seattlemet - yelp

#1174 #S715 - Hudson Public House, Seattle - 7/5/2010

Update: Hudson Public House closed in May 2016.

The Hudson New American Public House is a nice neighborhood pub with a good beer selection and an interesting, fairly upscale menu, from the owner and the chef of Collins Pub in Pioneer Square.

8014 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115 - (206) 524-5070 - seattle times - yelp

Monday, July 05, 2010

#1173 #S714 - Highway 99 Blues Club, Seattle - 7/3/2010

Update: I went to many a show here since that original visit, but the club finally shut down on New Year's Eve, 2019.

Wow, this place has so much more character than I had envisioned.  It feels like suddenly you're in Texas.  Notwithstanding what must be the largest posts to obstruct a stage view in the city (well over 2 feet wide beams), it's a fun place to grab a drink and some grub and watch blues, or, as it was on this particular night, rockabilly.

1414 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101 - (206) 382-2171              
Est. 2004 - Closed Dec 31, 2018 - Building constructed 1909
Previous bars at this location: Captain Cook's Pub - facebook - myspace - seattle weekly - yelp

#1172 #S713 - Bad Monkey Bistro, Seattle - 7/3/2010

I regard with suspicion anyone who does not love monkeys and monkey things. I'm also wary of sports bars, so who knew what awaited in the new Bad Monkey Bistro in South Lake Union?

The bar choices seemed pretty standard, and my Hendricks & tonic was fairly weak. But their menus have a number of unusually interesting snacks. E.g. their nachos are root chips w/condiments of kidney beans, guac, sour cream and slices of flank steak; and they have a "Seamonkey Burger" a seasoned mixture of rock lobster, shrimp, halibut and salmon formed into a patty, served with lettuce, red onions, tarter sauce and tomatoes on a Kaiser roll. Their brunch menu includes choices of omelette ingredients including lobster and crab; I went with an option with pesto mixed in the eggs and quite liked it.

The decor seems fairly spartan for a monkey theme -- perhaps I associate monkey's too much with jungles, but it would be nice to see them accrue a few more in theme decorative touches. As all right-thinking people know, you can't have too much monkey.

400 Boren Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109 - (206) 467-1111 - yelp

#1171 #S712 - El Norte, Seattle - 7/2/2010

Update: El Norte closed Dec 31, 2016.

I hadn't heard of the Rose Garden Tavern until the local papers started publishing stories about its imminent loss of its liquor license due to drugs and other problems.  Apparently it was the heart of a part of the Lake City neighborhood that locals and police knew as "Little Beruit."  Owned at the time by a retired drug-enforcement agent, in less than a year there were 10 assaults reported at the Garden, one stabbing of a bouncer, one patron returning to a fight with an axe, and undercover cops were apparently 5 for 5 in attempts to buy crack inside.

The stories warned of the license expiring by the end of the month so I hurriedly added it to my to-do list, but the Rose Garden actually closed just a week later, thus precluding my chances of ever getting it included in this project.

When I visited El Norte in the old Rose Garden space, there was nary a hint of its gangster past.  It's now a club that hosts soft jazz, of all things, with new ownership (of Mr. Villa) serving Latin small plates and drinks.  It later focused on goth/darkwave events. For a while the city fought the new owner's desire to insert another bar in the space, but the new venue has been praised by many of the neighbors for the vast improvements.  The only possible vestige I saw was a boarded window in the men's room, blocked by a 2x4 as if expecting an attack by injuns.  The decor, the bands, and the patrons are all seemed exceedingly genteel during the day.

Update: I'm not sure how or when this happened, but at some point not too long after it opened, El Norte became a hangout for the Seattle goth crowd.

Historical Notes:  The building currently holding El Norte was constructed in 1921 and the first bar I have found at this address in city guides is Rebel's Inn, owned by Fred Amos in 1936.  Since then names of bars in this location include Chuck's Tavern (1948), Margie's Tavern (1960), B&E Tavern (1970), Burd Dawg Tavern (1977), Chuck and Mary's Tavern (1980), Out-Zen Inn (1983), Dorsey's (1985) and by 1990 the Rose Garden.

13717 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98125 - (206) 954-1349
Est. May 5, 2010 - Closed Dec 31, 2016 - Building constructed 1921

#1170 #S711 - Industry Lounge, Seattle - 7/2/2010

Another very pleasant SoDo area dive bar.  The Industry Lounge, as the name implies, is a working man's bar, with a nice mix of African-American, Latino and white patrons, several wearing union logos and factory card keys.

Even the karaoke was fine for a few moments, with a stocky black guy belting out Mustang Sally and a middle-aged blonde woman doing a serviceable impersonation of Peggy Lee through Fever.  It was only when the DJ and a patron decided to do a duet of "Islands in the Stream" that I realized I really wouldn't be able to get nearly drunk enough for this bar unless I was going to be taking a cab home.

6601 E Marginal Way South, Seattle, WA 98108-3239 - (206) 762-3453
facebook - myspace - the stranger - yelp

#1169 #S710 - Bezt Lounge (Mr. D's Greek Restaurant), Seattle - 7/2/2010

Update: This location of Philoxenia / Mr. D's and the Bezt Lounge closed at sometime in 2016 or shortly thereafter.

Mr. D's Greek Restaurant and Lounge -- AKA "Philoxenia," AKA "Bezt Lounge," and not to be confused with Mr. D's Greek Delicacies now located in what was once the Montana Horse Meat Market -- is a first rate neighborhood dive.  I was exhorted to visit by my friend Frank, who had a fairly comic adventure ordering a Manhattan here.  Unfortunately Frank violated Pete's First Rule of Dive Bars, which is never order a drink that doesn't include all ingredients in the name.  Gin & Tonic, Jack & Coke, Bud Lite -- these are fairly safe bets.  Newfangled and obscure concoctions such as this "Manhattan" thingie -- not so much.  And don't even ask about the time my friend Ray aspired to order a White Russian at the Baranof.  (Okay, by that I really mean do ask, if you haven't already heard the story.)

The lounge at Mr. D's contains all the essential elements of a great dive.  The interior is decorated with a crazy hodgepodge of styles from various decades (check out the wood burning stove and standup piano in front of the brushed steel). 

The hand-done signs fall charmingly short of a recognizable stylistic goal.  It's dark and not too overly dominated by big beer corporation paraphenalia.  And most importantly of all, it has a set of earthy, chatty workers and regulars.  During my visit the elderly female bartender was arguing with the elderly female off-duty employee about the exact twist needed to coax one of the beer taps to work.  The conversation was convivial, but animated with many f-bombs and a few threats of imminent violence.

I like this place.

97 S Lander St, Seattle, WA 98134 - (206) 624-9851
seattle weeklyyelp

Sunday, July 04, 2010

#1168 #S709 - Denny's Lounge, Seattle (Northgate) - (OOO)

Okay, this was many years ago, but I didn't get it on the list yet and I clearly remember having a drink here just for the absurdity of it. There used to be a Denny's on Northgate Way (current "Saffron") and this Denny's had a lounge.

Just think of that for a bit. Who decides to have a nice night out, considers all the options for having a drink or two, and concludes that the optimal place to go this evening would be Denny's? (Yes, yes -- I did it a couple times. But there aren't that many people like me out there, are there?)

2132 N Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98133

#1167 #S708 - West Seattle Bowl Lounge, Seattle - 6/30/2010

It's a lounge in an old bowling alley.  I think any additional description would be superfluous.

4505 39th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 932-3731

#1166 #S707 - Christo's on Alki, Seattle - 6/30/2010

The bar here is tiny and utterly typical.  But it did have a full house (that would be about eight people) when I visited on this Wednesday night.

2508 Alki Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 - (206) 923-2200 - facebook - yelp

#1165 - Roanoke Inn, Mercer Island - 6/30/2010

What a swell place for the inhabitants of Mercer Island (those poor suffering bastards).  Originally built as a "chicken-dinner inn" in 1914 and named the "Grandfather Inn" by 1916, it has apparently served as a hotel, brothel, and speak-easy (with "illegal booze served in coffee mugs") in the interim before becoming a tavern sometime after prohibition.  Nowadays the food and liquor are pretty standard pub fare, but it's the setting that makes the Roanoke a fine place.  In contrast to the dreary, multi-use strip mall abodes of most other island businesses, the Roanoke has a cozy, almost lodge-like interior that makes it a fine place for wet weather, and an expansive set of outdoor patios for sunny days.  (And as if to emphasize the preppy surroundings, they'll loan you a croquet set in the Summer.)

1825 72nd Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 - (206) 232-0800
facebook - - - seattle weekly - yelp

#1164 #S706 - In the Red Wine Bar, Seattle - 6/29/2010

"In The Red" (get it?) was designed as a wine, light plate, and coffee shop with affordable prices to reflect the post-financial collapse times.  One happy side effect of this is that it avoids the formulaic decor of most wine bars -- the modernist furniture and hanging halogen lights are replaced by a hodgepodge of collected chandeliers, a bar designed like a skateboard halfpipe, bar chairs from the Hit It Here Cafe, and a wainscot made of doors.  These all give it a much more comfortable personality.  And while I didn't see any at the relatively late hour that I dropped in, right now the entire place, including the bar, is open to children as well, though they are likely to portion off the bar area when they eventually get liquor.

Neither the food nor the wine selections are particularly interesting -- it appears most of both come directly from Trader Joe's -- but that's not really the point of In The Red.  It's more like a slightly more modern version of good diner, providing decent wine and lattes at a decent price.  I had the cheese plate and the (tomato-based) bruschetta, along with a Sawbuck Malbec and then a Substance Syrah.  Again, none of these were particularly remarkable, but they were agreeable, as was the conversation with co-owners Chad and Brian, though they were slightly exhausted from the recent opening festivities and long days.

6510 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 420-8992 - queen anne news - seattlemet - thrillist - yelp

#1163 #S705 - Saffron Grill, Seattle - 6/27/2010

This seems like a nice Indian and Mediterranean restaurant, from the management of the well-regarded Cedars in the U District, and I do plan to come back for dinner.  As a bar it's quite mediocre.  They do have their own cocktail menu, though most the drinks tend to seem like what you'd find at a college bar, rather than balanced and finely crafted mixology we're getting all too used to these days.  If you're happy with beer and a bar setting without any particular character, it might do for you, as they apparently have 100 different imports available.

2132 N Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98133 - (206) 417-0707 - urbanspoon - the stranger - yelp

#1162 #S704 - Stanford's, Seattle - 6/27/2010

Stanford's is a fairly typical modern mall steakhouse sort of restaurant and lounge. The "work of art" cocktails are not in a league with this town's better practitioners, but I did quite enjoy the Huckleberry Raindrop (44 Degree North Mountain Huckleberry vodka, lemon sour, and rosemary infused simple syrup), and my belief that there is no bad cocktail with cucumber was ably supported by the Cucumber Mint Cooler (Beefeater, Stoli, cucumber, fresh lemon sour, and mint).

The dinner, too, was quite tasty -- I had the "Bronzed Cajun salmon" with a jalapeno-lime beurre blanc, and would recommend it. I'm not endeared to the chain feel of the place and I'm not going to be a regular, but if you wanted to go someplace that could satisfy some meat-and-potatoes company, you could do a lot worse than Stanford's.

401 Northeast Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98125-6036 - (206) 834-6277 - urbanspoonyelp

Saturday, July 03, 2010

#1161 #S703 - 2 Bit Saloon, Seattle - 6/26/2010

Update: The 2 Bit Saloon closed Sep 20, 2014.

There appears to have been a bar in this location since 1947, and named with some variation of "The Bit" since 1963. It is said to have originally been John's Offshore Tavern, although the listings I have found in the 1948 and 1960 city guides list it simply as John's Tavern.  For at least the last 15 years or so it has had a substantial music focus. It was a blues club under owner Drew Greer in the early to mid 2000s. By the time it came to my attention new ownership was playing a mixture of rockabilly and punk, but this version, owned by Ed Konek, closed down in Nov. 2009. It was acquired shortly thereafter by a woman who had been a bartender at the Funhouse, and resumed business as the "2 Bit Saloon" in May 2010, with a focus on hardcore and punk bands.

In addition to just being a fun place to go, it was nice to have this crammed little hardcore dive continuing to anchor near the south end of the rapidly gentrifying Ballard Avenue, but alas, it has now closed.

I confess to be confused about both the country tax records and my own notes about the age of the building, so I think for a history I shall simply go with this version, which the Gilman Park blog recovered from the web site for the previous Bit Tavern:

Bit Tavern token from
"Built in 1907, the 2 Bit Saloon building was originally a General Mercantile or store.  In 1947 it became a bar, called John’s Offshore Tavern.  The bar changed ownership and name in 1963, becoming The Bit Shagatha, which is apparently British slang for a whorehouse.  And news to me.  Bit shagatha?  Never heard of it.  And neither, apparently, has Google.  Perhaps it was a short-lived early 1960s thing or maybe the “two hippies” who renamed the bar were yanking somebody’s chain. 
Either way, apparently the liquor board “caught on” in 1966 and the owners were forced to change the name from The Bit Shagatha to The Bit Tavern.  In 1999, a new owner gained a full liquor license and changed the name to The Bit Saloon.  According to the Ballard News Tribune, the new owners changed the name to The 2 Bit Saloon when they reopened last year “to signify new ownership and because ‘2 Bit’ is a better known phrase.”  Sounds good to me and definitely better than Bit Shagatha."

4818 17th Avenue Northwest, Seattle, WA 98107 - 206-708-6917
Est. 2010 - Closed Sep 20, 2014 - Building constructed: 1907
Previous bars in this location: John's Tavern, The Bit Shagatha, The Bit Tavern
Web site: - facebook
Reviews: myballard - ballardnewstribune - gilmanpark - gilmanparkeater - link - link

#1160 #S702 - May, Seattle - 6/26/2010

Update: May Restaurant and Lounge closed in November 2019

The lounge part of May Thai restaurant is not some squeezed in afterthought, but takes up the full ground floor.  May has some of the better Thai food in the city and I think hands down the coolest decor to eat it in.  The bar area downstairs does not quite have the character of the upper floor, where one feels like interrupting some hidden retreat for Buddhist monks, but it's colorful and elaborate.  The bar features some of their own specialty cocktails which are not bad.

1612 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 675-0037 - seattle pi - seattle weekly - seattletimes - seattlemet - the stranger - yelp -

Friday, July 02, 2010

#1159 #S701 - Iron Bull, Seattle - 6/26/2010

Update: Iron Bull closed "for remodeling" in late 2016 and never reopened. It was replaced by the Octopus Bar, which relocated here from a just a few lots west.

Basically, the old Goldies with a few more TVs and some murals.  A neighborhood bar for watching sports and playing pool.

Historical Notes: This space has hosted a bar since at least 1935 (the building was constructed during prohibition in 1925). City guides list a bar owned by Chas. Wilson in '39, then the Checkerboard Tavern or just The Checkerboard from the 40s to the 60s, the Iron Bull by 1965, Goldies by the 90s until 2010, until the current owners, Gerald Simonsen and Bernie McGuire of the Rat and Raven, returned it to the Iron Bull later in 2010.

2121 45th N., Seattle, WA 98103
Est. 2010 - Building constructed 1925
Previous bars at this location: Checkboard Tavern, The Rat Hole Tavern, The Iron Bull, Goldies - facebook - seattle weekly - yelp - the stranger