Zig Zag Cafe

Words by Simon Difford on 28-Mar-2014

Address: 1501 Western Avenue #202, (near Pike Place Market on the Pike Street Hill Climb), Seattle, WA, 98101, United States
Tel: +1 (206) 625-1146
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily 5pm-2am (happy hour Mon-Fri 5pm-7pm)
Door: Go early
Style: Cocktail bar
Recommended for: Cocktails
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Established: 2001
Owned by: Kacy Fitch and Ben Dougherty


Zig Zag has for years been Seattle's most famous cocktail bar, partly helped by frequent recommendations by Robert 'Drink Boy' Hess. Zig Zag has won Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards for Best Classic Cocktail List and also American Bartender of the Year for Murray Stenson (now retired). Other bars in the city such as Canon now deservedly take much of the limelight but Zig Zag remains a must visit, renowned bar.

Given the above you might expect a deluxe hotel bar with white-jacketed bartenders and silver service but as the name suggests, Zig Zag is a laid-back café bar with inexpensive drinks attracting a diverse crowd of all ages.

Go early to snag a seat at the crescent-shaped bar where one bartender delivers what feels like one-to-one service while his colleague works the dispense bar behind the column, quickly satisfying the thirsts of those seated at the tables around the tile-floored and cinderblock-walled room. Arrive late and risk standing around one of the high leaners by the door.

The cocktails are boozy with fortified wines, bitters more prevalent than citrus. The food is as good as the cocktails and we recommend the sautéed calamari or sangrita prawns as starters and the alligator gumbo main.