Words by: Simon Difford
Blame it on the rain. Seattle's famously wet weather leads its citizens to seek solace in energizing coffee, invigorating rock music, and in small close-to-home bars that function as community living rooms. Most of the more notable cocktail bars can be found clustered in a few neighbourhoods though.
This long sloping hill has several micro-neighbourhoods populated by a wide mix of blue collar, student, and young and old professionals. The diversity of its inhabitants is reflected in its bars.
Canon Bar 5/5 (cocktail bar)
928 12th Avenue (b/t E Spring & E Marion Sts)
Rumba Rhum & Food 5/5 (restaurant & cocktail bar) 1112 Pike Street (btwn Minor & Boren Sts)
Knee High Stocking Company 4.5/5 (speakeasy) 1356 East Olive Way (btwn Bellevue & Melrose)
Tavern Law 4.5/5 (cocktail bar)
1406 12th Avenue (Trace Lofts building corner of 12th & Madison)
Sun Liquor Distillery 4.5/5 (distillery & cocktail bar) 514 E Pike Street (btwn Summit & Belmont Aves)
Artusi Modern Aperitivo Bar 4/5 (restaurant bar) 1535 14th Avenue (btwn E Pine & E Pike Sts)
Barrio Mexican Kitchen & Bar 3.5/5 1420 12th Avenue Seattle (btwn E Union and E Pike Sts)
Liberty 4/5 (coffee/sushi/cocktail bar) 517 15th Avenue East (btwn E Respublican and E Mercer Sts)
The Tin Table Bar 4/5 (neighbourhood bar)
915 East Pine Street, (btwn Broadway & 10th Ave East)
Sun Liquor Lounge (cocktail bar) 607 Summit Avenue East (btwn Mercer & Roy Sts)
Momiji Sushi (restaurant bar)
1522 12th Avenue (btwn E Pine & E Pike Sts)
The Ballard neighbourhood, which is a good distance (but an easy bus/cab ride) from either Capitol Hill or Downtown, includes both quirky local's bars and a strip of upscale and designer bars and restaurants.
The following Ballard bars are listed in bar tour order and as they are all in shouting distance of each another you'll easily be able to stroll between them all in one evening's tour.
Macleod's 3/5 5200 Ballard Avenue NW (corner 20th Ave NW)
Stoneburner 5/5 (restaurant bar)
5214 Ballard Avenue NW (just south of Vernon Place)
Percy's & Co. 4/5 (gastro bar) 5233 Ballard Avenue NW (Corner Vernon Place)
Back Room at Bastille Cafe & Bar 5/5 5307 Ballard Avenue NW (btwn Vernon Place & N 22nd Ave)
The Sexton 4/5 5327 Ballard Avenue NW (btwn Vernon Pl & N 22nd Ave)
Hazlewood 3.5/5 (tiny cocktail bar)
2311 NW Market Street (btwn N 24th & N Ballard Aves)
Ocho tapas bar 4/5 2325 NW Market Street (corner Shilshole Ave NW)
Downtown runs into Belltown, both accommodating a mix of city workers, tourists, and weekend warriors. It's also where you'll find the larger hotel chains and the conference centre, so if visiting the city you may well find yourself located in this part of town.
Bathtub Gin & Co. Bar 5/5 2205 2nd Avenue Seattle, (alley btwn 1st & 2nd, 50ft north Blanchard St.)
Zig Zag Café 5/5 (restaurant & cocktail bar)
1501 Western Avenue #202 (near Pike Place Mk on Pike St Hill Climb)
Il Bistro Bar & Restaurant 3.5/5 (restaurant & bar) 93 Pike Street (by Pike Street Market)
Rob Roy Bar 4.5/5 (cocktail bar) 2332 2nd Avenue (near Battery St)
Black Bottle (gastro pub) 2600 1st Avenue (btwn Cedar & Vine Sts)