Bar Crawl: Downtown Seattle

A boozehound's tour of the Seattle bar scene

Welcome to Seattle, where weird is never hard to find. Here, people seem to be proportionately fun to how bad the weather is, and the bars are always good for a party. To find out the best stretch in the Emerald City, simply keep reading and watch your night get crazy faster than that guy on a unicycle that just passed by.

 

For an Excuse to Bust Out Your Best Leather Jacket

Where: The Funhouse, 206 5th Avenue North (206) 374-8400

This bar across the street from the Space Needle (yeah, it’s nice, but you’re here to drink!) is heralded as Seattle’s premier punk rock bar, but has something for everyone, including pinball, a basketball court in the back, and daily rotating drink specials to get you in that head-banging mood.

 

For Watching Tourists and Drunks get Cheated

Where: The 5 Point Café, 415 Cedar St (206) 448-9993

The 5 Point Café is the proud epitome of “dive bar.” From the buzzing neon sign in the window that reads “We Cheat Tourists-N-Drunks Since 1929” to their slogan of “Alcoholics Serving Alcoholics,” this dive bar shows others how its done with its duct-taped furniture, periscope view of the Space Needle from the men’s room, and an all-day breakfast menu to help absorb the long beer list (featuring 40s of Olde English).

 

For, Well, Sake, Of Course

Where: Umi Sake House, 2230 1st Avenue (206) 374-8717

This upscale sake dispensary located in downtown Seattle is a must-visit for any sake lover, and really, who doesn’t love sake? With a long sake list and creative cocktails like the Lychee Lemonade and the classic Saketini, this roomy izakaya is just begging to be part of your party’s bar crawl. And if you get a little too far gone on tiny cups of sake, they also serve sushi to help you get ready for the next round.

 

For Listening to the Next Nirvana

Where: The Crocodile, 2200 2nd Avenue (206) 441-4618

Make sure to stop by this Washington classic venue to take in a show and enjoy the back bar. The Alligator’s stage has been home to just about every music powerhouse to come out of the Northwest, including Nirvana and Pearl Jam. So stop by, take advantage of their local brews, and settle in while Seattle shows off just what it can do.

For Classy Cocktails and Stiff Martinis

Where: Oliver's Lounge, 405 Olive Way (206) 623-8700

A martini bar if there ever was one, this classy bar located at the Mayflower Park Hotel brings a vintage Frank-Sinatra-esque vibe to the Northwest and allows for fantastic people-watching while you enjoy a classic beverage or two. Or eight. Hey, if Mad Men can do it, right

 

For Pizza, Beer, and Something Called "The Gum Wall"

Where: Alibi Room, 85 Pike St #410 (206) 623-3180

Located across the street from the infamous Gum Wall in Pike Place Market, this bar hits all the high notes required of a good bar: good food, a comprehensive list of microbrews, and strong, quality drinks served in a friendly atmosphere. Pull up a chair get a pizza to help with all the beers, and make some new friends.

 

For Murray Stenson, America’s Best Bartender

Where: Zig Zag Café,1501 Western Avenue #202 (206) 625-1146

This well-hidden bar nestled deep in Seattle (it’s not a speakeasy per se, just really hard to get to) is worth the effort to find it, if only for the bartender alone. Loved by cocktail critics nationwide, Murray Stenson is credited with bringing around the Northwest craft cocktail movement with creations like the Drink With No Name, the Don’t Give Up the Ship, and the daunting Satan’s Soulpunch.

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