The throngs of tourists at Pike Place Market are thinning out. Cruise ships along Elliot Bay are taking the season’s last jaunts to Alaska. With the summer winding down, prime vacation time is wrapping up in Seattle. While we’ll miss the endless days of summer, there is something to cheer about: Seattlites get our hotel bars back.
Hotel bars offer instant wanderlust gratification. A “sip-cation” offers an in-town escape without splurging on a room. Plus, when the numbers of out-of-towners dwindle, there’s less jostling for your bartender’s attention. With a duet of bar remodels and a new boutique hotel, here is a trifecta of Seattle spots for tippling.
A recent remodel has given the Sorrento Hotel a much-needed makeover. In the lobby bar, the Fireside Room, gone is the old and out-dated; in is a design-driven mix of midcentury modern meets Euro social club. The unique, octagonal room has retained its rich, mahogany walls—think library not rec room—that, along with the glow of a fireplace, create a cozy space. Along one of the walls, a new bar offers bespoke cocktails; try the trés Washington Cloud Chaser: Reposado tequila, cold pressed apple juice, and jalapeno. An assortment of shareable bites—buttermilk squid, deviled eggs, and smoked, brisket sliders- are served in style on tiered plates. These elegant towers are also featured at Afternoon Tea, a lovely British tradition of scones, dainty nibbles, and, natch tea. More than a mere bar, the Fireside Room has been rebranded as a “culture hub”. Check the website’s calendar for lectures and live music--throwback crooners and jazz on the grand piano. On the first Wednesday of each month, Silent Reading Nights, an oh-so-Seattle shindig, starts at 6 p.m.
Happy Hour highlights: 4 to 6 p.m.; 10 to close. Special Happy Hour menu of $4 beer, $7 wine, $9 cocktails. Appetizers are $8/item or $20/3.
The Four Seasons Hotel finally has a bar fitting for its level of haute hospitality. In June, Ethan Stowell’s Goldfinch Tavern replaced Art Restaurant, transforming the tired space into clubby cool. Think midcentury masculine—dark wood tones, gray chairs, and glass pendants made by local Illuminata Studio. With the bar moved from the back wall to the center, the happening hub lures outsiders in. Sip on locally sourced libations, like Fremont Brewing’s Interurban IPA or an American Goldfinch, a Vesper-like cocktail with Citizen Gin and Capitol Vodka (both made in Seattle), Cocchi Americano, and chamomile liquor. Chef Joe Ritchie helms the kitchen of Stowell’s twelfth (!) restaurant. You can taste the love in his Pacific NW menu, which includes a stellar raw bar & crudo program, Wagyu steaks, blue cheese-dressed salads, and finger-lickin’ fried quail, a popular throwback from Stowell’s first restaurant, Union.
Happy hour highlights: a discounted $12 burger (usually $17), $7 fried oysters, and $8 cocktails. Daily 4 to 6 p.m.
A slew of hotel openings are on downtown’s horizon. One of the newest — the Kimpton Group’s Palladian Hotel — has been a welcome addition to the Emerald City since its March launch. The corner bar, Pennyroyal, reflects the boutique hotel’s vibe: English gent meets rock n’ roll. The location next to the Moore Theater makes it a perfect pre-concert pit-stop. Grab a window seat to watch Seattle stroll by or a stool at the expansive bar, whose back-lit bottles are an enticing, boozy backdrop. The menu, created by bar manager Chad Phillips, offers hand-crafted cocktails, old-school punches, and house-infused spirits, like the grapefruit-infused rye, which, along with chai tea syrup, ginger beer, and grapefruit, make up the Arrows to Action.
The small food menu is big on flavor; snack on mini cod sandwiches, duck pancetta, and fried chickpeas. If you’re hankering for a full-blown meal, the adjacent restaurant, Shaker + Spear, showcases Seattle’s oceanic offerings.
Happy Hour highlights: $5 wine or daily punch and $7 cocktails. Monday through Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m. The last Sunday of each month hosts Tango & Tiki, featuring Tiki tipples and dancing.