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The 18 best bars in Seattle

Grab a local pint or an inventive cocktail at the best bars in Seattle

Written by
Olivia Hall
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Though Seattle is known for its rainy days, the city does buzz with culture and excitement (and it doesn’t rain all the time). There are so many things to do in Seattle, from amazing museums and verdant parks to top notch attractions, that you’ll want to unwind inside after a long day. While coffee shops may come to mind first, the best bars in Seattle are drinking spots worth checking out.

Seattle has all the characteristics of a Pacific Northwest city—the pioneer spirit, lumberjack influence, a big mountain (Rainier) towering overhead—and many of the best bars, especially classic dives where you go to relax and put a few back, reflect this culture. Other bars aim to serve excellent cocktails in classy environs. Plus, of course, there’s a lot of craft beer. Whatever kind of drinking you desire, Seattle has a bar for it.

Best bars in Seattle

Loretta's is the perfect toasty Pacific Northwest hideaway. The massive outdoor space is great during pleasant weather days and fans of Twin Peaks will adore the decor inside. The real gem, though, is not the booze (although the selection is impeccable) but the Tavern Burgers. Single or double patty burgers come wrapped in paper and, unbutton those pants, you’ll want to order a few.

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Percy’s and Co. is a go-to spot if you really take your cocktails seriously. This artisanal bar is flush with specialty drinks that delight your tastebuds and keep you guessing. The staff grows most of the herbs used in the cocktails on premises because, as the venue’s website claims, “it just tastes better when you grow it yourself.”

4. Hazlewood

If you’re looking for fancy cocktails in a casually cool environment, Hazlewood is for you. This neighborhood haunt is frequented by Ballard locals and visitors alike. With a small cozy outdoor area and a fantastic upstairs lounge, this place is the spot for anyone looking for a chill refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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The Cha Cha has been a staple in Seattle for a long time. Upstairs is an all-ages taco joint called Bimbo’s that serves simple burritos. Walk through the downstairs space and feel part of a 1950s deranged tiki bar. Along with an old-school photo booth, patrons delight in the vending machine that is stacked with ashtrays, condoms, T-shirts and all other sorts of eclectic, yet useful, products.

6. Speckled and Drake

A sports bar that doesn’t suck, Speckled and Drake is one of the best places to catch a game if you don’t feel like being mobbed by drunken bros. The bartenders are cool, most of the local football and basketball games are on display and the drinks are satisfying. What else could you wish for?

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If you're looking for some live music with your drinks, the nautical-themed Sunset Tavern is for you. You can catch a band or two most nights a week (check the calendar for info) with a very reasonable cover. Betty's Room, the front bar, is a convivial spot for a pre-show drink and home to the only photo booth in the Ballard neighborhood.

An old-school Capitol Hill haunt, Linda’s is a great spot to hang out and while away the hours. With wide booths, a giant outdoor patio and maybe one of the most perfect bar food menus, Linda’s is simply a whole lot of fun. Plus, movies are projected on a giant screen within the bar and the staff offers patrons free popcorn.

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Vinyl heads, unite! Revolver Bar is home to an extensive collection of records that are played on a continuous rotation. Locals and tourists are welcome to bring in their own albums to donate—so your next EP could become this Capitol Hill bar’s favorite new thing to spin. Make sure to grab a cup of the gumbo while here.

Bait Shop is a great place to go for good vibes, nice people and strong drinks. The signature Painkiller is a frozen slushie made of various juices and a generous amount of rum. Many of the drinks come with a tiny plastic animal or mermaid holding onto the rim of the cup. This way, you’ll never be drinking alone.

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If you like old-school gaming with your beers, head over to Add-a-Ball, one of the most impressive pinball bars in the city (believe it or not, there are a few). Through the unassuming entrance in a parking lot in the Fremont neighborhood, visitors will enter a maze-like bar filled with all sorts of pinball and video games.

Don’t drink before you go to the Unicorn Bar, it’s trippy enough in here. The circus-themed place is not really a local hangout but, if you’re in town, it is absolutely worth a visit—if you can handle it, that is. Everything is drenched in wild colors with an impressive collection of animal heads that watch your every move.

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Orient Express is a special kind of dive bar. The bar and restaurant are housed in a system of vintage train cars connected by a labyrinth of hallways. Some cars house dining rooms, others are bar areas and additional ones are karaoke rooms. As if that wasn’t enough, the space also offers a full Chinese food menu, so you can snack while you are singing your heart out.

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9lb hammer was one of the first spots to set up shop in the Georgetown neighborhood. This cavernous space is often guarded by a line of motorcycles, which gives the entire venue character, especially when paired with the shuffleboard table inside.

Don’t let the “cafe” in the name dissuade you: this is a dive bar. 5 Point Cafe is the ideal destination both after hours and throughout the day. In town on New Year’s Eve? This is one of the best places to catch the Space Needle’s fireworks show—the bar is located right underneath.

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Nestled in the West Seattle neighborhood, The Nook is a great place to hang out in if you don’t really want to leave the house but you have to. Come inside and revel in the tufted, homey furniture and get cozy with a tasty cocktail.

The Pine Box is a macabre spot housed in what was once a mortuary and we absolutely adore it. The large space is ideal for big groups who love craft beers (the selection is truly impressive), and the menu of traditional bar foods will keep the party going.

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