Just how does the other half live?
September 23, 2010 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Where do people (in Seattle, specifically) who've cracked the seven-figure income bracket shop? Eat out? If my fairy godmother appeared today with her phat bankroll for a three-day makeover spree, where would she take me?

I tend not to tease myself with things I can't have, so I honestly don't know these things. Nordstrom's seems pretty swank to me, and I don't really reach higher for fine dining than Black Angus.

Let's leave aside the genuinely practical stuff. Obviously, I'd rather have my fairy godmother wipe out my credit card debts and pay my way through grad school or a second bachelor's. But where would we shop? Go out to eat?

Again, Seattle's the city I have in mind, but generalized answers would also help. Age bracket is 18 - 40. I'm interested in answers for both men and women -- honestly, I'm a guy, but women's interests would probably be even more helpful for my purposes.
posted by scaryblackdeath to Shopping (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Your fairy godmother would purchase a plane ticket to fly you out of SEATAC to either SF, LA, NYC, or foreign locales.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:04 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't know if this is the kind of answer you're looking for or not, but if I could afford it, I'd buy so, so many clothes from Blackbird.
posted by brozek at 10:04 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

They eat at places like the Herbfarm, Barking Frog, Purple, the Metropolitan Grill, the Dahlia Lounge, Tilth, Lola, Volterra, Lark, Monsoon, Ray's Boathouse, Wild Ginger, Pink Door ... lots and lots of choices. Seattle is pretty foodie.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:14 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

I know a few seven-figure Seattleites. The truth is terribly mundane. They get coffee at Starbucks, buy groceries at Trader Joe's or their neighborhood's Metropolitan Market, buy clothes at Nordstrom's, and eat at places like the Met or Dahlia Lounge when they feel like having a night out.

Which is to say, pretty much the same as everyone else in Seattle. It's a pretty egalitarian city; there aren't any secret high-roller clubs or exclusive restaurants like in Some Other Cities I Could Mention.

The big difference I notice is that my seven-figure friends own homes (either gigantic gorgeous homes in prestigious neighborhoods, or swank penthouse condos downtown and in Belltown). And take frequent vacations.
posted by ErikaB at 10:15 AM on September 23, 2010 [7 favorites]

(I should say, "pretty much the same as everyone else in Seattle who's making a lot more than I do." I didn't mean to make it sound like oh dahling one always buys one's socks at Nordstrom.

I only do those things when I'm in their company, and I usually pretend like I'm not feeling well so I'll just have a really cheap appetizer.)
posted by ErikaB at 10:17 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

What Cool Papa Bell said, plus: Seastar, Tosoni's, El Gaucho, Rover's. The Columbia Tower Club has a restaurant that BillG used to eat at fairly frequently.

Shop at Barney's of New York and Turgeon Raine. And I think a Nieman Marcus opened in Bellevue.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:18 AM on September 23, 2010

And yeah, it is pretty mundane. I once saw Bill and Melinda Gates eating at a Cucina Cucina. No security in sight, but it was probably there somewhere. Don't think that happens too often, but it happens.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2010

The Ruins is an interesting "secret" private dining club in lower Queen Anne. (It's not really secret, but the exterior looks like an unused warehouse building.) The Seattle Times did a brief story about it.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:37 AM on September 23, 2010

If you're looking for expensive and swanky restaurants, I would add Canlis, Mistral Kitchen and Crush to the list. Keep in mind that people who make a lot less than 7 figures can still afford to eat at those places.

The only sort of exclusive thing I can think of for wealthier foodies is that they can afford to eat at expensive restaurants more often and cultivate relationships with the chefs there. This can lead to things like having the chef make special dishes at your request, or design a tasting menu for you, or cater for your wedding.

Another thing I've noticed are some wealthy foodies seem to enjoy traveling a lot, eating wonderful food in SF, LA, Tokyo, Vancouver, NY, and Chicago, and complaining about how the food in Seattle doesn't measure up--can't get decent soup dumplings/NY style pizza/Italian food/sushi/whatever.
posted by creepygirl at 10:43 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: See, I've lived in Seattle myself for six years now. I do kind of get what folks are saying -- that it's a relatively egalitarian place, and I have myself had plenty of cause to mix with much higher-income types than I am myself. And as with what folks are saying, the ones I know aren't the type to spend tons of money for its own sake.

I just wondered if there were places to go that they knew of that I did not, since I've had no real reason to care.

The responses help. Thanks much.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:47 AM on September 23, 2010

Seattle has a very middle class tone, so there isn't some separate lifestyle for the rich people here. There are some departments in Nordstrom that are pricer, like the designer shops, and Ben Bridge is a cut above the rest of local jewelry stores, but there's no Rodeo Drive here. Bellevue Square and the new east side shopping mall are about as close as we get. Re food, you've got a pretty good list of the top rated places, most of which are affordable for regular folks on a splurge. Zagats is a good place to see that listing too -- just rank by food quality.
posted by bearwife at 10:51 AM on September 23, 2010

David Lawrence and Mario's offer designer clothing that gets pretty expensive. $260 dress shirts, $400 shoes, and I'm sure you could find really absurd examples if you were looking.

There's Barneys New York too. When I came back with a barely-used pair of jeans that were shredding, they told me that I had purchased fashion, not quality. I won't be going back until I can afford $200 disposable fashion.
posted by reeddavid at 11:21 AM on September 23, 2010

I hunt these things down for a living. Most of the better restaurants have been listed, and I would add John Howie in Bellevue. For clothing, wealthy men (Gates etc.) drop serious cash at Gian DeCaro. One of the best suits I've ever seen was from Luly Yang's men's department, which is based here. The Columbia Club, WAC, and Rainier Club all let you hobnob. Canlis, El Gaucho, Rover's, or the Herbfarm will all help you drop more than two grand on a bottle of wine if you'd like. Several hotels will gladly charge you a few thousand a night. Believe me, there are plenty of ways to go broke in Seattle.
posted by unique_id at 11:47 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding ErikaB. The ones I know shop at Land's End, Target, and Costco, as well as Trader Joe's. They like Szmania's and eat there often, as in once a week or so. They work out at the WAC, but don't really use it for wining and dining. They drive and drive and drive around downtown looking for a good parking bargain, while their very, very hungry out-of-town guest (guess who) thinks, "you're a fucking multimillionaire -- park the damned car, already!" When in D.C., they stay with family. While there, they favor the Tune Inn or the Hawk and Dove, but enjoy The Inn at Little Washington for special occasions. But it has to be very special to be that extravagant.

They are very, very low-key about their wealth. If you met them, you'd never guess. Some are almost embarrassed by it.
posted by jgirl at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2010

For dress-up, there's Luly Yang, Escada, and St. John shops. This is likely where the "ladies who lunch" shop for their better clothes.
Shoes at shops such as A Mano.
You'll also see this crowd at the Seattle Opera (Saturday nights - gold cast), SAM lectures/previews, and Seattle Symphony 'gala' events.
I only know 'cause I read about it the local business rag - and I used to work near said shops.
posted by dbmcd at 1:22 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

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