Barless in Seattle or Wanted: Beer + Talking
August 7, 2007 6:11 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I just moved to Seattle and are looking for new bars and hangout spots. This might be a long shot, but can anyone suggest places that are like The Garage or Rojo in Birmingham, AL or Cafe Coco in Nashville, TN?

For those not aquainted with either city, we're looking for places where we can grab a nice beer (weird european or otherwise obscure beers a plus) or coffee or something in a cozy sort of atmosphere. Ya know, the sort of place where you can curl up with a good book and enjoy the warm glow of dim lighting or sit back and eavesdrop on interesting conversations going on elsewhere. We're both what I guess falls into the general 20 something indie art kid stereotype (me: artist/musician her: theatre). HELP!
posted by silverspeak to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Take walks around Belltown and Fremont. Tons of places meet that description. You'll actually have trouble avoiding them.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:20 PM on August 7, 2007

Welcome to Seattle! What neighbourhood are you in? That'll help narrow the scope of suggestions.

For a good variety of Euro beers, try Stumbling Monk, Feierabend, or Brouwer's. Seattle has a good number of local breweries (Pyramid, Red Hook, etc), but the only one that comes to mind with potential as a cozy hangout kinda spot is the Elysian on Capitol Hill.
posted by kanuck at 6:28 PM on August 7, 2007

Capitol Hill has several bars, and downtown is packed with bars, especially Belltown. I lived in Crown Hill, up a bit from Capitol Hill, and my regular haunt on 15th was The Canterbury.

But yes, it would help if we knew which area of Seattle you live in--there are lots of neighborhoods.
posted by zardoz at 6:38 PM on August 7, 2007

When I lived in Queen Anne, I used to like McMenamin's on Roy Street during the day for what you're talking about. Dinner time, not so much.

Do check out the Mecca Cafe on Queen Anne by Seattle Center. Funky bar, awesome no-bs diner with great food. Bonus: it's where lots of the theater people from the Opera, Ballet and Seattle Rep hang out on their breaks.
posted by ctmf at 6:57 PM on August 7, 2007

Sounds like you're looking for a something like a cafe, a place that encourages lingering, which also serves beer and alcohol? I'd agree with McMenamin's, but would probably choose McMenamin's Six Arms on Capitol Hill over Queen Anne for slumming it with a book.

I think the place you're looking for is Chez Gaudy on Capitol Hill. Funky, artsy and dim *almost* but not quite to the point of being divey.

B and O Espresso also fits the bill nicely, they serve booze.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:04 PM on August 7, 2007

I haven't lived in Seattle since '99-00, but I remember the Cha-Cha Room being kinda cool. Red lighting, weird people, places to sit in the back and get into strange discussions (after all, it's Seattle, everyone's got a political platform they love to talk about)

I might be way off-base, and/or it may have turned into something really lame, but I dug that place when I was there.
posted by revmitcz at 9:00 PM on August 7, 2007

The Cha Cha is still around, but has moved several blocks, to a less claustrophobic space. People either love or hate that place, but you can count me among it's fans.

Also in that area, try Linda's for the large (usually busy) patio and the brunch.

I totally second the Stumbling Monk. It's cozy and off the beaten path. I've had a great time every time I've gone.

Redwood is in the same vein as Linda's, faux-rustic not-quite-divey, and they have free peanuts.

Sun Liquors is a little Polynesian themed bar with a great rum selection and excellent mojitos, on Summit at Republican (I think).

There are so many places to try you can make every weekend an adventure. Just stay away from the Satellite Lounge. It's the only place I've been that can fuck up a whiskey sour.
posted by cathodeheart at 9:23 PM on August 7, 2007

A neighborhood to restrict our answers to would be useful. There are a ton of places of this general sort in Seattle, although places that encourage indefinite lingering are more likely to be coffeehouses than beerhouses. Also, where do you like to be on the clean versus interesting spectrum?

Trying to think of places not already mentioned: the Third Place bookstore bar in Ravenna; possibly Pies and Pints a bit west of there; possibly any of the student pubs along University Way (the College Inn Pub? It's been years).

Alternately, do this: go to Pine & Melrose (on the side of Capitol Hill). Walk uphill on Pine until you reach 12th. Turn left and go along 12th until you reach Mercer. Turn left and walk down the hill until you reach Broadway. Turn left and walk down Broadway until you reach Pine again; go another block farther and go down the hill to your right on Pike, paralleling your first course. Keep going downhill until you hit Pike Place Market. Turn right and walk along either 1st or 2nd through Belltown. When you reach Denny, 1st will make a jog and head up Queen Anne Hill. Circle around a bit near 1st and Mercer.

That'll be a long walk, you may want to do it over a couple of days, but it'll take you past many, if not most, of the places mentioned so far, and it'll take you through some neighborhoods likely to have other similar places. There are other neighborhoods of interest but they're not contiguous with these.

Also: 570 bars, wayback archive of Obsessive Seattle happy hour guide.
posted by hattifattener at 9:28 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wow! Thanks for all the great responses.

Neighborhoods: I'm working downtown on 1st Ave so we're looking at capitol hill (preferably somewhere close to the 15th avenue strip) or lower queen anne. Last night we drove through capitol hill at night and walked around a bit (even got to stop by for a neighborhood block party).

clean to interesting scale: (clean=1 interesting=10)

I'd say for me: 7-8
g/f: 4-7 dependin on mood

also: we're looking for places to meet people as well since we just moved so any places that foster that sort of thing are welcome. :)
posted by silverspeak at 12:03 PM on August 8, 2007

I'm a frequenter of Bleu Bistro on Broadway, the predecessor of Chez Gaudy; doesn't really have the selection of beer you might be looking for (Stumbling Monk would be your choice there, I think the Cafe Metropolitain has a decent selection as well), but it can be quite comfortable in an "old shoe" kind of way, and interesting, and Thursday nights especially turn into a bit of a fun night (I'd like to think I have something to do with that). If you hang at the bar, it's a communal atmosphere, or you can go to one of their "caves", which are tables sequestered off with curtains, which can be great for eavesdropping or privacy. Downsides are it's kind of grimy, and if you're looking to crash for a while you'll probably be encouraged to cash out if you're not ordering much (in fact, on busier nights you almost need a reservation).
posted by hincandenza at 5:14 PM on August 8, 2007

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