send to printer

Washington Nightlife

Black Bottle
2600 First Avenue
Seattle , Washington
Tel: 206 441 1500

Belltown has become a bit of a dumping ground for trend bars, but Black Bottle, a latecomer to the worldwide "gastropub" obsession, is a welcome addition to the scene. "Gastrolounge" might be a better descriptor, as the focus here is on wine and specialty cocktails, and there's a rather limited beers-on-tap selection. The small-plates menu, which ranges from cumin pork tenderloin to octopus carpaccio, is hit-or-miss, but at $8 a pop, you can afford to experiment. Attractive without being showy, this small boxy space has wood floors, exposed brick walls, and a few simple wooden tables. It's packed and loud on weekends, but much more sophisticated and fashionable (and far less obnoxious) than most of the neighborhood's fratty bars.

928 12th Avenue
Seattle , Washington
Tel: 206 325 6947

Licorous is one of the best-looking bars in the city, with a playful geometric pattern on one wall, stools that resemble chess pawns, and a striking molded-tin ceiling. It takes its small-plates menu seriously, and snacks like foie gras bonbons with bittersweet chocolate from a local supplier stack up to cocktail concoctions like the Joyful Ginger (ginger-infused vodka, with limoncello, lemon juice, and a dash of ginger ale). The place is sophisticated yet unpretentious, and although there are plenty of Capitol Hill hipsters around, this is one bar where grown-ups of all ages will feel comfortable. Note that it's slightly off the beaten path, so plan to make a night of it here, perhaps by starting with dinner at Lark next door.

Closed Sundays.

Linda's Tavern
707 E. Pine Street
Seattle , Washington
Tel: 206 325 1220

A cowboy-themed tavern on the West Coast? At Linda's, the kitsch isn't as thick as you might think: The 1930s dude ranch memorabilia may be imported from Montana, but the jukebox plays its fair share of Johnny Cash. This mainstay in prime Capitol Hill territory draws a diverse crowd most nights—rocker types, college students, and neighborhood locals ordering cheap pitchers of Hamm's. The cushy leather booths fill up fast; the large back patio handles overflow during the summer months. A popular weekend brunch soaks up the past night's indiscretions with wrangler-worthy flapjacks and biscuits and gravy.—Aaron Barker

Live Music

Moe's was one of the iconic clubs of the grunge era; the original no longer stands, but Neumos has risen in its place with the best lineup of alternative acts in the city. At Nectar, in Fremont, local groups alternate with stars already on the rise. There's a different genre of music every night; you might catch anyone from indie jazz darling Ben Allison to alt-pop crooner Jens Lekman. Both Tula's Restaurant and Nightclub and Dimitriou's Jazz Alley have the city's small jazz scene cornered, but Egan's in Ballard has a more eclectic (and local) lineup. Also in Ballard, Tractor Tavern is known for its roots, blues, and country acts, though it gets its share of indie rock action, too. Benaroya Hall is the home of the renowned Seattle Symphony. Thanks to its state-of-the-art design, the main hall boasts clear and balanced acoustics from each of its 2,500 seats. Even if you're not attending the Seattle Opera or Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Kreielsheimer Promenade adjacent to McCaw Hall is among the most stunning architectural spaces in the city—particularly at night, when digital light shows dance across its metal scrims.—Updated by Aaron Barker

1416 E. Olive Way
Seattle , Washington
Tel: 206 323 9922

The Tiffany-blue-and-white facade of this cozy tequila bar brings a little bit of colonial Mexico to Capitol Hill. Don't expect sombreros or Day of the Dead skulls—the Saint forgoes all kitsch for class: clean, Scandinavian lines; a beautiful candlelit bar; framed black-and-white photos of matadors; and more than 80 top-quality tequilas from slammers to sippers (and even a few pricey reservas). Moneyed denizens of Capitol Hill are happy to drop $14 on delicious tequila-based cocktails like the angelflower (Patron Silver, mint, cucumber, and blue agave syrup, topped with an edible flower), though if you're looking for something more auténtico you'll find it in the small menu of traditional favorites like puerco pibil and posole—accompanied by a drink mixed into a Jarritos soda bottle.

Open Mondays through Fridays 5 pm to 2 am, Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 2:30 pm and 5 pm to 2 am.

5416 Sixth Avenue N.W.
Seattle , Washington
Tel: 206 781 4883

"Tucked away" doesn't even begin to describe Sambar. This teeny-tiny bar is attached to Le Gourmand, which is one of the city's most notable restaurants, in one of its least likely spots (the no-man's-land between Fremont and Ballard). Sambar has some of the best specialty cocktails in the city—the Madagascar (bourbon and vanilla bean syrup) is a must—and a good list of wines, dessert wines, port, and cognac. It also benefits hugely from the delicious small plates available from Le Gourmand's kitchen. The scene is lively and loud, and the only thing "French" about it is the occasional burst of bad techno music. The crowd skews a bit older than those at most of Ballard's bars (if the guy next to you is wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches, he's not being ironic), but as with most of the city's watering holes, the crowd is mixed and all are welcome.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.