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The retro signage outside Sloop Tavern, with a painting of a fisherman on the outside
The nautical Sloop Tavern has been a Ballard fixture for years.
Sloop Tavern/Instagram

Some of Seattle’s Best Dive Bars Are Still Hanging Around

These classic, low-lit watering holes remain open during the pandemic

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The nautical Sloop Tavern has been a Ballard fixture for years.
| Sloop Tavern/Instagram

Seattle is lucky enough to be chock full of neighborhood bars. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some all-time classics, such as the Tug Inn and College Inn Pub, have closed (although in the case of the U District’s College Inn Pub, there’s still hope for a revival, just as Jules Maes Saloon in Georgetown has come back). Others are doing their best to hang tough, whether it’s offering takeout service with to-go cocktails, hosting a fundraiser to stay open (in the case of music venue Tim’s Tavern), or reopening with limited services. Here’s a list of truly great remaining dives around the city.

Though the bars on this list offer takeout, a number of spots have resumed limited indoor and outdoor dine-in service as well. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as theres are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the King County’s COVID update page. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Caroline Tavern

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This Lake City dive bar has been serving up stiff drinks for more than 60 years, and some of the regulars have been there just as long. It’s the kind of place where it pays to visit frequently, but the staff is just as friendly to newcomers as life-long customers. It’s currently open for limited dine-in and takeout, with some standard pub fare on the menu, such as wings and chicken strips.

A carved wood sign outside Caroline Tavern in Lake City.
Caroline Tavern has been holding down the fort in Lake City for decades.
Caroline Tavern/Facebook

Waterwheel Lounge

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Founded in the '70s and proud of it, the Waterwheel has a groovy vibe and dim lighting. Though it’s usually known for karaoke, that has been nixed for now in favor of some other activities, such as socially distanced “drunk bingo” on the patio. There’s also takeout on a St. Louis-style smokehouse menu, which includes ribs and brisket burnt ends.

Leny's Place

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Tucked into Tangletown, this classic joint has always been a great spot to grab a cold beer and a burger. There is something delightfully midwestern about this place, from the name to the decor, that makes you want to come back time and time again. It has beer growlers, wine, and cocktails to go, as well as limited outdoor deck seating.

The outside of Leny’s Place, with the bar’s name out front and a brick exterior.
Leny’s Place is as no-frills as it gets.
Courtesy of Leny’s Place

Sloop Tavern

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Home to the “Slooper-size” — 33.8 ounces of cold, crisp, beer at a shockingly low price — the Sloop is a Ballard fixture beloved by newcomers and locals alike. A nautical theme and a surprisingly good veggie burger makes this feel like a particularly Seattle-inspired establishment. There’s to-go food, beer, and wine, as well as limited indoor and outdoor seating.

Blue Moon Tavern

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The 87-year-old U District bar and live music venue icon is still not fully open, but it has a walkup coffee window. Owner Emma Hellthaler — whose family has run the bar since the 80s — is pulling out all the stops to hold onto the business celebrated by writers, musicians, academics, and artists for decades. So far, the effort is happening one espresso at a time.

Pacific Inn Pub

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This unpretentious Fremont institution has surprisingly great pub fare, particularly the fish and chips. The late Anthony Bourdain was a fan, saying on one old episode of “Parts Unknown” that the place has “so far managed to resist the temptation to appease the invaders.” It’s open for takeout and limited dine-in service, including seating on an outdoor deck.

The exterior of Pacific Inn Pub, with the restaurant’s name and logo of a fish.
Pacific Inn Pub is known for its fish and chips.
Pacific Inn Pub/Facebook

Targy's Tavern

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This low-key Queen Anne dive is rumored to be one of the first bars that opened in Seattle after prohibition. Targy’s is a secret gem, tucked amongst apartment buildings and houses far away from the main drag of hot spots. It recently reopened for limited dine-in service, and has takeout (including bottled cocktails and Stoup beer).

Linda's Tavern

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This Capitol Hill dive bar with a heavy “Twin Peaks”-meets-country western-vibe has been a staple in the neighborhood for more than 25 years. It has some great burgers, breakfast scrambles, and some intense drinks, such as the Smokin’ Mary (a bloody mary with mezcal). Open for limited dine-in service (including a spacious patio) and takeout.

Comet Tavern

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This divey bar has been a Capitol Hill mainstay for decades. It currently has a wide selection of bar food for takeout, including beer battered cheese curds and breakfast sandwiches, as well as some potent cocktails to go. It also has limited dine-in service at the moment, plus delivery through Postmates and GrubHub.

Screwdriver Bar

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This Belltown basement dive that specialized in strong drinks and live rock shows emerged out from its subterranean dwelling, opening up a new outdoor space called The Casbah. It’s also slinging some icy cocktails and soft serve, which are available for takeout in addition to the patio seating (no indoor dining).

Twilight Exit

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This classic dive has long been a go-to for Central District residents (with a sibling, Twilight Rainier, in Hillman City). Open for takeout and delivery through GrubHub, the bar has a nice selection of beers on tap, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and even larger entrees, such as meatloaf and aged top sirloin. It also has an outdoor patio.

Billiard Hoang

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This South Seattle pool hall with a sports bar feel is usually a popular hangout, but is now mainly a takeout kitchen serving up bun (dry noodle bowls) and soups like bun bo hue. Its banh mi game remains strong, including a bevy of flavorful grilled meat accompanied by lightly fluffed scrambled eggs that keep their form after each bite. Billiards is out, but to-go bottled beer is in.

Star Brass Works Lounge

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One of the neighborhood’s most beloved dive bars (and sibling to the equally excellent 9lb Hammer down the block) continues to serve up solid hamburgers and stiff drinks to-go during the pandemic. It has also added more outdoor seating on a nifty new patio which has added some tent coverage, and it has limited indoor service, as well as takeout.

Jules Maes Saloon

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After closing in the summer of 2020, the Seattle bar icon recently made a triumphant return under new ownership. The menu’s pub fare now includes a tater tot poutine, flatbreads, fried chicken waffle sandwiches, and some breakfast item, along with cocktails and beer. Open for takeout preorders through Chownow and limited dine-in.

Beveridge Place Pub

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This West Seattle institution has a vibe that feels like one’s beer-loving buddy’s living room. It has a selection of growler fills and bottles to go, available for preorder at its online store, plus some seating on its outdoor garden that belies the more rustic, divey interior. There’s also a rotating food truck for takeout orders.

Caroline Tavern

A carved wood sign outside Caroline Tavern in Lake City.
Caroline Tavern has been holding down the fort in Lake City for decades.
Caroline Tavern/Facebook

This Lake City dive bar has been serving up stiff drinks for more than 60 years, and some of the regulars have been there just as long. It’s the kind of place where it pays to visit frequently, but the staff is just as friendly to newcomers as life-long customers. It’s currently open for limited dine-in and takeout, with some standard pub fare on the menu, such as wings and chicken strips.

A carved wood sign outside Caroline Tavern in Lake City.
Caroline Tavern has been holding down the fort in Lake City for decades.
Caroline Tavern/Facebook

Waterwheel Lounge

Founded in the '70s and proud of it, the Waterwheel has a groovy vibe and dim lighting. Though it’s usually known for karaoke, that has been nixed for now in favor of some other activities, such as socially distanced “drunk bingo” on the patio. There’s also takeout on a St. Louis-style smokehouse menu, which includes ribs and brisket burnt ends.

Leny's Place

The outside of Leny’s Place, with the bar’s name out front and a brick exterior.
Leny’s Place is as no-frills as it gets.
Courtesy of Leny’s Place

Tucked into Tangletown, this classic joint has always been a great spot to grab a cold beer and a burger. There is something delightfully midwestern about this place, from the name to the decor, that makes you want to come back time and time again. It has beer growlers, wine, and cocktails to go, as well as limited outdoor deck seating.

The outside of Leny’s Place, with the bar’s name out front and a brick exterior.
Leny’s Place is as no-frills as it gets.
Courtesy of Leny’s Place

Sloop Tavern

Home to the “Slooper-size” — 33.8 ounces of cold, crisp, beer at a shockingly low price — the Sloop is a Ballard fixture beloved by newcomers and locals alike. A nautical theme and a surprisingly good veggie burger makes this feel like a particularly Seattle-inspired establishment. There’s to-go food, beer, and wine, as well as limited indoor and outdoor seating.

Blue Moon Tavern

The 87-year-old U District bar and live music venue icon is still not fully open, but it has a walkup coffee window. Owner Emma Hellthaler — whose family has run the bar since the 80s — is pulling out all the stops to hold onto the business celebrated by writers, musicians, academics, and artists for decades. So far, the effort is happening one espresso at a time.

Pacific Inn Pub

The exterior of Pacific Inn Pub, with the restaurant’s name and logo of a fish.
Pacific Inn Pub is known for its fish and chips.
Pacific Inn Pub/Facebook

This unpretentious Fremont institution has surprisingly great pub fare, particularly the fish and chips. The late Anthony Bourdain was a fan, saying on one old episode of “Parts Unknown” that the place has “so far managed to resist the temptation to appease the invaders.” It’s open for takeout and limited dine-in service, including seating on an outdoor deck.

The exterior of Pacific Inn Pub, with the restaurant’s name and logo of a fish.
Pacific Inn Pub is known for its fish and chips.
Pacific Inn Pub/Facebook

Targy's Tavern

This low-key Queen Anne dive is rumored to be one of the first bars that opened in Seattle after prohibition. Targy’s is a secret gem, tucked amongst apartment buildings and houses far away from the main drag of hot spots. It recently reopened for limited dine-in service, and has takeout (including bottled cocktails and Stoup beer).

Linda's Tavern

This Capitol Hill dive bar with a heavy “Twin Peaks”-meets-country western-vibe has been a staple in the neighborhood for more than 25 years. It has some great burgers, breakfast scrambles, and some intense drinks, such as the Smokin’ Mary (a bloody mary with mezcal). Open for limited dine-in service (including a spacious patio) and takeout.

Comet Tavern

This divey bar has been a Capitol Hill mainstay for decades. It currently has a wide selection of bar food for takeout, including beer battered cheese curds and breakfast sandwiches, as well as some potent cocktails to go. It also has limited dine-in service at the moment, plus delivery through Postmates and GrubHub.

Screwdriver Bar

This Belltown basement dive that specialized in strong drinks and live rock shows emerged out from its subterranean dwelling, opening up a new outdoor space called The Casbah. It’s also slinging some icy cocktails and soft serve, which are available for takeout in addition to the patio seating (no indoor dining).

Twilight Exit

This classic dive has long been a go-to for Central District residents (with a sibling, Twilight Rainier, in Hillman City). Open for takeout and delivery through GrubHub, the bar has a nice selection of beers on tap, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and even larger entrees, such as meatloaf and aged top sirloin. It also has an outdoor patio.

Billiard Hoang

This South Seattle pool hall with a sports bar feel is usually a popular hangout, but is now mainly a takeout kitchen serving up bun (dry noodle bowls) and soups like bun bo hue. Its banh mi game remains strong, including a bevy of flavorful grilled meat accompanied by lightly fluffed scrambled eggs that keep their form after each bite. Billiards is out, but to-go bottled beer is in.

Star Brass Works Lounge

One of the neighborhood’s most beloved dive bars (and sibling to the equally excellent 9lb Hammer down the block) continues to serve up solid hamburgers and stiff drinks to-go during the pandemic. It has also added more outdoor seating on a nifty new patio which has added some tent coverage, and it has limited indoor service, as well as takeout.

Jules Maes Saloon

After closing in the summer of 2020, the Seattle bar icon recently made a triumphant return under new ownership. The menu’s pub fare now includes a tater tot poutine, flatbreads, fried chicken waffle sandwiches, and some breakfast item, along with cocktails and beer. Open for takeout preorders through Chownow and limited dine-in.

Beveridge Place Pub

This West Seattle institution has a vibe that feels like one’s beer-loving buddy’s living room. It has a selection of growler fills and bottles to go, available for preorder at its online store, plus some seating on its outdoor garden that belies the more rustic, divey interior. There’s also a rotating food truck for takeout orders.

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