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Bathtub Gin and Co.
Bathtub Gin and Co.
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

17 Essential Seattle Bars

A cross-section of must-visit watering holes

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Bathtub Gin and Co.
| Matthew Lombardi for Eater

With the abundance and variety of bars in Seattle, there's no excuse ever to go thirsty here — but when trying to share the greatest spots with friends and visitors, where should locals even begin narrowing down the contenders?

Belltown, Ballard Ave, and the Pike-Pine corridor of Capitol Hill are certainly amusement parks for boozehounds — on 2nd Avenue in Belltown, for example, it's easy to drink from Guadalajara to Coney Island to the South Pacific without crossing the street.

This guide includes some excellent options in those areas, and also highlights diverse standouts elsewhere in the city, with an emphasis on well-established, homegrown institutions. Whether you're on the hunt for beautiful beers, wonderful wines, killer cocktails, live music, classic dives, or even a weirdly woodsy atmosphere, here are 17 of Seattle's must-visit bars.

Note: Map points are listed in geographically and no ranking is implied. Seattle has so many great bars — which ones do you consider essential? Show them some love in the comments, send us an email, or start a forum thread in their honor.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Beveridge Place Pub

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6413 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98136
(206) 932-9906
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Beer lovers and dog lovers gravitate to this pooch-friendly pub with 32 taps and a never-ending rotation of primarily regional beers. For aficionados, Beveridge is Seattle’s premiere beer bar, but the casual atmosphere is equally welcoming to less discriminating drinkers who want to catch a Sounders game or shoot pool.

2. Bottlehouse

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1416 34th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 708-7164
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Wine bars have struggled to get a foothold in Seattle, but Bottlehouse, tucked away in Madrona, is a notable exception. It’s a casual, homey setting for exploring wines from Washington and all over the globe.

3. Canon

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928 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
The alpha dog of Seattle craft cocktail bars earns its lofty reputation with a long menu of inventive, delicious drinks you won’t find anywhere else in the city, or possibly the world.
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

4. Linda's Tavern

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707 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 325-1220
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It’s not seedy enough to qualify as a full-fledged dive, but there’s something admirably durable and dive-like about Linda’s. It’s the wise, seen-it-all matron of Capitol Hill bars, decked out in country-western attire.

5. Bathtub Gin & Co.

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2205 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 728-6069
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Belltown’s spin on a speakeasy is a secret within a secret. It’s a “hidden” bar on an alley between 1st and 2nd Ave, but once you get past the novelty of the location, the real discovery is the fantastic list of skillfully executed cocktails.
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

6. Liberty

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517 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 323-9898
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A soothing blond-wood interior, squeezed-to-order mixers, and friendly, fastidious bartenders combine to give Liberty its unique aura: It’s a cocktail lounge with the wholesome vibe of a juice bar.
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

7. Mecca Cafe

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526 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 285-9728
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Seattle’s selection of dive bars may be thinning, but some impressive old stalwarts soldier on. The Mecca is a prime example. It manages to be charming without losing its edge, and the narrow barroom creates the forced intimacy that you’re looking for (whether you realize it or not) in a dive.

8. George & Dragon Pub

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206 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 545-6864
Visit Website
This Fremont institution does a remarkable job of simulating a no-nonsense, working-class English pub, anchored by a sturdy mahogany bar with a dozen or so beers on tap. For soccer-loving lads and lasses, this is Seattle’s best sports bar.
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

9. College Inn Pub

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4006 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 634-2307
Visit Website
The U District’s most venerable drinking institution is a basement warren of pool tables, dartboards, and snug booths — a classic setting for grad students and other deep thinkers to contemplate the meaning of life over a pint or two.
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

10. Russell's

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4111 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 547-1653
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Russell’s is a rare phenomenon: a thoroughly modern neighborhood joint. On most nights you’ll find Joe, the owner, behind the comfortably stylish bar, mixing classic cocktails and pouring a small but choice selection of beer and wine on tap. On the food menu, the pies, handmade by Joe’s significant other, add a dose of Southern charm.

11. Tractor Tavern

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5213 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 789-3599
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Along increasingly hip and commercial Ballard Avenue, this live music venue represents the best of the good old days. Listen to country, folk, rock, and blues performers while knocking back PBRs served without a hint of irony.

12. Chuck's Hop Shop

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656 NW 85th St
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 297-6212
Visit Website
At first glance Chuck’s (which also has a Central District location) looks a little like an overgrown convenience store, but explore the coolers and you’ll find hundreds of beers from around the world, and at the counter there are more than 30 choices on tap. You can fill a growler to go, but to get the full experience join the neighborhood regulars sipping beer from mason jars on the patio.
Matthew Lombardi for Eater

13. The Cozy Nut Tavern

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123 N 85th St
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 784-2240
Visit Website
There are places where you can tell someone has seized on a concept and become passionate — really, really passionate — about it. Welcome to Greenwood’s Cozy Nut Tavern. Through an inconspicuous storefront you enter into a woodsy, vaguely Hobbity world full of reclaimed timber and taxidermied forest creatures. It's a friendly, charmingly surreal setting in which to find good craft cocktails and a nice variety of beers on tap.

14. Polar Bar

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700 3rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 340-0340
Visit Website
The Polar Bar at the Arctic Club Hotel does a bang-up job recreating the atmosphere of a posh, early-20th-century gentlemen's club, with dark paneling, overstuffed chairs, a pool table, and a fireplace. The only thing not keeping with the period is the creative cocktail list. Scott and Zelda wouldn't mind.

15. Unicorn

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1118 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 325-6492
Visit Website
You're in your 20s and you want to spend a night drinking cocktails, eating corn dogs, and showing off your tattoos. For this sizable Seattle demographic, Capitol Hill's Unicorn is heaven. It has over-the-top carnival decor, food that's way better than it has to be, and pinball and live music downstairs.

16. Shanty Tavern

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9002 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 526-9854
Visit Website
It's a pleasing contradiction that one of Seattle's most exclusive bars is also one of its least pretentious. The Shanty Tavern in Lake City is a honky-tonk throwback, open only on Friday nights, when it features live music, usually with a country twang. Affable owner John Spaccarotelli has been behind the bar for half a century.

17. Bar Ferdinand

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1424 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 693-2434
Visit Website
No other wine bar pulls off casual sophistication quite like Bar Ferdinand. Set away from the street in the middle of Chop House Row, it’s an oasis from the Capitol Hill nightlife scene. Twenty wines from small producers the world over are available by the glass, and a typically creative Matt Dillon menu results in food that’s a cut above.
upper bar ferdinand by matt lombardi Matthew Lombardi for Eater

1. Beveridge Place Pub

6413 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136
Beer lovers and dog lovers gravitate to this pooch-friendly pub with 32 taps and a never-ending rotation of primarily regional beers. For aficionados, Beveridge is Seattle’s premiere beer bar, but the casual atmosphere is equally welcoming to less discriminating drinkers who want to catch a Sounders game or shoot pool.
6413 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98136

2. Bottlehouse

1416 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Wine bars have struggled to get a foothold in Seattle, but Bottlehouse, tucked away in Madrona, is a notable exception. It’s a casual, homey setting for exploring wines from Washington and all over the globe.
1416 34th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

3. Canon

928 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Matthew Lombardi for Eater
The alpha dog of Seattle craft cocktail bars earns its lofty reputation with a long menu of inventive, delicious drinks you won’t find anywhere else in the city, or possibly the world.
928 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

4. Linda's Tavern

707 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122
It’s not seedy enough to qualify as a full-fledged dive, but there’s something admirably durable and dive-like about Linda’s. It’s the wise, seen-it-all matron of Capitol Hill bars, decked out in country-western attire.
707 E Pine St
Seattle, WA 98122

5. Bathtub Gin & Co.

2205 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
Matthew Lombardi for Eater
Belltown’s spin on a speakeasy is a secret within a secret. It’s a “hidden” bar on an alley between 1st and 2nd Ave, but once you get past the novelty of the location, the real discovery is the fantastic list of skillfully executed cocktails.
2205 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

6. Liberty

517 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112
Matthew Lombardi for Eater
A soothing blond-wood interior, squeezed-to-order mixers, and friendly, fastidious bartenders combine to give Liberty its unique aura: It’s a cocktail lounge with the wholesome vibe of a juice bar.
517 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112

7. Mecca Cafe

526 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Seattle’s selection of dive bars may be thinning, but some impressive old stalwarts soldier on. The Mecca is a prime example. It manages to be charming without losing its edge, and the narrow barroom creates the forced intimacy that you’re looking for (whether you realize it or not) in a dive.
526 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

8. George & Dragon Pub

206 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Matthew Lombardi for Eater
This Fremont institution does a remarkable job of simulating a no-nonsense, working-class English pub, anchored by a sturdy mahogany bar with a dozen or so beers on tap. For soccer-loving lads and lasses, this is Seattle’s best sports bar.
206 N 36th St
Seattle, WA 98103

9. College Inn Pub

4006 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Matthew Lombardi for Eater
The U District’s most venerable drinking institution is a basement warren of pool tables, dartboards, and snug booths — a classic setting for grad students and other deep thinkers to contemplate the meaning of life over a pint or two.
4006 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

10. Russell's

4111 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103
Russell’s is a rare phenomenon: a thoroughly modern neighborhood joint. On most nights you’ll find Joe, the owner, behind the comfortably stylish bar, mixing classic cocktails and pouring a small but choice selection of beer and wine on tap. On the food menu, the pies, handmade by Joe’s significant other, add a dose of Southern charm.
4111 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103

11. Tractor Tavern

5213 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Along increasingly hip and commercial Ballard Avenue, this live music venue represents the best of the good old days. Listen to country, folk, rock, and blues performers while knocking back PBRs served without a hint of irony.
5213 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

12. Chuck's Hop Shop

656 NW 85th St, Seattle, WA 98117
Matthew Lombardi for Eater
At first glance Chuck’s (which also has a Central District location) looks a little like an overgrown convenience store, but explore the coolers and you’ll find hundreds of beers from around the world, and at the counter there are more than 30 choices on tap. You can fill a growler to go, but to get the full experience join the neighborhood regulars sipping beer from mason jars on the patio.
656 NW 85th St
Seattle, WA 98117

13. The Cozy Nut Tavern

123 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103
There are places where you can tell someone has seized on a concept and become passionate — really, really passionate — about it. Welcome to Greenwood’s Cozy Nut Tavern. Through an inconspicuous storefront you enter into a woodsy, vaguely Hobbity world full of reclaimed timber and taxidermied forest creatures. It's a friendly, charmingly surreal setting in which to find good craft cocktails and a nice variety of beers on tap.
123 N 85th St
Seattle, WA 98103

14. Polar Bar

700 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
The Polar Bar at the Arctic Club Hotel does a bang-up job recreating the atmosphere of a posh, early-20th-century gentlemen's club, with dark paneling, overstuffed chairs, a pool table, and a fireplace. The only thing not keeping with the period is the creative cocktail list. Scott and Zelda wouldn't mind.
700 3rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98104

15. Unicorn

1118 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122
You're in your 20s and you want to spend a night drinking cocktails, eating corn dogs, and showing off your tattoos. For this sizable Seattle demographic, Capitol Hill's Unicorn is heaven. It has over-the-top carnival decor, food that's way better than it has to be, and pinball and live music downstairs.
1118 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122

Related Maps

16. Shanty Tavern

9002 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
It's a pleasing contradiction that one of Seattle's most exclusive bars is also one of its least pretentious. The Shanty Tavern in Lake City is a honky-tonk throwback, open only on Friday nights, when it features live music, usually with a country twang. Affable owner John Spaccarotelli has been behind the bar for half a century.
9002 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115

17. Bar Ferdinand

1424 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
upper bar ferdinand by matt lombardi Matthew Lombardi for Eater
No other wine bar pulls off casual sophistication quite like Bar Ferdinand. Set away from the street in the middle of Chop House Row, it’s an oasis from the Capitol Hill nightlife scene. Twenty wines from small producers the world over are available by the glass, and a typically creative Matt Dillon menu results in food that’s a cut above.
1424 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Related Maps