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Here Are Jason Stratton's Favorite Seattle Cocktail Spots (Plus 1 Karaoke Bar)

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If there are two things Jason Stratton is partaking in these days it's opening his new restaurant, Aragona, and drinking cocktails. And karaoke. Make that three things.

In addition to his Spinasse sibling bar Artusi, Stratton loves the Seattle cocktail scene, calling it "unpretentious" and "pretty special."

Here, in alphabetical order, are his nine favorite spots to grab a drink around town. "I love different spaces for different reasons," says Stratton of his picks. "They are more or less of equal desirability depending on occasion or mood."

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bush Garden

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614 Maynard Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-6830
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"This is less of a cocktail place for me and more of a karaoke spot. I tend to be immediately handed an Asahi when I approach the bar by Miss Susie, one of my favorite bartenders in the city, but if you order a cocktail, it will be stiff and cheap. The scene is David Lynchian — you still sense the cigarette smoke hanging as a horizontal line across the mirror lined walls, along with the vinyl rolling chairs and a fainting couch in the men’s restroom. If you are lucky, and you almost certainly will be, you will have the opportunity to witness an epic song courtesy of one of the many regulars, be it Uncle Bob, Big Al, Bambi (ahem), or Miss Kiana. A total must if you haven’t been there. If you have, well, you already know."
[Photo Credit]

2. Canon

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928 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 552-9755
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"You know it already. These guys are awesome. Jamie [Boudreau] is a master at what he does and an excellent collector. Their spirits list is kind of mind boggling. There is a certain feeling initially of entering a chapel or library, which can be intimidating, but the bartenders are there for you, so listen and divulge. Tell them what your tastes are. You will find a cocktail that will be your new favorite drink."
[Photo Credit]

3. Liberty

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517 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 323-9898
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"They make mean drinks. They're doing cool and delicious things; [Co-owner] Andrew Friedman is uber supportive of the bartending community. What else could you want? I like how it's kind of tucked away, so every time you go there you feel like you're sort of safe and protected from the outside. The bar staff care so much about what they're doing and how to develop and acquire. Their bar list is something that is very unique for Seattle — a spot to be celebrated."
[Photo Credit]

4. Montana

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1506 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 422-4647
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"Montana rocks my world. It's like a dive bar only with elevated drinks and nice people. They’ll pour shots and beers without blinking. I like how it’s sort of a Cheers for the industry. You can’t go wrong with Kedai Makan next door; Kevin is dishing the goods for sure. Plus, Montana has a haunted photo booth."
[Photo Credit]

5. Oddfellows Cafe

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1525 10th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 325-0807
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"This is my end of shift, wanna read a book for an hour after work and sip on a cocktail place. I love what Linda [Derschang] has created with this space: an essential meet up spot for all of Capitol Hill, a second parlor. Don’t overlook their cocktail list. They have some real gems. I adore the focus on amari in their house drinks (similar to my own Artusi up the hill). Many drinks bring the bitter to the forefront to complement or contrast what you might be eating."
[Photo Credit]

6. Poppy

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622 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 324-1108
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"Jerry Traunfeld is a mentor to me. His bar at Poppy reflects a chef’s palate. He’s developed a very exciting cocktail menu to explore, featuring herbs from his garden out back, surprising flavor combinations, and a great bar menu to match. The naanwich on the late night menu is one of Seattle’s great unknown secrets, along with the batata wadas (potato fritters). I love the Papi Delicious (tequila, curacao, red bell pepper, jalapenos, lime, mint), a standard order since the doors opened, but the list is so carefully maintained. You really can’t go wrong."
[Photo Credit]

7. Rob Roy

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2332 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 956-8423
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"Anu [Apte] has created such the sweet spot with Rob Roy. I love coming here to sip on a Japanese scotch and feel like Bill Murray savoring my life over a carved ice sphere, sitting at the bar and soaking in the sexy 'dad’s den' decor. The cocktail list is big and inspiring. There are so many deliberate touches here to make you feel taken care of. The hospitality aspect of what Anu has built is what every good bar should aspire too. The best!"
[Photo Credit]

8. Sun Liquor

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607 Summit Ave E
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 860-1130
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"The original location is my favorite bar in Seattle (though I also love the distillery). It just feels good in there. You'll get the cocktail you want without people schooling you, which is my pet peeve. They give you what you want with a smile. I love a well made negroni and their negronis are perfect. [Bartender] Erik Chapman deserves some sort of medal for his role in the Seattle cocktail world."
[Photo Credit]

9. Vessel

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624 Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 623-3325
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"I like the idea that they have these resident bartenders. Every time I've been in, even if it's the same bartenders, the cocktail list is really interesting. It's fantastic that you have this curated little list that's an expression of that bartender is doing at the moment. What a gem. There's this concept of this sort of planned spontaneity that's really cool and actually works. A few weeks ago, Jim [Romdall] had a very refined version of a Grasshopper on the menu (!!!) and I cajoled my mom into ordering one. She adored it and I did too."
[Photo Credit]

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1. Bush Garden

614 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
"This is less of a cocktail place for me and more of a karaoke spot. I tend to be immediately handed an Asahi when I approach the bar by Miss Susie, one of my favorite bartenders in the city, but if you order a cocktail, it will be stiff and cheap. The scene is David Lynchian — you still sense the cigarette smoke hanging as a horizontal line across the mirror lined walls, along with the vinyl rolling chairs and a fainting couch in the men’s restroom. If you are lucky, and you almost certainly will be, you will have the opportunity to witness an epic song courtesy of one of the many regulars, be it Uncle Bob, Big Al, Bambi (ahem), or Miss Kiana. A total must if you haven’t been there. If you have, well, you already know."
[Photo Credit]
614 Maynard Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

2. Canon

928 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
"You know it already. These guys are awesome. Jamie [Boudreau] is a master at what he does and an excellent collector. Their spirits list is kind of mind boggling. There is a certain feeling initially of entering a chapel or library, which can be intimidating, but the bartenders are there for you, so listen and divulge. Tell them what your tastes are. You will find a cocktail that will be your new favorite drink."
[Photo Credit]
928 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

3. Liberty

517 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112
"They make mean drinks. They're doing cool and delicious things; [Co-owner] Andrew Friedman is uber supportive of the bartending community. What else could you want? I like how it's kind of tucked away, so every time you go there you feel like you're sort of safe and protected from the outside. The bar staff care so much about what they're doing and how to develop and acquire. Their bar list is something that is very unique for Seattle — a spot to be celebrated."
[Photo Credit]
517 15th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98112

4. Montana

1506 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122
"Montana rocks my world. It's like a dive bar only with elevated drinks and nice people. They’ll pour shots and beers without blinking. I like how it’s sort of a Cheers for the industry. You can’t go wrong with Kedai Makan next door; Kevin is dishing the goods for sure. Plus, Montana has a haunted photo booth."
[Photo Credit]
1506 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122

5. Oddfellows Cafe

1525 10th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122
"This is my end of shift, wanna read a book for an hour after work and sip on a cocktail place. I love what Linda [Derschang] has created with this space: an essential meet up spot for all of Capitol Hill, a second parlor. Don’t overlook their cocktail list. They have some real gems. I adore the focus on amari in their house drinks (similar to my own Artusi up the hill). Many drinks bring the bitter to the forefront to complement or contrast what you might be eating."
[Photo Credit]
1525 10th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122

6. Poppy

622 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102
"Jerry Traunfeld is a mentor to me. His bar at Poppy reflects a chef’s palate. He’s developed a very exciting cocktail menu to explore, featuring herbs from his garden out back, surprising flavor combinations, and a great bar menu to match. The naanwich on the late night menu is one of Seattle’s great unknown secrets, along with the batata wadas (potato fritters). I love the Papi Delicious (tequila, curacao, red bell pepper, jalapenos, lime, mint), a standard order since the doors opened, but the list is so carefully maintained. You really can’t go wrong."
[Photo Credit]
622 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102

7. Rob Roy

2332 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
"Anu [Apte] has created such the sweet spot with Rob Roy. I love coming here to sip on a Japanese scotch and feel like Bill Murray savoring my life over a carved ice sphere, sitting at the bar and soaking in the sexy 'dad’s den' decor. The cocktail list is big and inspiring. There are so many deliberate touches here to make you feel taken care of. The hospitality aspect of what Anu has built is what every good bar should aspire too. The best!"
[Photo Credit]
2332 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

8. Sun Liquor

607 Summit Ave E, Seattle, WA 98101
"The original location is my favorite bar in Seattle (though I also love the distillery). It just feels good in there. You'll get the cocktail you want without people schooling you, which is my pet peeve. They give you what you want with a smile. I love a well made negroni and their negronis are perfect. [Bartender] Erik Chapman deserves some sort of medal for his role in the Seattle cocktail world."
[Photo Credit]
607 Summit Ave E
Seattle, WA 98101

9. Vessel

624 Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98101
"I like the idea that they have these resident bartenders. Every time I've been in, even if it's the same bartenders, the cocktail list is really interesting. It's fantastic that you have this curated little list that's an expression of that bartender is doing at the moment. What a gem. There's this concept of this sort of planned spontaneity that's really cool and actually works. A few weeks ago, Jim [Romdall] had a very refined version of a Grasshopper on the menu (!!!) and I cajoled my mom into ordering one. She adored it and I did too."
[Photo Credit]
624 Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98101

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