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Where to Drink Craft Cocktails in SEA Right Now

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To kick off Cocktail Week 2013, and to complement Eater's Heatmap on where to grab a bite right now, it's time to hone in on where the dedicated tipplers are currently killing their livers. Because, if you haven't noticed, Seattle has a little bit of a cocktail scene going on. Here, in no particular order, is a beacon of bars currently creating a stir.

See any vital omissions? Leave 'em in the comments.

And for a list of the 30 Hottest Cocktail Bars in America Right Now, Eater National's got you covered.


Wendy Miller is the founder of the Seattle LUPEC chapter and author of the Seattle Cocktail Culture app.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Witness

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410 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 329-0248
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First time bar owner Greg Holcomb isn’t new to the industry; past gigs include Sazerac and Knee High Stocking Co. In his recently opened Capitol Hill address you’ll find an interior that looks like a small Southern Baptist church, giving you reason to literally worship your cocktail. Well-thought-out cocktails, delicious southern food, and genuine hospitality are all on the menu. The namesake Witness Cocktail is not to be missed.
[Photo Credit]

2. Barnacle

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4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 706-3379
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If good things come in small packages, this place is the best. With only a dozen or so seats, the bar offers a creative menu of drinks, many using vermouth as a main ingredient. Complimentary Lay’s potato chips arrive with your order. Additional selections of superb snacks, like octopus terrine and rabbit pâté, go great with drinks.
[Photo Credit]

3. E. Smith Mercantile

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208 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 641-7250
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The tiny back bar (simply called the Back Bar at E. Smith Mercantile) is a favorite spot for those who know it exists. Open since September, the craft cocktails come courtesy of bar manager Craig Schoen and made by E. Smith purveyor Jessie Poole. Consider yourself lucky if you snag one of the 14 barstools.
[Photo Credit]

4. Radiator Whiskey

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94 Pike St, Ste 30
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 467-4268
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As the name suggests, whiskey is the focus of the first cocktail bar opened by the folks behind Matt’s in the Market (and just across the hall). Many of their cocktails use the hooch from local distiller 2bar Spirits, so you can support two local businesses from one barstool. While sipping on a well-crafted whiskey cocktail, nosh on their amazing Buffalo-style fried chicken livers.
[Photo Credit]

5. Bar Code

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1020 108th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 455-4273
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Cocktail enthusiasts on the Eastside just scored a new watering hole. Bar Code’s bar manager Evan Martin is a pro at developing delicious drinks using interesting seasonal ingredients and riffs on classic recipes. Get a Bar Code Tonic: carbonated cinchona bark & citrus infused gin.
[Photo Credit]

6. Stoneburner

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5214 Ballard Ave. NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 695-2051
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Erik Carlson of Bastille is now also in charge of the cocktail menu of this new, super-popular restaurant opened by the same team. Punches, barrel-aged cocktails and twists on classics are all on the menu. Order the Colonel Cooler, which uses an Italian amaro as one of its main ingredients.
[Photo Credit]

7. The Old Sage

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1410 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 557-7430
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The newest cocktail bar opened by McCracken & Tough (SPUR, Tavern Law, Coterie Room) is a cozy den dedicated to smoked food and smoked whisky (i.e: Scotch). Even if whiskey isn’t your thing, you’ll be happy you pulled up a bar stool here. But if it is, the Weekly Scotch Experience, with three pours, will introduce you to some fine specimens.
[Photo Credit]

8. Capitol Cider

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818 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 397-3564
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Cider is the next big thing and Capitol Cider is where you should be drinking it. They have the largest selection of cider on tap in the states right now. Craft cocktails, beer, wine, a room for games, another for more intimate parties, and a full menu of naturally gluten-free food makes this a perfect hang out.
[Photo Credit]

9. The Upstairs

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2209 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 441-4013
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True to its name, this little bar shares a floor with the residential apartments upstairs of Pintxo. Although it’s not new, it has gone through some changes, making it a real destination for craft cocktails now. The intimate setting is free of pretense and their “Whiskey Window” offers a fantastic selection of dark booze. Happy hour is a three-hour affair daily from 5-8pm.
[Photo Credit]

10. Percy's & Co.

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5233 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 420-3750
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The new juice bar-meets-apothecary-cocktail bar has been hoppin' since opening in the former Old Town Ale House space mid-August. The drink list (with tons of herbal infusions: basil-infused tequila, sage-infused bourbon, dill-infused vodka, etc.) pairs well with the small plates menu curated by chef Dave Lamping (formerly of Bastille and Smith). Percy's comes courtesy of the team behind Cha Cha Lounge, Seattle's Ace Hotel and Rudy's, so the space is a visual stunner.
[Photo Credit]

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1. Witness

410 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102
First time bar owner Greg Holcomb isn’t new to the industry; past gigs include Sazerac and Knee High Stocking Co. In his recently opened Capitol Hill address you’ll find an interior that looks like a small Southern Baptist church, giving you reason to literally worship your cocktail. Well-thought-out cocktails, delicious southern food, and genuine hospitality are all on the menu. The namesake Witness Cocktail is not to be missed.
[Photo Credit]
410 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102

2. Barnacle

4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
If good things come in small packages, this place is the best. With only a dozen or so seats, the bar offers a creative menu of drinks, many using vermouth as a main ingredient. Complimentary Lay’s potato chips arrive with your order. Additional selections of superb snacks, like octopus terrine and rabbit pâté, go great with drinks.
[Photo Credit]
4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

3. E. Smith Mercantile

208 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
The tiny back bar (simply called the Back Bar at E. Smith Mercantile) is a favorite spot for those who know it exists. Open since September, the craft cocktails come courtesy of bar manager Craig Schoen and made by E. Smith purveyor Jessie Poole. Consider yourself lucky if you snag one of the 14 barstools.
[Photo Credit]
208 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

4. Radiator Whiskey

94 Pike St, Ste 30, Seattle, WA 98101
As the name suggests, whiskey is the focus of the first cocktail bar opened by the folks behind Matt’s in the Market (and just across the hall). Many of their cocktails use the hooch from local distiller 2bar Spirits, so you can support two local businesses from one barstool. While sipping on a well-crafted whiskey cocktail, nosh on their amazing Buffalo-style fried chicken livers.
[Photo Credit]
94 Pike St, Ste 30
Seattle, WA 98101

5. Bar Code

1020 108th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Cocktail enthusiasts on the Eastside just scored a new watering hole. Bar Code’s bar manager Evan Martin is a pro at developing delicious drinks using interesting seasonal ingredients and riffs on classic recipes. Get a Bar Code Tonic: carbonated cinchona bark & citrus infused gin.
[Photo Credit]
1020 108th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

6. Stoneburner

5214 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Erik Carlson of Bastille is now also in charge of the cocktail menu of this new, super-popular restaurant opened by the same team. Punches, barrel-aged cocktails and twists on classics are all on the menu. Order the Colonel Cooler, which uses an Italian amaro as one of its main ingredients.
[Photo Credit]
5214 Ballard Ave. NW
Seattle, WA 98107

7. The Old Sage

1410 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
The newest cocktail bar opened by McCracken & Tough (SPUR, Tavern Law, Coterie Room) is a cozy den dedicated to smoked food and smoked whisky (i.e: Scotch). Even if whiskey isn’t your thing, you’ll be happy you pulled up a bar stool here. But if it is, the Weekly Scotch Experience, with three pours, will introduce you to some fine specimens.
[Photo Credit]
1410 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

8. Capitol Cider

818 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122
Cider is the next big thing and Capitol Cider is where you should be drinking it. They have the largest selection of cider on tap in the states right now. Craft cocktails, beer, wine, a room for games, another for more intimate parties, and a full menu of naturally gluten-free food makes this a perfect hang out.
[Photo Credit]
818 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122

9. The Upstairs

2209 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
True to its name, this little bar shares a floor with the residential apartments upstairs of Pintxo. Although it’s not new, it has gone through some changes, making it a real destination for craft cocktails now. The intimate setting is free of pretense and their “Whiskey Window” offers a fantastic selection of dark booze. Happy hour is a three-hour affair daily from 5-8pm.
[Photo Credit]
2209 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

10. Percy's & Co.

5233 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
The new juice bar-meets-apothecary-cocktail bar has been hoppin' since opening in the former Old Town Ale House space mid-August. The drink list (with tons of herbal infusions: basil-infused tequila, sage-infused bourbon, dill-infused vodka, etc.) pairs well with the small plates menu curated by chef Dave Lamping (formerly of Bastille and Smith). Percy's comes courtesy of the team behind Cha Cha Lounge, Seattle's Ace Hotel and Rudy's, so the space is a visual stunner.
[Photo Credit]
5233 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

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