Put down the rosé, grab a jacket and head to a cocktail lounge. Though these are most often technically associated with a hotel, airport or restaurant, they’re also just a place to cozy up and drink. Particularly in our beloved — yet rainy — city, there is something crave-worthy and seductive about a cocktail lounge this time of year. We’ve gathered some classics and newcomers for you to partake in. — Dakota Mackey
A place that is part live music venue, part sports bar and part restaurant with a seasonally rotating menu could be confused and unsatisfying. Done well, there is something for everyone, creating a go-to spot where people want to congregate for any occasion.
Bake’s Place is bursting with dimensions, including the largest patio in downtown Bellevue. While the kitchen puts out a seasonally rotating menu, the bar boasts 170 bourbons and whiskies.
Regardless of the occasion, Bake’s Place is elevating the typical bar scene and assembling people for lunch, happy hour, dinner and late-night drinks with entertainment.
The Olympia Provisions charcuterie board with local cured meats, baguette and accompaniments is ideal for a post-work meet-up, paired with a glass of wine from the well-curated wine program.
The small — and dare we say, moody — bar is tucked into 12th Avenue in Capitol Hill. Boasting the largest collection of spirits in the country, Canon has 4,000 labels and counting. The expansive menu has something for everyone, including spirit flights for those interested in exposure and dozens of cocktails both familiar and daring.
Always bustling, Canon’s esteemed bartenders pump out specialty cocktails with impossible ease. Seemingly fanciful, Canon executes a whimsical vision with precision and charm. The esteemed whiskey and bitters emporium has been recognized by 16 awards, including a semi-finalist nomination for Outstanding Bar Program four years in a row by the James Beard Foundation Awards.
Canon celebrates familiarity with a spin, like a sparkling Negroni — a carbonated combination of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. Or try one of their five (yes, five) variations on a Manhattan — Bib & Tucker bourbon, Amer Picon, maraschino, Benedictine, bitters.
If that weren’t convincing enough that Canon is a serious place, try the bar nuts: a sweet and salty pleasure of angostura, bourbon, cashews, pretzels and chocolate popcorn.
Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley
Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley has been a Seattle mainstay for more than three decades, serving as the West Coast’s premier jazz club. Stars rotate in and out weekly, mesmerizing the audience. With all seating within 50 feet of the stage, the venue is ideal for experiencing the talent of stars like Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Betty Carter, and Bill Evans, all the while sipping on a cocktail.
Since opening in 1979, Jazz Alley has moved locations without losing its following of jazz enthusiasts and bar-goers. The owners’ devotion to smooth entertainment preserves Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley timelessness.
The crew behind Stateside is known for more than just their fantastically crispy duck rolls. Having also opened Foreign National, the neighboring bar, the block has continued to buzz. Holding just 25 seats, the small but vibrant lounge is known for their exciting cocktails and Asian-inspired bar snacks.
Inspired by its ‘70s French wallpaper, Foreign National is adorned with a disco ball, shimmering in an otherwise dark atmosphere. So dark, in fact, that the staff aids guests with bronze flashlights.
The menu changes seasonally, but favorites like the Madame de Mûre can be enjoyed in perpetuity. The Foreign National team described this drink as, “rich, yet delicate, emphasizing the gentle roundness of Armagnac, the vegetal smoke of Mezcal, the bright tangy flavor of fresh blackberries, and just the smallest tingle of spice from the Togarashi chili.” You in?
Living up to its name, The Hideout is behind a relatively unmarked door on Boren Avenue. The deliciously bizarre space feels rebellious with its mixed wall-to-wall artwork, clever menu, and blacked out windows. The otherwise dark space is lit by a massive chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
The menu is broken into three groups of cocktails: “present loves,” “more present loves” and “past loves.” Included is the “Andy Warhol,” The Hideout’s take on a Cosmopolitan, which comes with a Polaroid picture of yourself.
Priding themselves on having been open every day since they first welcomed customers in 2002, Liberty is a Capitol Hill neighborhood favorite. The pocket-sized space on 15th Avenue is packed with frequenters and an impressive liquor collection, including 85 bourbons and ryes and more than 50 tequilas.
Liberty’s cocktails are from scratch — fresh squeezed juices are the standard. Somewhat random, but not unwelcome, the kitchen puts out a variety of sushi rolls starting daily at noon. $5 rolls and $1 off all cocktails, beer and wine make it one of the better happy hours in town.
The menu is sprawling, with multiple pages thematically dedicated to a specific liquor. If you aren’t sure, the knowledgeable staff will point you in the right direction.
Needle and Thread
Walk through Tavern Law and pick up the vintage phone perched in the back corner. After speaking with someone briefly, the safe-like door will unlock and you’ll be able to climb the stairs to Needle and Thread.
The Capitol Hill speakeasy’s mystique is only heightened by the menu (or lack thereof). Simply tell the expert bartenders your taste preferences, and they’ll whip something up based on your mood.
Though the drinks can be spendy, the experience is supremely curated to feel special and worth it. You may see the use of edible flowers, tinctures or herbs, and you’ll absolutely sip from ornate mix-matched glasses.
Whether it’s for a creative cocktail and nosh or sultry night cap, Needle and Thread won’t disappoint.
Nestled in the downtown Palladian Hotel, Pennyroyal emulates something of a European bar. A self-proclaimed “social salon,” the animated room is bustling, particularly during the post-work rush.
While you can find all the classics, like an effervescent French 75 or Manhattan with barrel aged whiskey, Pennyroyal simultaneously features more social offerings with an obsession for quality. Try the Dwayne Elizando Mountain-Dew Herbert Comacho, made with Copperworks small batch gin, Giffard Crème de Mûre, Campari, Cana’s Feast rose and hibiscus syrup and pineapple for 2-4 people.
For the ideal post-work snack, Pennyroyal has a bites menu with truffle parmesan fries and warm olives. Or heck, stay for dinner.
Just when you think sipping on a martini — featuring vodka and house- made lychee syrup — couldn’t get any better, you might look up to see an aerial dancer. That’s right — Bellevue’s esteemed cocktail bar, Suite, has aerial performances starting at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Offering up a contemporary fun atmosphere complete with chandeliers and big booths this local gem makes a perfect date night or night out with a group.
Their menu has twists on the classics, like a “Madagascar Manhattan” featuring Makers bourbon, Madagascar vanilla liqueur, sweet vermouth, bitters and brandy-soaked cherries or an “Acai Lemon Drop” with vodka, lemon, triple sec, acai berry liqueur a sugar rim.
The Triple Door
The Triple Door is a wacky place, one we can’t resist. Whether it’s for a burlesque variation of the Nutcracker, concert with dinner by Wild Ginger, or cocktail near the sprawling fish tank, this institution is beloved.
Owners Rick and Ann Yoder renovated the space in 2002 with the purpose of creating a, “comfortable space that would connect performers to their audience.” Though as many original touches as possible were preserved, the sound quality has been heightened for a truly euphoric entertainment experience.
The wine list is massive, and the cocktails are as playful as the space, giving way to an immersive experience that everyone in Seattle should check out.