5 Places You’ll Want to Drink in Seattle Right Now

This Pacific Northwest city is killing it when it comes to cocktails, wine, and beer. Here's a round up of the best places to drink in Seattle right now.

Despite being an East Coast transplant who lives and breathes New York City, I still find myself missing the West Coast at the most unexpected times. Sometimes, it’s those San Diego beach photos I see on Instagram during an especially vicious blizzard. Other times, it’s the thought of open spaces and towering California redwoods when I look up at silver Manhattan skyscrapers. But lately, I’ve been missing another West Coast city: Seattle.

Seattle has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It may have had something to do with watching that particular Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movie as a teen (I used to daydream about spending Valentine’s Day dining at the Space Needle). Or maybe it was because my sister-in-law, Rachel, had lived there for years, and her verdant, tranquil photos of the Pacific Northwest were giving me a major case of FOMO.

But whatever the reason, I finally made it over to the Emerald City back in September 2016. What I found was not only those amazing open spaces, but a bar scene that’s a cut above elsewhere.

Here’s a round up of my favorite places to drink in Seattle right now.

1. Pike Brewing Co.

1415 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA
Website
Open daily, 11:00 AM to midnight

Tasting flight at Pike Pub and Brewery

Tasting flight at Pike Pub and Brewery

Almost immediately after dropping my bags off at my Airbnb (which was amazing, by the way), my growling stomach led me outside and smack dab into this spot in Pike Place Market. Pike Brewing, which opened in 1989, was already on my to-do list from a historical standpoint, as co-founder Charles Finkel is pretty legendary in the American beer scene.

I arrived during “hoppy hour,” which runs Monday to Friday from 4-6 PM, so I ordered the Southern grilled rockfish tacos for $7 (normally $16). When in the Pacific Northwest, order seafood, am I right?

But we’re not really here to talk about the food, now, are we? Let’s get to the beer.

Oooh, lookie at what's on tap!

Oooh, lookie at what’s on tap!

Despite being a huge IPA fan, I couldn’t decide on what to order, so I wound up choosing a tasting flight instead. I find flights to be a great way to sample a little bit of everything that’s going on at a particular place, and this flight was no exception.

Of the six beers I tried, I liked the Pike IPA (surprise!) and the Pike Pale Ale the best. The Pike Kilt Lifter, which was brewed with a small amount of peated Scotch whiskey malt, also had some interesting flavors that I hadn’t seen much of before.

Perhaps the best part of my experience at Pike Brewing was sitting at the counter with like-minded beer aficionados. Everyone present was friendly, talkative, and passionate about which Pike beers they loved (go Pike IPA!), which made for a great time for all.

2. Canon

928 12th Ave, Seattle, WA
Website
Open daily from 5:00 PM to 2:00 AM

Canon's Bright Idea cocktail

Canon’s Bright Idea cocktail

Canon is a serious holy grail for cocktail connoisseurs, and it definitely didn’t disappoint when Marissa from Postcards to Seattle and I met up there for drinks in September.

I was absolutely blown away by the presentation and care that staff took to create each and every cocktail. The last time I’d seen something of this caliber was about two years ago, when Mr. Five O’Clock and I visited The Aviary in Chicago. Both cocktail bars held my rapt attention from the moment I walked in to the moment I walked out.

They really know how to mix drinks at Canon.

They really know how to mix drinks at Canon.

For our initial round of drinks, we ordered the first two that caught our eye. The aptly-named Bright Idea cocktail was served in a lightbulb and contained a refreshing mix of tequila, watermelon, pomegranate, fresh lemon, and Racer 5 IPA. It was perfect for the final days of summer weather in Seattle.

The Khaleesi Cocktail, on the other hand, involved a whole show (I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say that there’s a skull involved). This was more my jam, with Canon High West Rye, bourbon, Punt e Mes, strawberry, tonka bean, and “dragon’s blood smoke.”

Bright Idea (left) and the Khaleesi Cocktail (right, the skull and coup glass)

Bright Idea (left) and the Khaleesi Cocktail (right, the skull and coup glass)

Khaleesi Cocktail at Canon

Khaleesi Cocktail at Canon

After waffling back and forth on what else to order, I finally caved and went with the Magic: The Gathering cocktail. Not only did it contain gin, Dimmi Italian liqueur, orange, cava, and butterfly pea flower, but the menu actually listed “magic” as an ingredient. No joke.

And it did seem like magic was involved somehow, because as I watched our mixologist turn our drink upside down, nothing. spilled. out. What the @#$!?? What is this sorcery?

Alas, like those long-running, irritating Tootsie pop commercials, the world may never know. For now, I’m happy to just sip my drink, thank you very much.

Magic the Gathering cocktail at Canon

Magic: The Gathering cocktail at Canon

3. Rachel’s Ginger Beer

1530 Post Alley, Seattle, WA (see website for other locations)
Website
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM and Fridays & Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 10 PM

Stormy drink

Storm Clouds drink at Rachel’s Ginger Beer

Rachel’s Ginger Beer was originally recommended to me by–you guessed it–former Seattleite Rachel. It was easy enough to swing by this place, since I was already in Pike Place Market for lunch, so I decided to give it a go.

They had me at “Storm Clouds.” As you can tell from the menu pictured below, Rachel’s Ginger Beer (RGB) serves some cocktails that feature their ginger beer, in addition to non-alcoholic drinks and soft serve ice cream. Given that the Dark ‘n’ Stormy is one of my favorite drinks of all time, I was in complete and utter heaven here.

RGB’s riff on the Dark ‘n’ Stormy featured their own ginger beer, which give the drink an extra kick. There was something sublime about their ginger beer–it tasted fresher and stronger than other ginger beers I’ve had. RGB produces a whole host of flavors, like white peach and cucumber tarragon, so you can get creative when you mix your own cocktails at home, too!

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4. Cloudburst Brewing

2116 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA
Website
Open Wednesdays to Fridays from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM; Saturdays from noon to 10:00 PM; Sundays from noon to 8:00 PM. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Not all of these were mine... I swear!

Not all of these were mine… I swear!

Finding Cloudburst Brewing turned out to be a happy accident. Having finished lunch at Piroshky Piroshky, I decided to kill some time by walking around Pike Place Market. I opened my trusty Yelp app to search for things to do close to me, and up popped Cloudburst Brewing. It opens in 5 minutes, I thought. Why not?

Sidling up to the counter, I struggled with what to order. Fortunately, some of the locals took pity on me and, upon finding out that I was a travel blogger, insisted that I try some of their beer flight to get a more “well-rounded” picture of what Cloudburst was all about. (They were especially incredulous that I had stumbled upon the place by accident, since I didn’t realize that Cloudburst was the most anticipated brewery opening in Seattle of 2016.)

I love hoppy beers, so the Glitter Pop IPA was right up my alley. I also loved the Wet Hop Indian Summer beer and, surprisingly, Happy Little Clouds, a dry-hopped pilsner. At the time I was there in September, a 10-ounce pour was $5 and most 16-ounce pours were going for $6. I walked out of Cloudburst agreeing that, for once, the hype surrounding a place was actually warranted.

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5. Fremont Brewing

1050 N 34th St, Seattle, WA (Urban Beer Garden; see website for other locations)
Website
Open daily from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Fremont Brewing

Prior to my Seattle trip, nearly every friend I asked for tips said two words: Fremont Brewing. Founded in 2009, Fremont Brewing focuses on local ingredients and sustainability. In fact, they’re serious about reducing their carbon footprint; they’ve even won awards that back up their claims.

I decided to order a tasting flight, which, of course, turned out to be delicious. As I sat down and sipped my porter, however, I couldn’t help overhearing that the couple across from me was on their first date. Turns out it didn’t go so well, because she left without warning after making an uncomfortable face, and he left five minutes later.

But me? I was more concerned about the sheer amount of craft beer they left behind. I mean, look at this. If this isn’t a beer-mergency, then I don’t know what is.

They left ALL of this craft beer. C'mon, guys, you can't leave Fremont Brewing's beer around a craft beer lover like me...

They left ALL of this craft beer. C’mon, guys, you can’t leave Fremont Brewing’s beer around a craft beer lover like me…

Spoiler alert: I didn’t drink it. Because even I’m not that desperate. But suffice it to say that everyone else in the near vicinity was gulping down their beer, murmuring things like “Mmmmm” and “I need to get another.” Enough said.

Inside Fremont Brewing

Inside Fremont Brewing

Honorable Mention: Perhaps unsurprisingly, this post turned out to be slanted toward craft beer. If you’re looking for additional breweries to check out in Seattle, the people I spoke to at these breweries suggested Elysian Brewing Company, Stoup Brewing, and Reuben’s Brews. If you’re more into craft cocktails, check out Zig Zag Cafe, Rob Roy, Knee High Stocking Company, and Liberty.

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This Pacific Northwest city is killing it when it comes to cocktails, wine, and beer. Here's a round up of the best places to drink in Seattle right now.

(As usual, all costs were paid by me, and all opinions are my own.)

Where do you like to drink in Seattle? Sound off in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “5 Places You’ll Want to Drink in Seattle Right Now

  1. Cayla

    Gosh, I didn’t try ANY of these places when I was in Seattle. Their food and drink scene is so robust, it’s unbelievable. I’ll definitely refer to your list the next time I’m out there.

    1. Julianne

      Thanks, Cayla! I know, I was blown away by the volume of great restaurants and bars in Seattle when I visited. Next time I’m there, I’ll use your suggestion to visit The Walrus and the Carpenter!

  2. Nick

    Great post, as usual! Looks like I’ve got some new places to try out.

    I’ve been to Pike Brewing several times before, but I got lost wandering the Pike Place underground trying to find it last visit. For the future reader, it’s a little down 1st street from the main Pike Place Market area. It’s “underground” so it’s easy to forget how you found it after a few beers. Also I love the XXXXXtra Stout. It’s got all of them Seattle coffee roasty toasty flavors.

    1. Julianne

      Thanks, Nick! And good tip for our readers. I kind of wandered into Pike Brewing by following my nose, so I didn’t quite remember how I got there. Will add in the future! And will definitely need to start getting more into stout…

  3. Pingback: Photo Essay: Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle - It's Five O'Clock Here

  4. Kelly

    When I think of Seattle, I don;t usually think of a happening bar scene. But, your post has changed my mind. I feel like the bar scene is so chic and I think my favorite was the bright idea cocktail in a lightbulb. So innovative and fun, And I love sleepless in seattle too. Always made me want to find love in the space needle.

  5. Tracy

    That canon’s Bright Idea Cocktail looks interesting. The bulb glass shape and also the skull do really catch my attention when reading your post. And yes! I definitely would love to go to Rachel’s Ginger Beer! The Storm Cloud looks good. 🙂

  6. Raymond

    Nice info. I’ve got a cousin in Vancouver and he keeps asking me to go over and visit him; he

    loves Seattle. I’ve got cousins in California too and have always wanted to do a road trip up

    the west coast – LA to Seattle. If I get round to doing it soon, I’ll check out your

    recommendations.

  7. Brittany

    I’m not really a beer person… but I want to be at Canon right now!! That light bulb! The skull! I’m pinning this for me trip to WA. Who knows… I may even make it to Fremont for a try.

  8. Geo

    I’ve heard some great things about Canon – and now I can see why. Presentation seems to be in top, judging by those pictures. Completely in love with the “bright idea” cocktail – very quirky. Very much in love with the Khaleesi Cocktail – completely due to the skull glass. I’ve never seen a presentation like this before. For me it’s crystal clear – I’d choose to drink at Canon. I love creativity and they’ve taken it to a whole new level!

  9. Abigail

    When I visit a new place or city, I always try ton find good places to eat. It’s interesting to do the same with drinks. It is actually one of the best ways to get to know the culture of the city – through its drink spots. Canon sounds very interesting, but all of these look like they serve amazing drinks!

  10. Clare

    I went to Seattle years ago, I didn’t have time to get to the west coast on my last trip to the US. Looks like they have some great bars. I would love to go to Canon, they have some interesting glasses for their cocktails

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