Hottest Bars in Seattle to Try Right Now

By Leslie Kelly
July 7, 2014
By Leslie Kelly  |  July 7, 2014

Seattle's hottest cocktail bars, swanky lounges and massive beer halls come with the kind of energy only well-mixed drinks, good food and an inviting vibe can create. In short: they've got buzz. From brand-new hangouts like Damn the Weather to classics like Canon, all of these hangouts have one thing in common: they're almost always packed, especially on weekends. So, what are you waiting for? Sidle up to the 10 hottest bars in Seattle. 

  • Photo by: Facebook

    Damn the Weather

    Why It's Hot: This feel-good space in Pioneer Square brings together vintage brick walls and wood floors with innovative cocktails and envelope-pushing cuisine.
    Must-Drink: The aquavit-driven Svenskarna is fittingly refreshing for warm weather with its blast of cucumber and citrus. But The Lazuli, the bar's Northwest tribute to the margarita, is the can't-miss drink. It brings on the blueberries with blanco tequila and a bit of eucalyptus syrup. 
    Insider Tip: Chef Eli Dahlin's menu is a moving target. Fried chicken and bread pudding showed up last week. But you can always count on the adorable and totally delicious duck hot dog. Happy hour is between 4 and 6:30 PM, weekdays.

    116 First Ave. S.; 206-946-1283

  • Photo by: Paola Thomas

    Red Star Taco Bar

    Why It's Hot: An instant hit in Fremont, this late-night venue speaks to party-ready types who want to eat on the cheap and get their drink on. 
    Must-Drink: The Bourbon Jam Sour is brilliant, a tart sipper with a seasonal sweet note provided by housemade jam.
    Insider Tip: Don't miss the $2 tacos on Taco Tuesdays.

    513 N. 36th St.; 206-258-3087

  • Photo by: Nick Jurich

    Radiator Whiskey

    Why It's Hot: With its awesome cocktails, including barrel-aged creations, and fun menu items like cornflake-crusted chicken livers or egg-topped tater tots, this rocking spot across from Matt's in the Market feels like a party.
    Must-Drink: In the mood for something racy? Try The Showgirl. Named for the strip club across the street, it's a just-right mix of Buffalo Trace bourbon, Ramazotti amaro and house rhubarb bitters.
    Insider Tip: If you want to eat a whole pig head, you've got to order it in advance. They only make a few each day.

    94 Pike St.; 206-467-4268

  • Rhino Room

    Why It's Hot: This is the only club in the city — maybe on the planet — where you can dance all night and also order a huge plate of Hawaiian food (from Ma'ono, next door). 
    Must-Drink: Blend in by sipping a Rainier Tallboy or go tiki-style to match the food with an über-strong mai tai.
    Insider Tip: This place gets going late, so plan on arriving after 10 PM. That said, the bar opens at noon, and it's also become a popular spot for some day drinking.

    1535 11th Ave.

  • Elysian Bar

    Why It's Hot: This gorgeously updated former nightclub is the latest pad where superstar bartender Murray Stenson thrills with custom-made cocktails and engaging style.
    Must-Drink: Say oui, oui to the Parisian, made with Elysian gin, Doolin dry vermouth and a splash of cassis.
    Insider Tip: If you've got your heart set on face time with Murray, come early in the evening, because the bar stools fill up fast.

    1516 Second Ave.; 206-467-4458

  • Photo by: Claire Nelson

    Von Trapp's

    Why It's Hot: Bocce, beer and brats? Score! This way-popular place draws an eclectic crowd, though at certain times of the evening, the bros can run wild. We love the new outdoor beer garden too. 
    Must-Drink: This beer lover's paradise offers imports and local micros on tap — all served in teeny tasters, a one-liter vessel or several sizes in between.
    Insider Tip: To avoid the masses, hit up Sunday brunch.

  • Canon

    Why It's Hot: At this chill venue, barman Jamie Boudreau always keeps his lineup of clever cocktails fresh. They're so solid that the bar regularly gets national attention.
    Must-Drink: We get a huge kick out of the Long Island Iced Tea Redux, a carbonated version of that 1980s classic featuring four spirits — gin, vodka, tequila and rum — plus a little amaro to bring it all together.
    Insider Tip: Do a deep dive on your liquor of choice with a spirits flight, which includes whiskey distilled in Woodinville and Smoke Bombs for scotch geeks.

    928 12th Ave.; 206-552-9755 

  • El Borracho

    Why It's Hot: This taqueria does a smashing job on its fresh-juice-focused margaritas, making it tough to find an empty seat at its ever-busy Pike Place Market location.
    Must-Drink: It's a long way from tradition, but the coconut margarita is a blast, made with coconut-infused El Jimador blanco, coconut water, fresh lemon and lime juices, ginger simple syrup and a toasted-coconut-flake sugar rim.
    Insider Tip: Weekday happy hour feature $1 tacos between 4 and 7 PM.

    1521 First Ave.; 206-538-0440

  • Brave Horse Tavern

    Why It's Hot: Right in the heart of Amazon land, Tom Douglas' massive watering hole changes things up constantly, from the local micros on tap to the weekly burger specials.
    Must-Drink: Bring on the Boilermakers, ranging from the old-school shot of bourbon and Rainier to a very modern blast of Fireball paired with a semisweet cider.
    Insider Tip: The crazy-good corn dogs are back on the menu for summer.

    310 Terry Ave. N.; 206-971-0717

  • The Comet

    Why It's Hot: Crowds cheered the return of this landmark on Capitol Hill, where the spiffy update includes a bar menu that's built with sandwich lovers in mind.
    Must-Drink: It's tough to beat a $4 pitcher of beer at the 4 PM weekday happy hour, with a couple of dozen selections on tap, including the local favorite, Manny's Pale Ale.
    Insider Tip: The $9 wild-boar sloppy joe is a beautiful, if predictably messy, must-try. 

    922 E. Pike St.; 206-322-9272


Places Mentioned

Comet Tavern

Bar • Capitol Hill

Atmo.19 Decor14 Service18 CostI
Elysian Bar

Bar • Downtown

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostI
Radiator Whiskey

American • Pike Place Market

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
Damn the Weather

Bar • Pioneer Square

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
Brave Horse Tavern

American • South Lake Union

Food22 Decor23 Service19 Cost$23
Rhein Haus

German • Central District

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
Red Star Taco Bar

Bar • Fremont

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
canon: whiskey and bitters emporium

Cocktail Bar • Central District

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
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