There are few American cities as worthy of a 5-star coolness rating as Seattle. Sipping an infamous Seattle roasted latte in one of the cities hundreds of trendy laid-back coffee shops paint’s a vaguely reminiscent picture of an early Greenwich Village where beatniks and intellects converged to spout their self-professed wisdom and poetry of insignificant value.
Typical attractions such as the overrated and outdated Space Needle are listed in countless Seattle tourists guides, but locals know there is a much better view of the city at Smith Tower. Because searching Google for things to do and see is going to produce dozens of websites telling readers of the identical traps to not miss, we’re going to see where the cool kids hang out. The hipsters. Those in the know.
1 Unicorn and Narwhal
These are two distinct bars in the same location. They are both carnival themed and the nightclubs are located right on capital hill in downtown Seattle. These 21+ only clubs have an arcade, claw machine with adult prizes, skeet table, pinball machines and a photo booth.
Entertainment varies between live shows, karaoke, trivia, drag-queen bingo, games, theme nights and whatever crazy things the owners can think of. The food is great but the best and most popular items are their various concoctions of corn dogs.
Sunday afternoons are Mimosas with Mamma and this is an absolute blast. Mamma is a drag queen and the liquor flows in tremendous volumes. There is no place in Seattle for more adult fun on a Sunday. Don’t forget to ask for your unicorn hat so you’ll fit right in.
2 Rock Box
If you can stand having too much fun in the same place head over to the Japanese karaoke bar, Rock Box. Private room karaoke is huge in Japan. It’s called Karaoke Box. They have 11 private rooms which can accommodate 15 guests each, and a larger room for parties of 35 or more.
Have absolutely no worries if you’re a party of one or two. There is an entire main bar full of drunks who can’t carry a tune. Make sure to slurp down as many Jello shooters as you can, 100% of the profits go to a local non-profit. This is the type of community spirit seldom seen these days, yet it’s commonplace in Seattle.
Being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the nation, song selections are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Russian, French, Portuguese, German, Hindi, Tagalog, Hawaiian, and Vietnamese.
3 Tavern Law / Needle & Thread
If you are not a local, or even if you’re from another area of Seattle, you might walk into Tavern Law, find a spot, order up, have a helluva great time, and never know there’s another party going on upstairs. It isn’t advertised with the exception of a blurb on their website which gives a number to call for reservations. It’s a completely separate club called Needle & Thread. Unless you have been to their website or know someone who knows someone, you won’t know it’s there.
If you walk into Tavern Law and tell the bouncer you have a reservation you’ll be pointed to a bank vault door. Swing the door open, take the stairs, and voila, you’re in. Once inside you cannot request a particular type mixed drink. You let the bartender know your favorite liquor and stand back. They are artists. They create. You’ll like it.
The food is top notch and it’s prepared by a highly educated and experienced culinary master chef who insists on using only fresh, seasonal ingredients. In no way does it resemble typical grease saturated bar food.
4 Comet Tavern
If hanging out in an iconic corner bar has your seal of approval, go to Comet Tavern. It’s rustic. It’s cheap. It’s friendly. You’ll know more people when you leave than before you walked in. Guaranteed. Unless you’re a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.
It gets crowded, especially on weekends, and unless you keep up with their schedule of events, which is on Facebook, you’ll never know what to expect. Now and then there’s a DJ or live music and they always show major sporting events, including pay-for-view fights.
A favorite among patrons is Big Lebowski Bingo. The movie plays in the background while everyone drinks and wins some cool and unusual prizes.
Pool tables await those who fancy the game, and the musical genre of the night is solely at the discretion of the working staff. Everything from death metal to 80’s music to hip-hop has filled the patron’s eardrums, many times all in the same night.
Comet Tavern has a tremendous craft beer selection which continually changes. Ranier is a big local favorite and a staple of Seattle’s beer drinking society, and there is always more than enough of it on hand.
5 Linda’s Tavern
Still the hipster-ist of Seattle’s hippest after 23 years. Appropriate attire for guys consists of flannel and denim. Pretty much the same for women. Skull caps, tattoos, and only the best of the best of Seattle’s indie music bands is what you’ll find. Seattle has always been known for crafting its own unique style of indie music, and if a local band is gaining attention you can bet they’ll be performing at Linda’s.
In addition to bands, Linda’s brings in up and coming DJ’s of varying styles. Anything new and progressive works. They’ve even sponsored goth nights.
The menu at Linda’s is way more extensive than one would expect to find in such a cool and groovy hangout. Burgers, tacos, eggs, pancakes, chicken wings, salads, and much more are available to feed their hungry guests. If being hip and hanging with your own kind is your thing, Linda’s Tavern is the place for you.
There you go. Sure there are other bars in a town as big as Seattle, but these are four of the best so quit your searching. Pick the one that most appeals to your interpretation of a good time and go have one. As long as you’re in Seattle you’ll be around friends.