Day drinking outside is ideal. Something about shooting the breeze with friends and grapefruit sours on a patio while sunshine gently dances across your face could make anyone happy to be a Seattleite.
But the universe doesn’t want us to have this for most of the year, because the universe is cruel. So for those months when it’s gray and/or and drizzling so much that you feel like you’re living in the movie The Mist, here are some fantastic places to drink under a sturdy roof and forget how wet and sad it is outside. Bottoms up.
Imagine what the queue for a Disneyland seaplane adventure ride might look like, and you’ll probably be picturing something like Bar Charlie. It’s a neighborhood spot with knotted rope light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, a plane propellor anchored behind the bar, and map schematics on the walls. The drinks, which range from an old fashioned with apple brandy and mole bitters to a lemon gin cocktail with rhubarb, are excellent, and the food’s impressive, too. Get the twice-baked loaded poutine potato covered in melted cheese curds, gravy, chives, and bacon.
Let your out-of-town guests fawn over baby onesies at Pike Place Market while you break away for a few pints at Old Stove. The space is huge with picnic tables that overlook the waterfront, plenty of tasty beers (we like the raspberry sour), and mix-and-match snacks like pretzel bites and flatbreads that you could make a full lunch out of. We don’t blame you for skipping out on a visit to the gum wall.
Walk a few minutes north of Bar Charlie and you’ll hit Russell’s, another standout neighborhood bar with nice wooden booths, a bright red retro refrigerator behind the bar, and a delicious hot pretzel served with Beecher’s beer cheese. They’ve got solid beers on tap and some interesting cocktails, too. Hole up here for a couple of hours with some friends and battle the cold by researching flights to Hawaii.
If you were to peek through the window at Bad Bishop, you’d be able to make out Victorian wallpaper, a piano, and general darkness. Kind of seems like it’d be a scene in a late ’50s noir film that definitely would not pass the Bechdel test. In reality, people in here are playing Scrabble, eating corn dogs, and drinking hot toddies from corny office mugs. Since the whole place blurs the line between classy and chill, it’s a great spot to put in your lunch date rotation - and in your cheeseburger rotation, too.
Here’s some game-changing advice: call ahead at The Masonry and reserve a big communal picnic table for a group. Once you’re there, order some combination of pizza, burgers, frozen rose, and beer, and sit around to discuss the merits of Gavin’s awful new tattoo while Gavin’s off in the back playing Skee-Ball. This pizzeria is a perfect alternative to a lazy Saturday on your couch with instant ramen and a bad Nicholas Cage movie.
If you tend to start yawning before your first pint is even empty, The Woods is for you. Not the woods as in the forest. The Woods as in the official tasting room for Two Beers Brewing Company and Seattle Cider Company. It’s hard to get bored here - not only do they have 24 on-tap beer and cider options to choose from, but they also have darts, foosball, and pool. Plus, it doubles as the brick and mortar location of the Bread And Circuses food truck. Get their fried brussels sprout caesar, which tastes even more glorious after a few pints of Day Hike.
We could tell you El Grito has four different kinds of frozen margaritas and stop there. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t also try some fish tacos with chips and salsa. Things can get kind of quiet here during lunch, so it’s a great option for an impromptu group lunch when you don’t feel like waiting. Plus, it won’t be as embarrassing when your cousin starts singing karaoke despite the fact that this isn’t a karaoke bar.
Beer Star is a glorious place in White Center that has lots of niche beers inside of a big fridge that you can pick out yourself, plus over three dozen varieties on tap. There’s plenty of room to claim a table for your afternoon drinking HQ, and you can also bring outside food - get a burger to-go from Li’l Woody’s next door, or bring in some kimchi fried rice from Anju around the corner.
Redhook Brewlab is the Tesla of breweries. It’s in a very slick, newly-constructed building, you can see the entire brewery operation churning around inside, and each beer is a small-batch experiment with local Washington crops and flavors - hence the term “brewlab.” The beers don’t drink themselves, though. Bring your entire friend group and camp out at a long table with some beer flights and pizzas.
Sometimes an elderflower cucumber mint cocktail at 11am is necessary for your Saturday. Get that at Knee High Stocking Company, an unmarked speakeasy in Capitol Hill where it’s literally a rule that you can’t bring anyone you wouldn’t bring to your grandmother’s house. Leave the Jagerbomb-loving crowd at home, celebrate the weekend with some top-tier cocktails, and take in the elegant space complete with paintings of cherubs and fruit. If you need a place to kick off some surprise birthday festivities, Knee High is a very good choice.
Your camping trip got cancelled - turns out that trying to pitch a tent in the pouring rain is wildly counterproductive. Once you’ve dried off, head to The Noble Fir, a bar that feels a lot like a cabin hideaway in the mountains. A cabin hideaway with string lights, beer, wine, delicious charcuterie and cheese plates, and a library area full of old books, that is. Not to mention a bathroom, which is more than we can say for that campsite your friends picked out.
While we do love paying Supreme a visit late at night to drink alcoholic slushies and soak them up with garlic knots dipped in liquid cheese, it’s equally as fun during the day, when you could chase your fried chicken and American cheese pizza (trust us, it’s delicious) with a frozen spiked creamsicle or a jungle bird. If you stick around long enough, you can still do those late-night garlic knots - but if you’ve been drinking for 12 hours straight, you probably need to go home and think about bedtime. Or at least feed your fish.
If you’ve ever popped into Safeway and grabbed a six-pack of Schilling Cider without realizing Schilling runs its own tasting room in Seattle, now you know. This place features Schilling’s own hard ciders as well as guest rotations, plus a refrigerator case of bottles and cans you can take home. Get one of the large high top tables and make a flight from some of the 32 cider choices on tap, ranging from pineapple passionfruit to sriracha lime to simply dry. They don’t serve food, but you can bring it in (or get it delivered) from the outside world - so grab some RoRo BBQ to-go, or order pies from Frelard Pizza Company.
Chuck’s is a cross between a convenience store and your friend’s makeshift garage lounge HQ, and it’s one of our favorite spots to grab daytime beers inside. Choose something on tap, or grab a six-pack from the wall-length refrigerator case in the back and have the staff open up the bottles for you. Get lunch from the food truck out front (which changes depending on the day - we like Nosh, Stacks Burgers, and Woodshop BBQ), or just picnic on a hodgepodge of chips, cheese doodles, pints of Full Tilt ice cream, and gummy candies from the convenience store portion of the space. Bring some board games and stay a while.
Speaking of board games, when it’s gross outside and you don’t feel like prepping your apartment to host a Cards Against Humanity party, tell everyone to meet you at Raygun Lounge, an awesome all-day nerd hall where you can play games and drink red wine mixed with orange soda. Break things up with some time on the arcade machines, and if you get hungry, get tacos and margaritas at Fogon across the street.
A rainy day in Seattle can make you feel like you’re trapped in a castle dungeon. If you want to make this vision a little more of a reality, have some drinks at Brouwer’s Cafe, which has darkness and gargoyles, but also the Feel Good Factor™. There are many beers and ciders on tap, there’s a massive collection of scotch, and you can order some of the best charcuterie boards, soft pretzels, and fries in the city. Fail to get the bourbon dragon sauce for dipping, and we’ll find a real castle dungeon to toss you in.
We love The Dray because it’s what we imagine having beers in a treehouse, surrounded by nothing but nature and a good book, would be like. It’s a tiny little spot in Phinney Ridge with interesting things (like a lavender farmhouse ale) on tap, an espresso machine in case you need a jolt, snacks cooked in a mini oven, and the best possible atmosphere for bringing your laptop to the bar and getting some work done while day drinking IPAs.
Rachel's Ginger Beer
There are only so many times you can take laps around Pike Place Market looking at homemade utensil jewelry and sampling that disgusting chocolate pasta before wanting to knock over a display of artisanal glycerin soaps. Take a break and drink some mules at Rachel’s Ginger Beer, our favorite spot to escape the madness of the market. Chaos will swirl around you, but there’s a glass of pink guava ginger beer with vodka in your hand - so it’s all good. If you want to get a little fancy, you can order yours frozen or as a float with soft serve ice cream on top.
Nostalgia is a powerful force. And if you get nostalgic about pounding cheap beer in the great room of a fraternity house while screaming profanity at some sports match on TV and almost poking someone’s eye out with a dart, Kangaroo & Kiwi is where you need to go. It’s an Australian-themed bar in a renovated library with rugby streaming on the screens, a good draught selection, and hand shuffleboard. As long as you bring your friends to party and don’t expect phenomenal service or gourmet food, it’s going to be a great time.