Photo credit: E. Smith Mercantile

When Seattleites seek to imbibe, whether it’s a high-end cocktail bar or a seedy dive, they often don’t have to look far.

There’s a bar popping up on every corner, which can be a blessing or a curse (blessing in our minds).

Here’s where we’re heading on our nights off to avoid the overpriced and overpopulated bar scene, all within walking distance of The State in downtown Seattle.


This local watering hole offers well-poured and well-priced drinks by bartenders with, let’s face it, a bit of attitude.

But the rough-around-the-edges vibe is worth it for the summer patio seating and people watching.

Best kept secret: Elliott Bay views from the back-bar area.

E. Smith Mercantile Back Bar

With only a dozen seats or so, it’s barely a bar.

But if you’re lucky enough to snag a stool at the E. Smith Mercantile Back Bar, well then you’re in for a treat of seasonal and herbaceous cocktails.

Kill two birds with one stone: this spot, deemed “Seattle’s Retail Mullet,” is the perfect spot for curating hip souvenirs, all American made and crafted by artisans.

Damn the Weather

This may come as a shock, but it rains in Seattle.

Like, a lot.

Retreat from our crappy weather and into Damn the Weather in Pioneer Square for a Japanese whisky or our personal favorite, the Uppfriska, with fresh cucumber and Aquavit.

It’s just as good for you as eating a salad. Promise.


Cheap wine on the mind?

Twenty bucks at List restaurant in Belltown will get you a happy hour bottle of wine, including tax and tip.

They also feature a separate champagne cocktail menu (um, yes please) and a full menu of delights like spicy meatballs and sea salt and pepper calamari.

Zig Zag

Although it’s just down the street from Pike Place Market, Zig Zag is generally packed with locals slurping up craft cocktails and devouring fried pork skins.

Hot tip: Zig Zag offers happy hour Monday-Friday from 5-7.