Reporter Tan Vinh's take on some changes atop Seattle's Queen Anne Hill, his home hood.

Wasn’t that long ago that upper Queen Anne was just a coffee haven in a coffee-mad town. Here’s a sign that things are changing. A while back, Peet’s Coffee & Tea closed up its shop here, after opening last year. Tully’s closed, too. So there is a ceiling to this caffeine madness after all.

Peet’s was near a Starbucks, Tea Cup, Caffe Ladro, to say nothing of either the Starbucks inside Safeway or a couple more coffee houses a few blocks away.

Upper Queen Anne has evolved, with mixed-used development and more shops including recently a yoga studio, a Pilates studio and Wink Cupcakes. More happy hours, too.

The dining scene has improved with Chef Ethan Stowell’s restaurant, How to Cook a Wolf, and the opening of Emmer & Rye restaurant, with the former chef of Stumbling Goat Bistro in Phinney Ridge.

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Upper Queen Anne, a family-oriented hood, is more well-rounded and hip these days.

Here’s a look at Queen Anne Avenue between Galer and Garfield streets. (See map at right)


1. Betty, 1507 Queen Anne Ave. N. One of the best happy hours up here. Patrons love the predictable burger and fries, but it’s really time for Betty to bring back its best bar food: the charred octopus with sweet chorizo.

2. Oslo’s, 1519 Queen Anne Ave. N. A men’s boutique with a barber in back. It’s the city’s best straight-razor shave. Sort of like a Men’s Club here. The barber used to serve his customers whiskey shots with their $35 haircut — until a guy from the liquor board paid a visit.

3. Bricco della Regina Anna, 1525 Queen Anne Ave N. A popular wine bar that reinvented itself last year as a cocktail bar, too. Moshi Moshi’s talented bartender, Erik Carlson, did the cocktail menu here.

4. Chocolopolis, 1527 Queen Anne Ave. N. More than 200 different gourmet and artisanal chocolates from 20 different countries. And the staff can turn any of those bars into a hot chocolatelike drink for you. With marshmallows made in house. Chocolate happy hour, too, every Thursday from 5-9 p.m.

5. Desert Sun Tanning Salon, 1531 Queen Anne Ave. N. For the longest time, I figured all the boys were staring at the birds out front and thought, “Aw, isn’t that nice.” Realized later they’re gawking at all the skinny bronzed girls in “Pink” label sweatpants walking in and out of here.

6. ProRobics Conditioning Club, 1530 Queen Anne Ave. N. By now, most folks with New Year’s resolutions to lose weight are giving up, which means I get my gym back. No more waiting for a treadmill until 2011. Also, say what you will about Gil Kerlikowske, former Seattle police chief and now drug czar at the other Capitol Hill, but that guy was a gym rat here.

7. 5 SPOT Cafe, 1502 Queen Anne Ave. N. One of the city’s busiest weekend-brunch spots, with crowds out the front door. Only the locals know about the $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon special at night.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com. Follow Tan Vinh on Twitter @tanvinhseattle