Need an escape from the family, or a place to bring them all? One of these spots open on Christmas Day 2017 should have you covered.
Here’s our annual list of bars to hit on Christmas Day. Whether Santa was good to you or not, there’s something for you here. Hopefully. There’s free Chinese food and a chance to taste one of the world’s most expensive bourbons for $25. There’s tips on where to take your in-laws or where to escape from them.
The Christmas bar scene is vibrant, especially on Capitol Hill where a dozen bars will be slinging drinks. To this day, seeing a gal read Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” to her beau by candlelight in a dark nook at a bar five years ago remains the most romantic thing I’ve seen on Christmas.
You won’t need to Uber to the Chinatown International District for drunk karaoke. Hula Hula Lounge relocated to Capitol Hill and kicks off Christmas Night Karaoke at 9 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.
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Hula Hula, 1501 E. Olive Way, Seattle; 206-284-5003 or hulahula.org
Neighbor Lady, in the Central District, offers a free Chinese buffet (chicken chow mein, fried rice, vegetarian egg rolls and other Chinese-American staples). Now, you know this is free food so you shouldn’t complain on Yelp if you’re unhappy with the offerings, right? The Christmas buffet usually gets demolished by 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Neighbor Lady, 2308 E. Union St., Seattle; 206-695-2072 or on Facebook
Zig Zag Cafe is the place to take your in-laws, if you’re looking for a well-behaved crowd and a good Manhattan or craft cocktail. Note: You might see a crowd after 1 a.m. when the line cooks and other service-industry workers sidle up for last call. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Zig Zag Cafe, 1501 Western Ave., Seattle; 206-625-1146 or zigzagseattle.com
So Santa didn’t bring you that vintage Kevin Durant Sonic jersey. Perhaps a shot of Pappy Van Winkle’s 20-year bourbon will make it all better. It’s one of the world’s most-sought-after whiskeys, often going on the secondary market for a couple thousand bucks a bottle. But it’s available for $25 a shot at King’s Hardware, in Ballard, on Christmas Day. Doors open at 7 p.m., but you might have to line up earlier to get it.
King’s Hardware, 5225 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; 206-782-0027 or kingsballard.com
Ballard Smoke Shop: Because apparently it’s never too early to start drinking, this watering hole opens at 8 a.m. The popular $17.99 prime-rib special with all the fixings and dessert is available starting at noon and often sells out by 6 p.m. It’s arguably the city’s most popular Christmas-dinner special.
Ballard Smoke Shop, 5439 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; 206-784-6611 or ballardsmokeshop.com
All three 13 Coins branches will be open, but the one to hit is in South Lake Union, where this institution will be celebrating its last Christmas. It’s closing at the end of the year. Come commiserate or share your memories with the barflies and the insomniacs.
13 Coins, 125 Boren Ave. N., Seattle; 206-682-2513 or 13coins.com
Updated: 12/22 at 10:25 a.m. Sun Liquor will not open on Dec. 25. In years past, Sun Liquor drew long lines and sold out of its eggnog early, but supply won’t be an issue this time. The elves cranked out 21,000 bottles this season. This Capitol Hill bar will start selling eggnog by the cup three days before Christmas.
Sun Liquor, 607 Summit Ave. E., Seattle; 206-860-1130 or sunliquor.com
Lost Lake Cafe and Comet Tavern, both under the same roof and same ownership, have the capacity to handle the crowd around the Pike/Pine corridor. Both will offer Christmas dinner specials until 10 p.m. The Comet Tavern, which will show the football games, will close at 2 a.m., while Lost Lake stays open 24 hours.
Lost Lake Cafe, 1505 10th Ave., Seattle; 206-323-5678 orlostlakecafe.com
Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., Seattle; 206-323-5678 or thecomettavern.com
If you want to avoid the mayhem around the Pike/Pine corridor, hit Liberty on 15th Avenue East, a homey vibe with comfy couches.
Liberty, 517 15th Ave. E., Seattle; 206-323-9898 or libertybars.com
If you want a romantic place or a quiet spot to entertain out-of-town guests, hit Il Bistro in Pike Place Market. Note that half of the lounge will be reserved for dinner that night. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Il Bistro, 93A Pike St., Seattle; 206-682-3049 or ilbistro.net
My favorite holiday hangout, though, is Standard Brewing. Manhattans and craft cocktails cost $10 and less, and its eggnog ($7), a bourbon-and-rum blend, was the best variation I’ve tasted this season. Punch will also be served. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Standard Brewing, 2504 S. Jackson St, Seattle; 206-535-1584 or standardbrew.com
On the Eastside, your options are more limited. If you don’t want to cross the bridge to Seattle, your best bet is to hit Central Tavern in Kirkland. If you go, hoist one in honor of the late owner Diane Krushelnisky, who made this dive so weird and wonderful. This watering hole sits near million-dollar condos and swanky waterfront restaurants, but she defiantly refused to spiff up the space. She had an affinity for the working-class crowd; Central Tavern is her homage to the Eastside of yesteryear.
Central Tavern, 124 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland; 425-827-0808 or on Facebook
For something fancier, snag one of the dozen seats at the bar at The Lakehouse in Lincoln Square. If that’s filled, just walk across the hall to Baron’s Xi’an Kitchen & Bar, which boasts a spacious lounge.
Baron’s Xi’an Kitchen & Bar, 500 Bellevue Way N.E. No. 210, Bellevue; 425-625-2165 or baronsbellevue.com
The Lakehouse, 10455 N.E. Fifth Place, Bellevue; 425-454-7076 or thelakehousebellevue.com