Seattle gets two new hotel bars, one of which runs the best happy-hour deal in downtown while the other boasts a view of Mount Rainier. Plus more bar openings around West Seattle, Pike Place and the Chinatown International District.
Most new hotel bars in our Crane City have been yawners. The new spot near the University of Washington campus, though, is a doozy. It’s the big bar opening this month. Our bar crawl also led us to two Italian-themed joints. We also spotted mom-and-pop setups in West Seattle and in the Chinatown International District. Below is a look at some new drinking dens that have opened around town.
For a city with such a rainy reputation, Seattle sure draws a lot of investors eyeing rooftop bars. The latest bird’s-eye view comes courtesy of two bigwigs from Los Angeles, Marc Rose and Med Abrous. They were behind hip cocktail den The Spare Room, located inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and the acclaimed restaurant Winsome in Echo Park.
Their Mountaineering Club is perched on the 16th floor of The Graduate hotel, with stunning views of the Olympics and the Cascades. It’s located just off The Ave, but this bar isn’t aimed at the frat-boy, PBR-guzzling set. Judging by the crowd that popped up during last weekend’s debut, the demographic hews more toward the hip Ballard and Capitol Hill set.
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The focus is on $13 craft cocktails, with management hiring Jabriel Donohue, formerly of Dino’s Tomato Pie on Capitol Hill, to head the drink program, as well as veteran barman Keith Waldbauer, formerly of Vessel, Rumba and Liberty.
Last Saturday, a dozen customers hovered around the hotel lobby before 6 p.m., waiting for the rooftop bar to open. To avoid such bottlenecks in the future, management will start taking reservations.
But unlike swanky rooftop bars in Vegas and New York City, where buying a $200 bottle of vodka is required to reserve such prime real estate, the Mountaineering Club won’t require any minimum purchase for a reserved seat, management vows.
The rooftop bar can seat nearly 70, with room to add another dozen chairs inside, while the outside area can seat at least another 60. There’s not much of a kitchen here, so the menu is mostly sandwiches, hot dogs and simple seafood such as raw oysters and clam chowder.
The hotel plans to up its food game by late November. The owners behind this rooftop project also run the iconic Chinese restaurant Genghis Cohen in L.A. A branch of Genghis Cohen will be located in the hotel basement.
Located in The Graduate hotel, 4507 Brooklyn Ave. N.E., Seattle. Note: Opening hours may change. Call ahead. Tentative schedule: 3 p.m.-midnight Sundays-Wednesdays and 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 206-634-2000, graduatehotels.com
The best new, cheap happy hour around downtown belongs to this hotel bar, where you can get dinner for under $10. The $8 pizza (mushroom or margherita) is substantial enough to qualify as a meal. Or snack on a $4 plate of meatballs. Pair either with a Mark Ryan’s wine ($5). Crowds shouldn’t be a problem since many commuters don’t know about this 31-seat bar, located inside the new Hyatt Regency. Also, the bonus is the bar runs an extended happy hour from 3-7 p.m. on weekdays.
808 Howell St., Seattle; 206-973-1234, hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/washington/hyatt-regency-seattle/sears/dining
Scheduled to open Friday, March 8, this West Seattle brewery focuses on those barrel-age brews and funky and sour suds that beer geeks favor. But the locals need not fear: According to its Facebook page, the owners vow there will be “plenty of clean IPAs, stouts and saisons.”
7500 35th Ave. S.W., West Seattle; on Facebook (website pending)
A departure from your usual Chinatown International District karaoke dive, this bar in the heart of the neighborhood does cocktails and serves steamed and braised dishes and other Taishan cuisine. But wings and other greasy grub, along with your usual takeouts of chow mein and fried rice are available. Happy hour runs six days a week (closed on Wednesdays) from 6-8 p.m. with a $7 Moscow Mule and other vodka drinks.
670 S. Weller St., Seattle; 206-625-0408, no web page
The former taco bar Chavez near Pike Place Market is now just a bar. Talks of doing New York-style pizza got nixed, but snacks such as bruschetta, charcuterie and other simple grub are offered. You can also order pizza and pasta from next door at Mercato Stellina. The bar’s drink list is short and simple with aperitives such as a negroni and Americano. The bar needs some work on the pricing of its beer list. A Rainier is priced the same as a fancy Duvel Belgian ale — $8.
2001 Western Ave., Seattle. Note: Bar closes on Mondays and Tuesdays. 206-485-7356, mercatostellina.com