Agua Verde Café
Its new 65-seat patio by Portage Bay (called Marina Cantina) will draw big crowds this summer, but this popular Mexican restaurant also added a shiny new 13-seat bar inside, a good alternative if you can’t score a seat in that prime patio real estate. Travis Rosenthal, who also owns Rumba, Tango and Sand Point Grill, purchased Agua Verde earlier this year and proceeded to knock down a couple of walls and swap out some dining tables for a U-shaped bar and slushy machines. He updated the fish-taco menu (rockfish and seared salmon), added chilaquiles for breakfast and enlisted his bartenders at Rumba on Capitol Hill to create a beachy-tequila-and-rum cocktail list to go with that water vista. Rumba, by the way, is in the running for a “World’s Best Spirits Selection” award from Tales of the Cocktail, one of the industry’s highest honors.
1303 N.E. Boat St. (Portage Bay), Seattle; 206-545-8570, aguaverdecafe.com
The latest to open in the Ballard brewery hub, this Frelard spot offers an eclectic bar menu with nods to the South from barbecue briskets and ribs to Big Easy comfort food such as gumbo and Cajun mussels. Its 12-tap lineup includes Ommegang and Duvel ale, but the better deal may be its booze selection — shots priced between $7 and $8. Owner Rodel Borromeo, formerly of Social Bar and Grill in Tacoma and Woodblock in Redmond, has taken over the former Leary Traveler bar space, located next to Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Co.
4354 Leary Way N.W. (Frelard), Seattle; facebook.com
This Phinney Ridge bottle shop carries some IPA gems that usually don’t make the rounds around town — hoppy brews from Skookum Brewing in Arlington to Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia. On tap also is Grains of Wrath Brewery in Camas, which has been making some stellar ales using hops sourced from legendary grower Jason Perrault in Toppenish, in Yakima County. The store features about 150 different regional beers in bottles and cans, including acclaimed Deschutes Brewery’s Abyss 2018 Reserve and beers from Portland’s Hair of the Dog Brewing. Props to the bartender who has excellent taste in movies, showing the cult “Return to the 36th Chamber” and other Shaw Brothers flicks on the flatscreens. This 16-tap bar is run by Seth Howard, who also owns Collins Pub and The Last Drop Bottle Shop.
7702 Greenwood Ave. N. (Phinney Ridge), Seattle; 206-453-3564, website pending
Tangletown Public House
When Elysian Brewery streamlined its business and shut down its brewpub in Tangletown, a familiar face pounced at the chance to take over: David Buhler, one of the original Elysian founders. Buhler has turned this into a neighborhood bar with 20 taps of craft beers from around the Northwest and a menu of bar staples such as burgers, fish-and-chips and chop salad. You’ll hear live music every Tuesday in this 90-seat bar, with more on the calendar in the fall.
2106 N. 55th St., Seattle (Tangletown); 206-466-6340