Expect to see a wave of bars opening by spring. As you read this bar roundup, there are another dozen more tasting rooms and cocktail dens frantically rushing to get their bar counters set up to open by April.

Bar Miriam

307 W. McGraw St. (Queen Anne); Seattle; barmiriam.com

The hot new cocktail bar that opened this year sits up the hill of Queen Anne, off the main drag and tucked next to a hardware store. Bar Miriam comes from the same team that opened the cocktail den Baker’s on Sunset Hill. Talented chef Cody Westerfield, formerly of Lecosho by Pike Place, composed the ambitious bar food menu at Bar Miriam. The carnivorous touches of Lecosho can be seen here: lardo-wrapped pear wedges, duck confit cassoulet re-imagined as deep-fried orbs for finger food and an umami-rich mushroom tartine spread with beef fat. A week into its opening, the buttermilk soft-shell crab slider is already one of the most talked-about bar noshes in the bar scene. No candy-vodka drinks here; owner Brian Smith’s cocktail menu was made with the cocktail geeks in mind. There are booze-forward gin and whiskey libations, and the small but well-curated booze list includes a handful of fernet and Weller bourbon bottles for the late-night industry crowd.

Wheelie Pop Brewing

1110 N.W. 50th St. (Ballard), Seattle; wheeliepopbrewing.com

The Ballard Brewery District, which has become one of Seattle’s most popular barhopping areas, continues to grow. Wheelie Pop Brewing is the latest micro brewery in the district and sits about two blocks west of Bale Breaker & Yonder Cider Taproom, which debuted last summer. This warehouse district has reinvented itself — not all nearby homeowners are happy about this — as Seattle’s biggest beer playground. There are about a dozen taprooms with more coming. Last summer, this Ballard enclave resembled an Octoberfest block party, with some breweries having waiting lists of over 100 people on the weekends. The arrival of Wheelie Pop should provide some relief when we get shorts-and-sandals weather. The 3,000-square-foot taproom, kids and dogs allowed, can seat 49 indoors and will eventually have six picnic tables out front. There are chips and other snacks to fortify you between pints. For something more substantial, you can order sandwiches and pizzas next door at Trailbend Taproom. Its beer list leans on the hoppy side, though Wheelie Pop owners Mark Silverstein and Jeremy Johnson will add imperial stouts, Kolsch and barrel-aged suds to its 16 taps soon.


Chuck’s Hop Shop

5041 Wilson Ave. S. (Seward Park), Seattle; chuckshopshop.com

One of the most anticipated Seattle taproom openings this year, Chuck’s Hop Shop has drawn crowds even though the beer inventory isn’t fully stocked yet. While there are 52 beers on tap, owner Chuck Shin is waiting for his walk-in coolers to arrive so he can store 1,000 different craft beers and ciders and 100 natural wines. Shin’s bottle shops have been a big hit in Greenwood and the Central District, where they serve as a much loved “third place” where the community gathers for PTA-like meetups, online dates and other social gatherings. Shin’s latest is a basement space located in the aptly named Third Place Books in Seward Park, sharing space with the kosher cafe Muriel’s All Day Eats. The shared dining room between Chuck’s Hop Shop and Muriel’s cafe holds about 100 seats indoors and, if you are willing to brave the cold, about 30 seats on the patio.

The Bottle and the Barber

706 N.W. 70th St. (Phinney Ridge); Seattle; 206-588-2964; thebottleandthebarber.com


Waiting for a haircut doesn’t seem so bad when you have a beer to nurse. Here’s a bottle shop and barber shop under one roof, with the cheeky motto of, “I’ll take a #2 on the sides and a 4-pack to go.” Owner Cameron Dean can give you a fade and is licensed to pour you an IPA to sip while you are plopped on his barbershop chair. His bottle shop will carry about 300 beers and wines that you can also buy to-go.

The Marble Room

314 Second Ave. S. (Pioneer Square); Seattle; pioneersquarede.com/the-marble-room

Apparently, we’re not done with these hush-hush, speakeasy-inspired bars. Last year, the Fairmont Olympic hotel in downtown Seattle launched its swanky drinking room hidden behind a bookcase in the lobby, and nearby Pho Bac opened a “secret” bar on the second floor of its noodle house. Imbibers also got two new Big Easy-inspired speak-easy bars: Rouge Cocktail Lounge in Bellevue and In the Heart Speakeasy Bar along the West Seattle junction. The latest Prohibition-era setup comes from the same owner behind the restaurant Pioneer Square Drinks & Eats. It’s a 25-seat bar hidden in an alley behind the restaurant. The drink list covers the usual staples of rum and whiskey drinks along with mixed drinks topped with sparkling wine. Bar snacks include bacon baos along with the restaurant’s signature fried chicken sandwich. You can enter through the alley or through the front door of the restaurant (the bar is behind the kitchen). Speakeasy-style bars were booming during the last craft cocktail craze, but they seemed to have found a second life during this pandemic.

Krō Bär

10116 Main St., Bothell; krobarbothell.com

In Greater Seattle, cocktail geeks are clicking obsessively on the reservation link to get into this downtown Bothell bar. Krō Bär was all booked the past two weeks, and management advises customers to make reservations online since there are only 33 seats. (Or just wait a few more weeks ’til the buzz dies down if you want to avoid a full house). Owner George Marshall, who also owns the popular The Bine Beer and Food across the street, has been planning this ambitious bar since 2018, but this pet project got delayed due to the pandemic. Now, located in an old hardware store on Main Street, the bones of this historic structure remain — from the 16-foot-high tin ceiling to the hardwood floors, all refurbished to create a vintage, turn-of-the century look to match a drink list that features some pre- and post-Prohibition-era cocktails. The booze list — at last count — hovers around 360 different gins, whiskeys and other spirits, with more bottles coming, according to management. The food — all shared plates — runs from tandoori chicken to a duck-bacon ragu.