Free Chinese food?! As if we needed any more excuses to get out of the house on Christmas Day.
We’ve got the lowdown on which bar is offering free Chinese food on Christmas and how to get the best eggnog in the city without the long lines. Here’s my list of the 10 best places to drink on Christmas Day. (Or as one reader asked, “Where’s the best place to drink to get away from my crazy in-laws?”)
Central Tavern: This dive usually draws patrons around Kirkland. But come Christmas, folks across the Eastside hang here. It’s expected to be more low key than a crazy Friday night. Opens at 7 p.m.; 124 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland (425-827-0808 or centralclubkirkland.com)
Ballard Smoke Shop: Because apparently it’s never too early to start drinking, this watering hole opens at 6 a.m. The usual prime-rib special usually sells out by 7 p.m., but the kitchen promises to make more this year. 5439 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle (206-784-6611 or ballardsmokeshop.com)
The Neighbor Lady: The good folks behind this Central District gem will offer a free Chinese buffet, first-come, first-served. Doors open at 6 p.m., 2308 E. Union St., Seattle (206-695-2072 or facebook.com/theneighborlady)
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Zig Zag Cafe: It’s likely to be one of the busiest bars on Christmas. If you want to avoid the crowd, don’t come at 7 p.m. when there’s already a line at the door. Also avoid the late-night rush from the service-industry workers who get off work around midnight. 1501 Western Ave., Seattle (206-625-1146 or zigzagseattle.com)
The George and Dragon Pub: The famous soccer bar will be the place to be in Fremont. The pub likely will not serve food this year unlike past Christmases. Doors open at 6 p.m. 206 N. 36th St., Seattle (206-545-6864 or georgeanddragonpub.com)
Sun Liquor Lounge: There will be lines for the famous aged eggnog at both Sun Liquor locations when the doors open at 7 p.m. But this is not like the old days when the eggnog sold out within an hour. Go anytime after 9 p.m. to avoid the madness; they think they made enough to last at least five hours. And Sun Liquor Lounge, with more of a living-room coziness, is the better of the two bars for hanging out. Sun Liquor Lounge, 607 Summit Ave. E., or Sun Liquor Distillery, 512 E Pike St., Seattle (sunliquor.com)
King’s Hardware: More bars will be open on Capitol Hill than in Ballard on Christmas Day. Luckily, this Ballard bar, including its heated patio (capacity at least 175), is big enough to take in this barhopping community if need be. This Derschang Group dive will offer the full menu, unlike most bars, which are short-handed during the holidays. Doors open at 7 p.m.; 5225 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle (206-782-0027 or kingsballard.com)
Big Mario’s: Both pizza-by-the-slice counters will open at 9 p.m. with some special pies planned. But this is more to state the case that “Die Hard” really is the best Christmas movie ever. The Bruce Willis classic will be shown at both branches of Big Mario’s all night. On Capitol Hill, 1009 Pike St. (206-922-3875) and on Queen Anne, 815 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle (206-453-5841 or bigmariosnypizza.com)
Tini Bigs: The bar, which has opened every day since 1996, may be down to its last Christmas hurrah. (The bar is closing in February to make way for a mixed-used development, though the owner is keeping his fingers crossed he can find another space to relocate.) Pizza will be served, and karaoke starts at 9 p.m. next door at Hula Hula. 100 Denny Way, Seattle (206-284-0931 or tinibigs.com)
Liberty: Cozy couches. Great whiskey selection. This cocktail bar is the best place to spend Christmas on Capitol Hill — more the around-the-corner-apartment dweller-kinda crowd instead of the amateur-night vibe. Doors open at 4 p.m.; 517 15th Ave. E., Seattle (206-323-9898 or libertybars.com)