Believe it or not, some outdoor bars aren’t always packed on a sunny evening. These lesser-known spots are worth a try.
Ed. note: Innkeeper has since closed; Jerk Shack now occupies that space. (Updated April 24, 2018)
Questions. I get all sorts of questions. But come summer, I can predict with great certainty what most of the queries in my inbox will be: Where are the patios and decks without the crowd?
Our al fresco spots are prime real estate. They require a wait. And a whole lot of patience. You’re always one large party or a rec-league gathering away from being packed in like sardines.
Where to go without the mayhem? We’ve got you covered.
Canon: Our most celebrated cocktail bar has a 25-seat patio that few know about. OK, so you don’t get to gaze at one of the world’s largest booze selections from a bar stool. But a Stiggins Daiquiri in a quiet corner, on a cool, summer evening sounds pretty good right now.
The patio is closed on Sundays and Mondays. 928 12th Ave., Seattle; canonseattle.com
Innkeeper: This bar sits a few blocks from the party-hardy section of Belltown but feels a world away from it. Sit under the trellis surrounded by lavender and vine maples. During happy hour, order a shot and a beer ($4.50) to go with the complimentary tortilla chips that are hot out of the fryer. Or shell out a few bucks for those addictive rosemary potato chips.
2510 First Ave., Seattle (206-441-7817 or innkeeperseattle.com)
Monsoon: Even on the brightest of summer days, the patio and sidewalk cafes (Tallulah’s, Ernest Loves Agnes and Monsoon) at the corner of 19th Avenue East and East Mercer Street aren’t crazy busy. And if those are packed, there’s always the rooftop bar at Monsoon, where you can sip frozen pina coladas or negroni on tap until 9:30 p.m. Or get there early. Monsoon recently started happy hour on its rooftop, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily.
615 19th Ave. E., Seattle (206-325-2111 or monsoonrestaurants.com/seattle)
Tippe and Drague Alehouse: It feels like hanging in your neighbor’s backyard. Chill under the overarching tree with a beer in hand and your Labrador retriever at your feet. This patio on Beacon Hill is dog-friendly. It’s also spacious and has one helluva craft-brew list. It’s the secret hangout for beer geeks in the South End.
3315 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle (206-538-0094 or tippeanddrague.com)
West Seattle Brewing Tap Shack: It’s not so much hidden as hidden in plain sight. This branch of the brewery is at the elbow of Marine Avenue Southwest and Alki Avenue Southwest. It’s your oasis from the spring-break vibe of El Chupacabra and Cactus nearby. With three dozen stools and chairs facing the beach, it’s the perfect place to people-watch, especially in the evenings when bonfires give Alki an amber glow, turning lovebirds into silhouettes. The siren of sunset must be alluring because the bar exit sign, “No alcoholic beverages beyond this point,” felt more like a suggestion than an edict for some patrons who had a few.