Over the years, I have spent quite a bit of time in Seattle. My last trip was three years ago. I traveled back this week to reunite with some people I met while volunteering in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Between visiting, eating, and ferry rides, we also made it to quite a few cocktail bars. That’s the blessing and the curse of having a friend who’s a cocktail blogger. And so, I bring to you my guide for some of the best cocktails in Seattle.
- Address: 1108 Pike Street
- Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 5pm-midnight | Closed Mondays
- Hospitality: 5.0, super busy but still very friendly and attentive staff
- Atmosphere: 5.0, perfectly cozy tiki vibes all around served here
- Drinks: 5.0, delicious and inventive drinks
When I was heading for Seattle last week, several of my bartender friends recommended Inside Passage as a not to miss spot. I love advice from those who know, and was not disappointed. While I love classic tiki cocktails, I always appreciate bars that create their own spin on tropical flavors. Inside Passage’s menu is quirky and fun and the flavors are spot on. As with most tiki bars, you have to pace yourself. The bar is located at the back of Rumba (see below), so I limited my intake to just one drink.
And it was an amazing cocktail. I enjoyed the The Amazombie 2.0. It is a creative concoction of Novo Fogo Silver, Chameleon and Tanager Cachaca, acai, passion fruit, allspice, lime, and absinthe. Not only is the packaging on point (Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, if you didn’t know), the tagline is also clever, “Free same day shipping for Inside Passage guests.”
- Address: 2205 2nd Avenue
- Hours: 7 days a week, 5pm-2am
- Hospitality: 5.0, the bartender was super friendly and shared a ton of info about their gins with me
- Atmosphere: 5.0, cozy vibes that will have you feeling sunny no matter the weather outside
- Drinks: 5.0, delicious and well-balanced drinks
Although it might be a tiny bit hard to find–you’ll find the sign above in the front of the building–Bathtub Gin & Co. is worth the hunt. Once you’re back around to the courtyard of the apartment building it shares space with, just look for the door. You’ll walk up a flight of stairs to a cozy, pine bar that is built into what used to be a boiler room. It is for this reason that it’s a little hard to capture great photos, but trust me, it’s cute. In addition to the great space, the bar is full of rare and interesting gins. You can choose from cocktails on the menu, or the bartender can make something specific to your tastes. I enjoyed the “Silent Treatment” made with gin, Ancho Reyes Verde, grandeza, lime, agave, and tiki bitters.
- Address: 1112 Pike Street
- Hours: 7 days a week, 4pm-1am
- Hospitality: 4.9, solid team doing great work
- Atmosphere: 4.8, comfortable and casual vibes with the best-stocked shelves around
- Drinks: 5.0, great drinks with fun presentations
Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, you’ll find a cane-forward bar called Rumba. With more than 700 bottles of rum on-site and serving Caribbean-inspired food, you’ll find lots to love. You can order straight pours of rum, or enjoy delicious cocktails. If I had been in town longer, I would’ve asked to join their Rum Society. You can join by asking for a Rum Map and trying out 60 rums of your choosing (over multiple visits hopefully). If you complete the challenge, you receive a Rumba DTO coin and get your name on the wall. That’s my kind of challenge!
I enjoyed the Little Patch, served up in the cutest mug. It’s made with Gray Whale Gin, rum, herbal spirit, melon liqueur, yuzu, lemongrass, lime leaf and lime juice. It was delicious and refreshing. One of my friends ordered the Toucan Slam which is a blend of Appleton 8 Year, Campari, Heirloom Pineapple Amaro, Schilling Passionfruit-Pineapple Cider, and lime. The can just makes the drink for me, and it tasted good too. (If you want to turn your cans into cups, check this tool out.)
- Address: 4210 SW Admiral Way
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 4pm-2am | Tuesday-Thursday & Sundays 4pm-midnight| Closed Mondays
- Hospitality: 5.0, Tanner was super friendly and welcoming, like you were going to a friend’s house
- Atmosphere: 4.9, beautiful space with plenty of room and a cozy loft
- Drinks: 4.9, solid and fun twists on classics, along with modern creations
Open for just three months, Otter on the Rocks is a great addition to West Seattle. In addition to great cocktails and flatbreads, they also host musicians and comedians. Tanner, the creator of the concept, was born and raised in Bangkok until he moved to Seattle at the age of 12. Not only does he head up the bar, but he also creates delicious recipes inspired by Asian flavors. I’m looking forward to watching this bar grow. Get there and say hi!
So many tasty drinks to choose from here. I enjoyed these libations:
- Otter Old Fashioned: Rye, house caramelized sugar syrup, angostura & orange bitters, orange twist, toasted marshmallow
- Last Flight to Bangkok: Thai chili-infused tequila, mezcal, orange liqueur, mango lime shrub, lime
- Oaxacan Seoul: Amaro Lucano, mezcal, pineapple, lime, sesame oil float
5. Deep Dive
- Address: 620 Lenora Street
- Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 4-11pm | Sunday-Wednesday, 4-10pm
- Hospitality: 4.8, busy staff but they gave solid recommendations on food and drink
- Atmosphere: 5.0, lovely space with a variety of comfortable seating
- Drinks: 4.9, really great drinks with a nice menu and spirit selection
At the base of the Seattle Spheres, you can eat and drink inside of a Curtis Steiner art installation turned cocktail lounge. The vibes are dark and swanky, and there’s plenty to see as you sip. Deep Dive takes its inspiration from stylish hotel bars around the world. And they’ve done it right. The food and drinks are delicious. It’s a lively after work locale for a drink with colleagues that transitions into a great date spot a little later in the night. You’ll want to make a reservation in advance as the line starts to form promptly before they open at 4pm each day. If you want to make a full outing of it, the Spheres are open to the public two Saturdays a month with reservations.
The first cocktail I had was the Duc Duc Gooseberry. It’s a combination of kiwi-infused gin, ginger, mint, lemon, habanero, Angostura, and egg white. My second drink was the Smoking Mirror which is made with Overproof Rye, Zucca Rabarbaro, Ancho, Creme D’cacao, and chocolate bitters. It is easily one of the best cocktails in Seattle. So rich and flavorful.
- Address: 300 East Pike Street
- Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 6pm-midnight | Closed Sunday-Monday
- Hospitality: 4.8, quick and efficient service
- Atmosphere: 4.9, dark and sultry space
- Drinks: 4.9, great drinks with unique flavors and house-infused spirits
Although it was a quick visit, Foreign National made me one of the best cocktails I had in Seattle. They also served delicious food. (I had some incredible mushroom spring rolls.) You’ll want to get there early as they don’t take reservations and the space is small. I enjoyed their signature drink, the Foreign National Cocktail. It’s made with Pisco Caravedo Quebranta, Amaro Montenegro, sour orange, neroli, bergamot, and honey. Run, don’t walk, to check this spot out.
- Address: 1631 East Olive Way
- Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 4pm-1am | Closed Mondays
- Hospitality: 5.0, great service and fun conversations with the staff
- Atmosphere: 4.9, sleek and stylish space with a fun, themed bathroom
- Drinks: 4.7, serving up solid drinks that are all stirred
Speaking of tiny bars, The Doctor’s Office might be one of the smallest I’ve ever been to. I also love how nondescript it is from the outside. We totally walked past it the first time. Once inside, you’ll be instantly transported to a calm, sleek bar where the Doctor is in. (Sorry, I had to!) You can order cocktails off their menu or tell the bartenders what you’re feeling like. They’ll take that and make you something to cure what ails you. I went with a group of friends and we did both. I enjoyed the “Love in the Time of Covid.” It’s made with Toki Japanese whisky, Lillet, Giffard Apricot, and Menthe de Pastille. Delicious!
8. The Alley
- Address: 4509 California Avenue SW
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 4pm-2am | Sunday-Thursday, 4pm-midnight
- Hospitality: 4.8, friendly bartender running the place solo
- Atmosphere: 4.6, eclectic space with a retro vibe
- Drinks: 4.6, nice, classic cocktails
Speaking of hidden bars, The Alley is a real treat. I couldn’t even help myself from capturing the entrance reveal via video. (Don’t watch if you want to save the surprise.) Once you find your way in, you’ll find a hip space that will make you feel like you’re in a swanky converted warehouse. They serve up many classic cocktails. I had a great New York Sour. Also pictured is a Lemon Drop and a Cosmopolitan.
9. The Nook
- Address: 2206 California Avenue SW
- Hours: Friday-Saturday, 4pm-2am | Tuesday-Thursday & Sunday, 4pm-midnight | Closed Mondays
- Hospitality: 4.7, bustling bar with busy staff
- Atmosphere: 4.7, cozy and laid back, rustic vibes
- Drinks: 4.9. delicious cocktails in great vintage glassware
Tucked away in West Seattle, you’ll find The Nook, a rustic two-story bar serving craft cocktails made with house-made infusions. You can grab a seat on the patio, the bar, upstairs, or at a table inside. Once seated, it’s time to choose from an impressive printed menu, or select something off the specials board. It’s a great neighborhood bar that is clearly a local staple. They’re open late so stop on by! I had a delicious cocktail there called “Red Sky in Mexico.” It’s made with mezcal, creme de cassis, lime, orange bitters, and is hickory smoked.
Thanks for coming along for my picks for some of the best cocktails in Seattle. If you’re looking for other great city guides, check these out.