Seattle is a city of neighborhoods, and because of that (or perhaps causing it) a city of excellent neighborhood bars. The kind of places where they might not know your name yet, but they’ll want to learn it, where they can mix a darn good cocktail when you need it, but they also won’t judge when you sit down at 5:07 and need a double whiskey on the rocks—stat. The best neighborhood bars have enough space that you’re comfortable bringing in ten of your friends when you’re sick of them destroying your house, but you also know you’ll have a stool at the bar when you just need to cry into your beer by yourself. And nobody is paying $15 a cocktail at a neighborhood bar: you need to be able to afford more rounds when you are just a stumble away from bed.
The best part about a neighborhood bar is that it doesn’t even need to be in your own neighborhood—it can be in the neighborhood you just ate dinner in, or just finished work in, or, in the case of these three bars, maybe even just the neighborhood worth driving to for a great bar.
A nautical theme, affordable drinks, a vending machine that has pregnancy tests, what more could a bar need to offer? Well, how about a covered outdoor space for that unpredictable Seattle weather, creatively-named menu items (Popeye’s Wet Dream, anyone?), and what is essentially a dive bar for people who don’t want to wonder what they just stepped in.
Good fried pickles are neighborhood bar menu staple. Crisp outer-coating pairs perfectly with a solid evening beer (like the Balebreaker Pale ale, highly recommended), the sour crunch inside, as addictive as a package of Lay’s, and hey, there’s even a vegetable in there. Company Bar nails all of the “frickle”—and the rest of their food menu—while serving a wide ranging tap list of beer and cider. White Center is (and has been for many years) evolving rapidly, and the bar stools of Company are a comfortable, welcoming place from which to watch it all go by and to hear the stories of the locals, both newbies and old-timers.
Other than at this Central District bar, shuffleboard and something called “stoner’s delight” (tortilla chips with chili & cheddar cheese dippers) might only share the same space on a hipster’s Instagram feed. The bar feels like it’s been there forever (the old-school Ms. Pac-Man table game helps), but without feeling dated. The drinks are strong and unforgiving, but the food menu is full of updated bar classics done well, so there’s plenty of mozzarella sticks or pickled pepper burger to soak up the booze. The friendly atmosphere keeps the peace among co-workers whose happy “hour” is well into its fourth, boisterous birthday parties, and quiet drinks at the bar.