The latitude up here in Seattle brings long summer nights and short winter days. You learn to love the early darkness in the winter once you get to know the city a bit and find your toasty warm spots.
Sitting in a restaurant or bar with a crackling fireplace, glowing Christmas decorations, and a boisterous atmosphere, while watching the rain hit the windows is a wonderful feeling.
Happy hour drink specials in the warm firelight are one more benefit to early evenings. You don’t have to feel guilty about missing out on sunny summer days in exchange for drink specials, as you do during the summer months. Stay for comforting evenings on weekdays and still be home at a decent time to enjoy an early night’s sleep.
Several bars and restaurants in town not only have enticing menus, but they’re interesting places to meet old and new friends while enjoying what Seattle is famous for, handcrafted beers, cocktails and quirky conversations.
• The Polar Bar, in Pioneer Square downtown, inside the DoubleTree Hilton you will find The Polar Bar. It’s guarded by a tasteful, yet enormous, light-up polar bear in a living room setting with a warm fireplace and bartenders in white tuxedos. The ambiance is posh, and the drink prices reflect it, the building was built in the early 1900s and the vibe is a glowing blue throwback, a warm atmosphere, with wood-paneled walls, handcrafted cocktails and billiards offering a relaxed evening among friends.
• The Fireside Room, located in downtown Seattle at the Hotel Sorrento contains large, high-backed leather chairs encircling a grand green tiled fireplace with stately dog statues and a tiled garden mural. The Fireside Room is another throwback to earlier times when Seattle was a much smaller city made up of newly rich gold miners.
• The Ballroom in Fremont on a different note is a bit of a dive, but it has warm, toasty tables with firepits right in the center. A big brick fireplace is open on all sides on the patio outside if you want to brave the cold with the smokers. The Ballroom serves massive slices of pizza fueling your energy for the dance floor and you can’t go wrong with an entertaining winter evening at The Ballroom.
• Bastille Café and Bar is located in Ballard, the Bastille feels a bit like stepping into a swanky Parisian café, with heavy black wood framing, long dark beams overhead and subway tiles lining the floor. The shining glory above the bar is a massive chandelier sourced from France, creating an artistic, utilitarian masterpiece. Herbs and greens are sourced from upstairs on their beautiful heated rooftop garden providing fresh herbs and vegetables to diners year-round.
• Six Seven at the Edgewater hotel in Seattle, if you’d like a true dining experience this is the place to go. It’s not easy on the pocketbook, but it’s an evening that you will remember. Everything from the fresh, boutique menu, views of the Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains jutting out in the distance to the roaring fireplaces, Six Seven will leave you with memories of one of the best dinners of your year
• Sully’s Snowgoose Saloon, proves that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a snug cozy atmosphere, it’s a true dive bar with vintage pinball machines and guests playing dominoes and board games. Bring your dog to enjoy the fire, but it’s probably best to eat elsewhere, Sully’s isn’t known for their food.
• The Matador has two locations in Old Town Redmond and Ballard. The Matador is not your typical Mexican fare, they serve high quality, fresh, Mexican American fusion like a chile rubbed Mahi Mahi or duck carnitas tacos. It’s warm and fancy with a caged, gas firepit in the middle of the dining room, exposed brick walls line the bar around a large stained-glass window, the red ceilings and colorful pendant lighting bring a warm design to the space. A good menu and hand-crafted cocktails have made the Matador a name for itself in the area.
• Thirsty Hop is not what you would expect from a neighborhood hop house, they pride themselves on serving only small local brews. The list of beer on tap is so large that it’s shown on a screen above the bar like a flight schedule at the airport. It’s a bit offbeat serving only loaded hot dogs, but they aren’t snooty about letting you bring in food from a neighboring restaurant and even throw a biweekly potluck dinner. It has two glassed in, gas fireplaces adding ambiance and warmth.
• Bin on the Lake, located in the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland the Bin is a local favorite among Kirklanders. Watch the lights dance on Lake Washington in this warm, intimate space known for its impeccable food and a calm, relaxed atmosphere without being fussy.
• Vovina, warm colors, leather bar stools with thumbtack finishes and a glow gives Vovina a lovely atmosphere. Vovina is popular with the after-work Kirkland crowd and offers live music on Thursdays.
• Café Veloce is a cozy, low key Italian dining room, the owners use real Italian motorcycles as décor a twinkling fireplace creates an inviting family-friendly space for any occasion serving crowd-pleasing pizza and pasta.
• Berliner Pub, this local favorite containing a little table top gas fireplace to cozy up the German style pub with German beers on draft and bratwurst on the menu, the portions are big and the patrons leave happy.
No matter what your budget, there is a warm, local space for you to discover. Come out and get addicted to the draws of the Pacific Northwest.