Fremont Brewing Company has all the markings of a big-time brewing operation, but with smaller accents that make the place seem approachable. Just a little bit rustic, with big, wooden communal trestle tables and comfortable chairs in the adjoining taproom, Fremont also holds lots of industrial stainless steel vats and barrels inside their outsized concrete blue building. Seasonal brews on tap help to quaff the thirst of local craft beer fans, and a suppertime urban beer garden routinely fills up on sunny days. Pints are available to enjoy while on the premises, and growlers to go keep the regulars coming back. Each of the brewery’s small-batch artisan beers are made with local ingredients, and range from a handsome India Pale Ale to stouts, porters and assorted ales. The fact that the place is both kid- and dog-friendly also tells you a lot about the business.
Voted Best Tasting Room in the West by Sunset magazine, The Tasting Room works hard to dazzle palates both rookie and oenophile with the best Washington wines, as well as with hard-to-find vintages, limited editions, and artisan varietals. Tastes typically range between $2 and $6 an ounce, with full glasses starting at $4, and showcase pours from Wilridge Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, and other local purveyors. Indecisive imbibers, meanwhile, can take the stress out of decision-making by choosing a wine flight ($5–$15), a simpler and less terrifying alternative to the wine skydive.
Years before opening Smash Wine Bar & Bistro, Dana Hannon worked behind the scenes, piecing together a vision of perfect portions and wine pairings. In the country-style bistro, Dana's vision now unfurls atop each intimate table and booth. More than 45 different wine selections keep glasses brimming with flavors from grape-bearing countries ranging from France and Italy to Argentina and Narnia. Smash arranges them into 10 different wine flights that play nicely with cheese flights, which feature artisan breads, local honey, and fresh fruits alongside names like "Big Blues," "The Sheep Stands," "Grab Your Goat," and "French Connection." The menu also features several well-portioned specialties such as yukon gold tots with lemon-chive crème fraiche, fig flatbread with Oregon blue cheese, and duck-and-shiitake spring rolls.
Before it became a hotspot for wine enthusiasts, In The Red Wine Bar's space sheltered a Hansen Lamp & Shade starting in 1937. Its nostalgia-tinged decor—mix-matched wares and antique furniture—carries the tradition first set by the furniture store and complements the aging red, white, and sparkling wines that rotate through the menu on a regular basis. Local and independent craft beers round out the beverage supply, and the bar's edibles include bacon-wrapped dates and four types of mac 'n' cheese, all made with local, sustainable ingredients. Along with stocking a wealth of varietals, the bar's staff dispenses wine knowledge during classes with topics ranging from the fundamentals of tasting to tips for pairing wine with the appropriate horror flick.
Though microbrewers celebrate limited flavor runs and regional ingredients, they still need much of the same equipment as the big brewers to concoct their craft beers. That's where The Cellar Homebrew comes in, outfitting winemakers, brewers, and cidersmiths with the equipment and ingredients needed to make their drinks. The store's owners––who boast more than 30 years of experience and a past line of fine wines––collect organic ingredients such as hops and yeast and sell them alongside fermentation equipment, keg systems, and cleaning supplies. They even offer one-hour on-location classes to instruct people in the basics of beer brewing. In addition to supplying items for alcoholic beverages, they also hawk basic supplies for cheese-, soda-, and vinegar-making, all of which go well over lettuce.
Northwestern ingredients swim through Acquabar Bistro and Lounge's menu of homestyle American fare and seafood entrees, and fresh fruit and herbs infuse the bar's list of inventive cocktails. On weekdays, Acquabar's adjacent café specializes in casual lunches such as toasty grilled paninis and espresso with coffee beans from Caffe D'arte, and the restaurant's bistro and lounge invites dinner diners to luxuriate amid modern hardwood décor and feast on regional American entrees including Cajun catfish and po boys crafted from local oysters. Owner and experienced restaurateur David Leong, who was once profiled in Seattle Weekly, also attracts late-night revelers with live music, DJs, and sultry mermaid vocalists.