Although Hunan Palace embraces the recipes of its namesake region, the chefs also draw inspiration from other culinary traditions throughout China to create their menu. This liberal adoption of inspiration can lead to dishes such as shrimp saut?ed in spicy Szechuan-style sauce appearing on diners' tables alongside mongolian beef with hot peppers and a bed of crispy noodles. As further proof of their dedication to traditional Chinese flavors, the chefs also glaze crispy whole fish with spicy, Hunan-style sauce and roast entire peking ducks, which can be shared by the table.
A handful of tables line the floor of Hunan Palace's carpeted dining room, providing each guest views out the restaurant's plate-glass windows. Small lamps cast a gentle glow throughout the space. Spirits become livelier on Friday and Saturday nights when guests can stop in for karaoke and enjoy a drink from the bar while waiting for a chance to belt their favorite power ballad or deliver their favorite William Jennings Bryan speech.
After lauding the bar’s mellifluous pairing of “tasty fried chicken” and beer, Seattle Weekly lovingly describes Marco Polo Bar and Grill as “a working stiff's haunt” with “a schizophrenic interior that features a fireplace, pull tabs, pool tables, [and] multiple TV screens.” If not tuned to trivia, those 14 flat screens broadcast all manner of sporting events, drawing upon a premium satellite package powered by the metal plate in Mike Ditka’s head. Cheering sections holler through mouthfuls of breaded gizzards, a local favorite that preludes the menu’s panoply of handheld eats, such as the Coug Supreme, a third-pound burger topped with grilled ham and Cougar Gold cheese. Happy-hour specials during the week allow blue- and white-collar imbibers to divvy up which songs they’ll sing at karaoke that Friday and Saturday, when Marco Polo’s convivial eatery transforms into a who’s who of Steve Perry impersonators.
Behind the muraled storefront that sits on a busy Seattle arterial street, Waterwheel Lounge’s paneled and dark bar harkens back to the 1970s. Bucket-seated pleather stools, an abundance of neon, the big TV in the corner and a lone pool table provide all the ambiance one could wish for. There’s plenty of beer on tap, but bottles and cans of Rainier, PBR, shots of Jägermeister, and a mix of nightly events including karaoke, pub trivia, and live music are the real draw to this unabashed dive bar – as is the outdoor seating area during summer. The menu offers pub fare – fries or tots, burgers and sandwiches, wings, nachos, the occasional taco – and on weekends, Waterwheel brings forth a brunch menu featuring chicken-fried steak, French toast, biscuits and gravy and scrambles.
Hula Hula claims its got the world’s best karaoke food, and with one look at the menu, you’d be hard-pressed to argue. Most of its items are shareable and easy to nosh on between songs, from plates of spanish steamed clams to flatbread pizzas or red-bean quesadillas. A small menu of sandwiches includes a hamburger and grilled chicken, and every Wednesday night, the special is fried chicken. Best of all, the kitchen uses sustainable meats, seafood, and produce from small local farms.
There’s a theme here, and it’s tropical. The cocktail menu spotlights fruit juices and traditional tropical liqueurs in cocktails that are sure to inspire a few beach-vacation daydreams, from classics like the Mai Tai to signature drinks like the Hina Hula, which mixes Finlandia vodka, pineapple juice, and Chambord. Bartenders whip up more liquid karaoke courage in the form of Zombie Bowls and shots, such as the Fire Dancer, made with Fire Eater whiskey and fresh apple juice.
Every night at 9 p.m., customers give back by becoming the bar’s entertainment. Against the tiki-style backdrop of bamboo and images of hula girls, anyone is invited up to the stage to croon. The staff even helpfully provides performance tips.
Watching the game at Mac's Triangle Pub is a bit different than watching it at other bars. That's because kitchen staffers pride themselves on creating unique dishes that cater to their customers' favorite flavors. After touchdowns, diners celebrate not only by clinking beers, but also by downing artisan Jell-O shots. When grabbing something to eat, they can order classics such as cod and chips or opt for something a bit more unusual such as a burger served with a side of dunkable au jus. This same creativity extends into the morning hours, when chefs whip up inventive breakfast items such as taco omelets and hash browns stuffed with bacon and cheese. During the evening hours, live bands, karaoke, and cocktails create a vibe that's great for socializing, much like a dinner party where everyone's name is Tell Me About Yourself.
Atlantic Crossing is a typical British pub, offering plenty of old culinary standbys and brews from both Britain and America. There’s also a full bar, with which to wash down the latest Seattle Sounders soccer game, plus a full weekend brunch menu to accompany viewings of the English Premiere League’s morning-hours matches. But even when soccer balls aren’t flying on the big screen, this cozy neighborhood hangout, with its dark wooden bar, offers a pleasant place to sip Irish whiskey or belly up over a plate of Guinness beef stew, shepherd’s pie and other classic pub fare. A sometimes lively crowd can also snack on American treats like chicken wings, pizzas and burgers, then wile away the between-match hours with some pool from one of the nearby tables.