A tall glass of wine, a sizzling plate of food, and a serene room can make for an exquisite meal. The team behind Chantanee Thai Restaurant & Bar know that well, and for almost 20 they have brought their refined Thai staples and chill service to the downtown Bellevue community. Duck dishes arrive wok-crisped and glazed with rich garlic sauce or slow-cooked in a fragrant combination of coriander and five-spice powder. Platters of stir-fried vegetables and cashews get a kick from housemade chili paste, which can be used to make any dish spicier or just more red if you happen to love the color.
On one wall, a large Thai-inspired art piece gleams gold over the room and a circular booth with lime green cushions pops amid earth-tone chairs and blonde wooden tables. In another artistic play, a row of stout wooden planks hangs from the ceiling, visually separating the dining room from the nearby lounge area. There, a curving bar winds the length of the room and bartenders mix up complex drinks, pour absinthe, or set their signature Blue Blazer drink on fire.
Paddy Coyne's shares its name with a sister pub on the west coast of Ireland, but patrons don't need to compare menus to be assured of the bar's Irish bona fides: the menu boasts corned beef with cabbage, fish 'n' chips, and traditional soda bread. Along with the classic eats, patrons can enjoy freshly pulled pints and engage their brains in trivia nights, where participants can win prizes.
Bar Code's resident mixologist, Evan Martin, has earned his fair share of drink-making accolades. Behind the bar, he fashions craft cocktails, such as the la diabla--a refreshing blend of lime-infused ginger beer, strawberry-tinged tequila, and creme de cassis--and the vodka-based usual suspect infused with lavender bitters. The drinks are a big draw, but locals also flock to Bar Code because of its twist on pub eats. White cheddar and applewood-smoked bacon flavor the mac and cheese and flatbread pizzas come topped with meatballs and jalapenos. Other eats include cheeseburger flights, caprese melts with fresh mozzarella, and weekend brunch. Free underground parking is also available.
It took almost 30 years of friendship before Joe Vilardi and Michel Fredj joined forces at Bis on Main. The pair has since made up for lost time, curating a list of 300 American and French wines and publishing a cookbook packed with recipes for contemporary Northwest cuisine.
To Drink: Alongside local draught beers from Washington and Oregon brewers such as Odin’s Gift, tenders pour out spirit flights, including the Cooley Distillery Collection with Greenore 8 year, Connemara 12 year, and Tyroconnel single-malt Irish whiskey. In the mixology department, artisans whip up potions such as Liam's Libation: Jameson, banana, spiced syrup, lemon, and bitters.
When to Go: * Saturday and Sunday during brunch, when they serve up boxty, a pancake of potatoes and scallions popular in the north Midlands.
Where to Sit: Grab a sturdy wooden table near the towering stacked-stone fireplace, or belly up to the bar on a cherry-stained stool to admire the dozens of Irish whiskeys and scotches.
While You Wait
If You Can’t Make It, Try This:
If you don’t mind forgoing the food and hopping right into the revelry, head to Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Avenue NW), an Irish-style watering hole that marries exposed brick walls, chandeliers, and live music.
What to Drink: The bar’s 19 rotating taps feature beers from local favorites and microbrewers around the country. Bartenders also pour selections from an impressive collection of more than 30 scotches.
When to Go
Inside Tip: Barking Dog Alehouse takes its family-friendly vibe seriously, offering a special kids’ menu packed with chicken tenders, burgers, and miniature ice cream sundaes.