Shoes, clothes, and speed-inducing accessories line the walls at West Seattle Runner, where friendly running enthusiasts help each customer enhance their run. After a fitting, feet stride comfortably in Asics, Saucony, and Mizuno shoes or settle in to the snug hug of new Superfeet insoles. Apparel from Moving Comfort and Oiselle wicks sweat away, and snacks by Clif, Nuun, and GU ensure that athletes have the energy to go on producing more. In addition to peddling their fleet-footed wares, staffers also encourage a robust running community, leading group runs every Wednesday and Sunday.
For a quarter century, Stu Hennessey and his staff have sold snowboards and tuned-up mountain bikes for off-road jaunts at Alki Bike and Board. Today, the shop proliferates an eco-friendly, sustainable, and fun attitude toward transportation with bicycles and boards for sale and a well-kept fleet of bikes for rent. The shop’s rentals give visitors easy access to the city’s bounty of lush scenery and historic sites, and optional tours come with all the supplies necessary to take guided trips through surrounding terrain without having to use the creases on your palm as a road map.
West Seattle Fabric Company's sewing emporium extends to the new Stitch and Sew Studio, which is located down the street from the fabric store. Within this creative haven, guests are encouraged to flex their imagination with the studio's collection of easy-to-use sewing machines and ample work surfaces. In the bright, open studio, instructors teach patrons of all skill levels—during classes, events, and parties—sewing and quilting tips and tricks. From alteration lessons to quilt binding and mending, new Stich and Sew Studio provides clear and simple instruction in a friendly and casual atmosphere. And during open sewing sessions and sewing classes, staff members dispense pro tips as students harness the studio's patterns and tools to whip up pillow shams, dresses, and curtains to shade their stuffed animal cloning lab.
With a mastery of acrylics and a particular passion for both natural and urban settings, Painting on the Vine owner Stani Meredith creates her own inimitable magnum opuses and encourages her students to do the same, regardless of their artistic skills. She strives to establish an atmosphere of fun and relaxation, in which her pupils can unleash their creativity while painting sweeping portraits of multihued birds, lush blooms, or how the boss’s house would look covered in toilet paper and justice. Along with the help of local artists, Stani lends her expertise during corporate events or private parties.
Beer Junction is a hybrid pub and beer retailer that boasts more than 35 refrigerators full of brews, as well as hard ciders by the bottle or six-pack, growlers to go, beer steins and various other accessories. Beer geeks who find a favorite bottle in the fridges can drink it onsite for a small corkage fee, and a rotating events calendar features guest brewers or themed tastings representing multiple different breweries. Beyond the bottles, Beer Junction sports several taps of locally made craft beer, as well as a few wines by the glass. If you’re hungry, Beer Junction sells munchies like nuts and popcorn, but focuses its expertise on beverages rather than food. Patrons with bigger appetites are encouraged to order in from the handful of local sandwich and pizza joints that deliver or offer nearby pickup, or bring in their own food.
By day, staffers decant 70 premium teas at La Romanza Bistro Italiano's afternoon tea service, which pairs pours with venetian finger sandwiches and in-house baked goods topped with flourishes such as edible glitter. Lunches and weekend brunches last until nightfall, at which point the bistro transforms into an intimate eatery for cocktails and cuisine inspired by rustic Tuscany flavors. Chefs whip up abundant appetizers and salads, handmade pastas, and entrees accompanied by house-baked bread. Gluten-free options accompany each course.
To complement each bite, the staff pours house-crafted cocktails infused with specialty tea as well as wines by the glass, imported from Italy—a country that knows as much about wine as Einstein knew about having eccentric hair. To celebrate the weekend's arrival, local jazz pianist Loren Temkin and bassist Dune Buter entertain diners every Friday and Saturday night with their interpretations of classic compositions.