Since 1996, Duck Island Ale House has been a haven for beer lovers. Before you cozy up to one of the cushy car seats at the bar, imbibe a few facts about this neighborhood pub.
Guests might get the cold shoulder at Knee High Stocking Co. when they first enter the non-descript front door of the Prohibition-themed bar. It's not because the host is unfriendly but rather playing the part of a speakeasy worker, as highlighted by The Seattle Times in 2010. Once inside, the cold shoulder quickly dissipates into warm welcomes as guest cozy into the dimly lit bar where revelers sip on cocktails of yesteryear. Donning Prohibition-inspired duds, mixologists handcraft these complex toddies, from the pink lady infused with apple brandy to the hard-hitting Mayme Taylor blend from scotch and ginger beer. And in the kitchen, chefs put a creative twist on simple bar fare, such as pairing tater tots with coriander ketchup, pizzas with walnut pesto, and lamb burgers with wood barrels full of beer. Even though Knee High Stocking Co. prides it self on being all about the past, the bar is quite modernized, taking reservations by text-message only, as mentioned by Eater Seattle.
Crab spring rolls. Thai curry penne. Grilled beef tenderloin. At the heart of this cuisine is executive chef Alvin Binuya, a man who has been profiled in and whose recipes have been featured in Seattle Dining!.
Binuya has been immersed in the world of food since he was just a boy, when he would use his parents' kitchen as a culinary laboratory to forge new flavors and antidotes for stale gingerbread men. He went on to hone his skills in culinary school and numerous restaurants before settling at Ponti Seafood Grill. Drawing from this expertise and using locally sourced ingredients, the chef fuses pan-Asian, European, and Pacific Northwest influences to create signature dishes such as grilled wild king salmon.
Ponti's dining spaces echo the villas of Tuscany. Warm colors and window-lined walls surround the restaurant's visitors as they sip selections from an award-winning wine list. Elsewhere, four private dining rooms give scenic views of the giant tarter-sauce bottles that float through Seattle's Ship Canal.
Though it's walking distance from both Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, The Hawk's Nest makes the decision between facing the crowds at the stadium and staying indoors to watch the game with a beer and a burger a challenging one. The Seahawks, Sounders, and Mariners mecca, though lined with team paraphernalia and TVs displaying NFL Sunday Ticket, serves a more upscale spread than you might find at other sports bars. Chefs charbroil Misty Isle natural beef burgers with unique ingredients such as brie, peanut butter, and pineapple, and plate gourmet entrees of steamed clams and portabello goat-cheese sandwiches. Even the beer list is elevated—local microbrews and a rotating IPA populate the taps, though sports fans can always order up a bucket of Bud, Coors, or Miller bottles to accompany hollered insults at the TV's tiny referees. The bar is also a proud advocate for Ronald McDonald House and the Mittens For The Masses charity.
Rather than relying on microwave ovens, heat lamps, and deep fryers, chef Kathy Christopher and her culinary team craft all of Hilltop Ale House's pub favorites right on the grill. Cooks create each item on her weekly menu entirely by hand, roasting cashews dusted with curry spices and stacking Reuben sandwiches with Boar's Head corned beef braised in Blackthorn hard cider. Meanwhile, barkeeps work the taps, helping wash down meals with a selection of wine, ports, bubbly, spirits, and more than 15 microbrews including a rotating selection of handcrafted suds from small, local breweries and cask-conditioned beers in kegs powered by hand-pulled engines that use no CO2. A 55-inch high-definition LCD television bathes diners in the light of major-league matchups, while the English-style pub's back room–adorned with French doors and windows looking out over a garden–sets the stage for special lunches, dinners, and paintball matches.
"Growing up, I spent a lot of time over in the Blue Mountain," The Blu Grouse owner Diana Lane told Seattle magazine. "My father use [sic] to hunt up on Grouse Flats, where his ashes are now. Blu Grouse stems from that."
In the renovated Georgetown house that previously held Tiger Lounge, Lane and her chefs enhance healthful meals built on quinoa or fresh vegetables with indulgent touches of honey-walnut mayonnaise or rosemary-lemon butter. Flatbreads come topped with traditional Italian ingredients as well as more creative flavor combinations—such as the mozzarella, fresh mint, peanut sauce, zucchini, shredded carrots, and bean sprouts that crown the thai option. The spot's outdoor fire pit creates an ideal setting for roasting cotton balls for s'mores, as well as for enjoying specialty cocktails such as a blood-orange old fashioned with Maker's Mark.