Past the frame of Copper Gate’s 66-year-old front door and behind its Viking-ship-shaped bar, a mixologist is busy flavoring glasses of aquavit. Overhead, scantily clad ladies survey the scene, frozen in salacious poses snapped decades ago. Nordic and pinup cultures co-exist in equal measure at Copper Gate, where servers deliver meatballs and pickled herring amid boudoir paintings and trinkets from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. A menu of innovative cocktails confounds the tongue only as far as pronunciation goes. Once the cucumber, aquavit, and lemon of a Stor Agurk hit taste receptors, everyday worries dissolve away like a slug on a horse’s salt lick.
Copper Gate first opened in 1946, and its current owners are marking this year’s 66th anniversary with a month-long celebration throughout October. Most live shows are free during the anniversary month, including no-cover jazz events and a birthday tribute to legendary jazz pianist and amateur fire-eater Thelonious Monk. Other events include monthly comedy and open mic nights, as well as service industry night every Monday.
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.
The Scarlet Tree teems with energy. A live rhythm and blues band jams on the raised stage in the evenings, invigorating a crowd that noshes on eclectic small plates and sips local craft beers streaming from 12 taps. It took owner Pete Kolytiris four years to rebuild The Scarlet Tree to this former glory following a fire at the original site in 2005, and since then, Pete has revived the lounge—originally opened more than 50 years ago—filling it with live music, smooth cocktails, and reliable food.
Pete upholds The Scarlet Tree’s time-honored and ever-popular brunch menu by slinging staples such as eggs benedict and cubed house potatoes, along with freshly baked scones and corned beef hash. As the sun begins to sink, servers swap out eggs for ahi tacos and signature burgers topped with truffle pesto. DJs and live musicians drive the nightly line up, supplying soul, jazz, and even karaoke hits as patrons settle in for a night of drinks and relaxed entertainment.
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.
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