The Leary Traveler sees itself as a local hangout—a place to play board games, get competitive during trivia, or just enjoy a beer. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that the beer was selected with sommelier-like dedication. The bar staff carefully curates its bottle selection, and they change up 6 of the 12 taps as soon as the keg runs out, making for a constant stream of new craft brews. Bartenders take equal care with the cocktails, which mix up fresh ingredients like peach purée and rosemary simple syrup.
At The Leary Traveler, “your cultural compass will go haywire,” warns the Seattle Times. And that’s not just because of all the travel-themed knickknacks. Thanks to a diverse menu of bar bites, diners can chow down on an Irish Interloper, a hearty corned-beef sandwich, tuck into a gigantic Argentinean roast-pork sandwich, or savor a plate of Mediterranean falafel. The menu also often features a special game meat, ranging from elk to kangaroo.
For its popular weekend brunch, The Leary Traveler tones down the global theme (aside from an English-style breakfast and a belgian waffle) in favor of more conventional hangover remedies. You’ll find steak and eggs, eggs benedict, and a build-your-own bloody mary bar. Thanks to the pub’s dog-friendly policy, you might even see patrons and their pups stopping in after a morning walk.
Bloody Marys are often garnished with celery, but at Sam's Tavern, the drink is garnished with something a little heartier: a mini-burger jutting from the side of the glass. Served every Sunday, the Bloody Burger—hailed by The Spectator as a "boozy masterpiece"—is a playful variation on the tavern's gourmet burger theme.
Despite its unorthodox drink and burger selections, Sam's Tavern is rooted in tradition, as it's named after 1940s Seattle restaurant that underwent several name changes before settling on its now famous moniker: Red Robin. Sam’s Tavern owner James Snyder is the son and nephew of Red Robin's founders. For the interior of his modern-day Sam's Tavern, James based as many details as he could on his father's memories of the original restaurant. A chandelier of antlers hangs above the tavern's dark-wooded main room, which stays open until 2 a.m. every day and hosts events such as weekly beer pong tournaments and biannual college debates on Cheers vs. Frasier.
The menu is packed with other inventive burgers. Buttermilk bacon ranch tops the half-beef, half-bacon patty of Sammy's 50/50 Burger, while the brie-stuffed beef of the Juicy Lucy greets taste buds with unforgettable flavor. Made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients, each burger is accompanied by bottomless helpings of fries. Bartenders also complement burgers with beer or cocktails like the Pickle Back Jack, a shot of Jameson mixed with a shot of house pickle juice brine.
Formerly a funeral home—and the site of Bruce Lee's memorial in 1973—The Pine Box takes its cheeky name in part from the building's history (it's also on the corner of Pine Street). The stained-glass windows, church-pew seating, and cathedral ceilings are carryovers from the space's previous life as The Chapel Bar, but it's since been transformed into what can only be described as a beer heaven. With about 30 brews on tap, beer-lovers make regular pilgrimages to check out the new varieties. The choices change so frequently, a paper menu can't keep up, so an LCD screen, website, and town crier are used instead. Customers overwhelmed by the selection can hit up the daily three-hour happy hour to try drinks at a discounted rate or check out tastings and other special events. Of course, the easy choice would be to drink whatever is running through the bar's built-in randall––a contraption that infuses tap brews with different ingredients such as orange peel and lemongrass or maple bacon and peanut butter chips. For those who like their suds served with something more substantial, the Pine Box also serves a contemporary dinner menu that features dishes such as pizza with pulled pork and habanero pineapple salsa or cold curry poached sockeye salmon. Come weekends, cocktails and creative eats share equal billing on a brunch menu, where favorites include mezcal bloody marys and skewers of bacon and house-pickled eggs.
When to Go: Stop by for happy hour (5 p.m. to 7 p.m. or 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.), which features $4 pints, $4.50 well drinks, and daily drink specials.
Inside Tip: In addition to plenty of vegetarian-friendly options, guests can get any sandwich and burger made with a gluten-free baguette or bun.
While You’re Waiting: Peruse the collection of HoneyHole swag, which includes T-shirts, pint glasses, beer cozies, and trucker hats.
The origins of Tim's Tavern on 105th are shrouded in mystery. Built during prohibition, the building may or may not have been a speakeasy before transforming into a straightforward bar in 1935. Though it has changed hands and sizes since then, the spot has maintained its reputation as a fun local hangout with a wide selection of whiskeys and cocktails. It hosts different events every night of the week, from trivia to bingo to open mic comedy and live music. While guests enjoy whatever the night's entertainment may be, then can also dig into comfort food favorites such as daily pulled pork sandwiches, kielbasa brats on the weekends, smoked ribs on Thursdays, and tacos on Tuesdays. These pair well with the bar's stable of ten draft beers, which always includes a cider, Bud Light, Rainier, and seven craft brews. There is also one nitro tap hiding amongst the others, so that bartenders can pour out brews that are as smooth and carbonation-free as that 20-year-old bottle of Pepsi you're aging in the cellar for a special occasion.
You can't get much further from the American South than Seattle, but don't tell that to Mike Forte. The owner of Belltown's The Lost Pelican has succeeded in creating a gastropub with a distinctly Southern vibe. The veggie jambalaya, shrimp remoulade, and crawfish-stuffed pork tenderloins are 100-percent Louisiana, as are decorative elements such as a model streetcar and several paintings of pelicans, the state's official bird.
Most of The Lost Pelican's shrimp, oysters, and crabs come directly from Louisiana's Gulf Coast, where they were caught the traditional way—in nets of tangled Mardi Gras beads. It's no wonder that chef Mark Amatangelo knows exactly what to do with his catch, seeing as how he worked on a cruise ship before joining The Lost Pelican. Amatangelo does NoLa proud by cooking up some of that city's most famous dishes, including shrimp-and-cheese grits and a zesty crawfish penne.