The Vibe: If you’re jonesing for a craft cocktail, you might want to look elsewhere. Sure, 9lb Hammer has a fully stocked bar, but that’s not generally what draws in its eclectic crowd. The appeal of this dive bar is its laid-back atmosphere, beer selection, and free pool and peanuts. You might even catch some live music, depending on the evening.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Browse for vinyl at Georgetown Records (1201 S. Vale Street).
After: Flip through comic books at Fantagraphics Books (1201 S. Vale Street).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Play pool at Eastlake Zoo Tavern (2301 Eastlake Avenue E.).
Summit Public House: A User’s Guide
While You Wait: Grab a stick and an opponent for a free game of pool.
Where to Sit: If the weather’s nice, head to the cozy outdoor patio. Even if its a bit nippy out, the elevated fire pit will keep you somewhat toasty. The patio is a great spot to bring your pooch, too. Though Summit welcomes dogs of all ages, they still require them to show valid ID before ordering a beer.
What’s on the Tube? Though most sports bars hew to baseball, football, and basketball, Summit’s TVs tend to be tuned to soccer and cycling. A typical crowd at Summit is pretty diverse, but big soccer and cycling events draw diehards in droves.
While You’re In the Neighborhood
Before: Work up an appetite by perusing the eclectic collection of unique Japanese-themed gifts, clothing, and local artwork at Kobo (814 E. Roy Street) After: Time travel to a simpler time by catching a classic, indie, or foreign flick at Harvard Exit Theatre (807 E. Roy at Harvard), an old-fashioned movie house built in 1925.
*If You Can’t Make It, Try This: The Redwood (514 East Howell Street), a delightfully divey bar known for its cocktails, local on-tap brews, Southern-style comfort food, and extensive vegan options.
When Blue Moon Tavern opened in 1934, it was still illegal to sell alcohol within a mile of the University of Washington campus due to local temperance laws. Luckily, Blue Moon set up shop at the 1 mile mark, and thirsty students were more than happy to make the trek. It also attracted its share of intellectual heavyweights, including poets Allen Ginsberg and Dylan Thomas. When he beatnik hangout started to decline in the 1970s, diehard fans rallied to save it, paving the way for it to receive official landmark status in 1990. The no-frills bar continues to draw students and suits alike with cash-only beer and peanuts—the shells of which blanket the floor.
The soundtrack at Blue Moon Tavern changes depending on the day. From Thursday through Monday, it’s live music, with a jazz jam kicking things off every Thursday afternoon. Wednesday brings open-mic night, and on select Mondays, bar-goers may be treated to Opera on Tap, where chamber-music singers belt out classical hits without breaking a single glass.
“Dive bar” is probably the best way to describe Blue Moon Tavern. The aging posters on the wall have been there for decades, and the initials of drunken vandals remain scratched into the wooden booths. Though this tavern isn’t a spot for fancy craft cocktails, its the perfect place for shooting the breeze with friendly a bartender, or taking part in a wacky tradition, such as the semi-blasphemous annual Christmas pageant.
Behind the bar at Leny's Place, suds from big labels and microbreweries flow from the taps amidst the jocular sounds of sports games and tunes from the jukebox. Diners can share nibbles of hot wings or fried pickles with their beers, or pick something meatier from the kitchen, including sandwiches and burgers. Wild Alaskan cod in an ale batter appears on plates of fish and chips, and a Cajun chicken sandwich boasts tender poultry marinated in a house-made chipotle sauce. Six-ounce hand-formed burgers arrive covered in thick-smoked bacon and cheddar on a bed of fries or tater tots. Patrons can sizzle brain cells when showing off their knowledge at regular trivia nights, while physical competition flourishes over two pool tables, two dartboards, and one gladiator pit.
Duchess Bar & Social Club’s exterior may be clad in burgundy, but the Ravenna dive has a heart of purple and gold. Husky students and alumni descend on Duchess hours before kickoff, transforming the expansive interior into a sea of shouting sports fans. And it’s not only Dawg devotees who show up—sometimes, it’s actual dogs. Demonstrating that allegiance to a team knows no bounds, the bar welcomes pets during off-peak hours, so long as they’re on their best behavior. Duchess’s inclusive policy has its limits, though. The moose and deer heads mounted to the walls serve as a warning that not all beasts are welcome inside.