Clever Bottle's mixologists and charcuterie chefs source local gourmet ingredients from Pike Place Market for a menu of appetizers, libations, and desserts. Crafted in-house, a selection of bitters house-made with bluebell flowers, chocolate, and the personality of sunshine adds spice to the ever-shifting menu of cocktails. The wine list, which is made up of 98% Seattle varietals, serves as a flavorful guide to the many local wineries that populate it. Abundant candlelight sets a romantic tone for quiet dates or proposals that involve serenading a sweetheart with a champagne flute.
The Booze: Sun Liquor has the unique distinction of being part bar, part restaurant, and part distillery. The latter is the domain of head distiller Erik Chapman, who worked with founder Michael Klebeck to come up with their own distilling processes for gin and vodka. In 2011, they debuted their signature creation, the Hedge Trimmer gin, which they make with nine fresh and dried botanicals. Other award-winning vodkas and gins followed soon after.
The Pour: Bartenders take the distillery’s liquor and combine it with fresh-squeezed juices and housemade bitters. They focus mainly on signature cocktails, though they also pour a selection of craft beers, including Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout.
When to Go: Stop by on the weekend, when the restaurant serves brunch items such as housemade country-style biscuits and gravy.
Vocab Lesson Grenadine: a common bar syrup characterized by its deep red color and sweet and tart flavors. It’s traditionally made with pomegranate juice and sugar.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Peruse local artwork, or adorn your body with some at True Love Art Gallery (1525 Summit Avenue), which also houses cutting-edge tattoo artists.
After: Buy a unique board game or card set at Gamma Ray Games (411 E. Pine Street), which is open late, for post-drink reverly at your apartment.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Sun Liquor Lounge (607 Summit Avenue), which features the cocktails, but not the food.
Where to Sit: May’s 100-year-old teak house, brought over from Thailand and lovingly reassembled, features a formal upstairs dining area. The romantic space showcases imported redwood furniture and a picture of the Thai royal family. Downstairs, you’ll find a more casual lounge space that’s no less regal, dotted with Thai decor and red and gold accents.
When to Go: May rolls out a truncated lunch menu, but the kitchen serves the full dinner menu well past midnight—the lounge itself closes at 2 a.m. each night.
While You’re Waiting
Galangal root: resembling ginger in appearance and flavor, though with a much stronger taste.
Tom yum: a hot-and-sour soup typically starring shrimp. Seasonings include lemongrass, kaffir lime, fish sauce, and chilies.
The Press: Seattle Weekly not only hailed Ocho as home to 2011's best tapas and small plates, but also where bartenders "pour some of the finest cocktails in town."
What to Drink: Specialty libations such as the Donkey's Tongue, a blend of chili-infused tequila, cucumber, pomegranate liqueur, and lemon. Along with exotic cocktails every Monday, the bar stocks plenty of Spanish wines, as well as draft, bottled, and canned beers.
When to Go: The bar's daily happy hours (Monday–Friday from 4–6 p.m., Saturday–Sunday from noon–6 p.m., Sunday–Thursday from 11 p.m.–midnight) include a $2 food menu and $2 off house cocktails.
Inside Tip: Show up early. The cozy eatery only has about 30 seats and doesn't take reservations, though they do keep a waitlist on especially busy nights.
Croquettes: breaded and fried Spanish fritters, most commonly stuffed with ham but also available in meat, seafood, and veggie varieties.
Serrano: dried, salted pieces of pork that cure for up to 18 months in mountainous regions.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: The Noble Fir (5316 Ballard Avenue), which also specializes in a curated menu of small plates. Two things to keep in mind, though: they focus on French flavors rather than Spanish ones, and only welcome patrons who are 21 years or older.
Depending on whom you ask, the bar at Hattie's Hat was either hand carved in France, shipped around Cape Horn, or crafted by Chicago's Brunswick Company. Regardless of its origin, the imposing wood structure has been supporting elbows and pints for more than a century. Modern visitors make frequent pilgrimages to the eatery for country-style brunch fare and strong, spicy bloody marys. Diners also descend on billowy buttermilk biscuits swimming in gravy, hearty breakfast scrambles, and grownup grilled cheeses made with tomatoes, grilled onions, and Tillamook cheddar.
Above the booths near the door, a Fred Oldfield mural from the 1950s depicts a serene Scandinavian landscape, conjuring thoughts of majestic fjords and Vikings playing hopscotch with Care Bears. Bustling barkeeps help patrons wake up with Tony's organic coffee and signature bloody marys infused with rosemary vodka, Vida mezcal, or aquavit.
Keywords: Classic Italian Cuisine | Pacific Northwest and Italian Wines | Romantic Ambiance | Pike Place Market Location
Where You’ll Find It: Il Bistro is housed on the lower levels of Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market.
Awards and Accolades
Bolognese: an Italian meat sauce, typically made from onion, celery, carrots, wine, tomatoes, and meat, such as beef or pork.
Panna cotta: a silky, custard-like Italian dessert, made with cream, milk, sugar, and gelatin and often served with caramel, chocolate sauce, or fruit coulis.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Inhale the aromas of imported spices, herbs, and teas at World Spice Merchants (1509 Western Avenue).
After: Sample unique craft cocktails at Zig Zag Café (1501 Western Avenue).