At El Norte Lounge, some things change, and some things stay the same. Holding down the fort is a coolly festive atmosphere, a fresh Latin menu, and an inventive assortment of cocktails. But practically every night between Wednesday and Saturday guarantees a different type of live performance?and with it, its own distinct mood or theme. Between bites of shrimp empanadas, crab quesadillas, and guacamole-smothered tacos, you might peruse the lounge's diverse schedule. Thursdays mean karaoke. Other nights host everything from '80s New Wave dance parties to acoustic rock to Cinco de Mayo?inspired retrospectives of Mexican tunes. Every full moon means Goth Night, which might spotlight industrial music, burlesque performances, or DJ sets from local ravens. Listeners, dancers, and eaters populate the inside of the lounge as well as the outdoor area, which includes both a patio and a deck.
There’s no way to be bored at Cooper’s Alehouse. From the seven televisions broadcasting sports to pool, darts, and a jukebox, the pub has all the necessary components to keep its guests entertained for hours. Selecting a draft beer can prove entertaining on its own, thanks to the constantly rotating lineup of craft brews available on tap. Guests can pair their brew selections with tasty pub grub such as barbecue-pork nachos, burgers, fish and chips, and loaded tater tots.
Formed from about 17,000 islands that stretch from the coast of Thailand to the border of Papua New Guinea, the nation of Indonesia encompasses many climates and cultures. Recognizing that diversity, Indo Cafe's chefs strive to serve up an authentic sampling of the country's eclectic cuisine. The smartly curated menu ranges from daging tuturuga?a curry beef stew from Manado, on the northern island of Sulawesi?to bakmi goreng jawa?a Javanese-style egg-noodle stir-fry. If you're stopping by for the first time or have had your memory wiped since the last time, Seattle Weekly's 2012 Voracious Dining Guide recommends the ayam goreng fried chicken, a pan-Indonesian specialty which Seattle Weekly calls "extra-crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and best topped with fiery chili paste and paired with cooling, slightly sweet coconut rice." Indonesian produce stars in the desserts; the chefs fill whole coconuts with their savory-sweet pudding and make their own avocado- and durian-flavored ice creams.
Framed Indonesian art accents Indo Cafe's main dining space as well as three private rooms that can each host a party of up to 30 people or two giants on a romantic dinner date. Strengthening the restaurant's international ties, its owners are also active supporters of the Children's Foundation of Southeast Asia, which rallies local business owners to help build children's homes and schools in Southeast Asia.
What’s on Tap:
Where to Sit: If it’s sunny or raining money, relax on the sidewalk patio.
When to Go: Swing by on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. for trivia.
While You’re Waiting
While You’re in the Neighborhood: Get good and caffeinated at Cloud City Coffee (8801 Roosevelt Way NE), a popular community gathering spot.
Dinner options at O'Asian Kitchen and Lounge range from simplistic stir-fried snow peas to complex dishes such as the spicy golden Maine lobster that's flavored by dried shrimp, chinese sausage, dried black beans, bread crumbs, and hot pepper. Along with tons of traditional lunch options, the culinary team handcrafts more than 60 dim sum items every day, including chicken feet in black bean sauce and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves. Imported and domestic beers, traditional and signature cocktails, and rare Asian teas wash down meals, which unfold in a warm, sophisticated space with an attractive dining area, cosmopolitan lounge, and six private rooms. High-end Japanese vodkas are also available, as well as a selection of sake, which pair well with O'Asian's signature wasabi prawns dish.
An American flag flutters above Ravenna Alehouse's dark teal clapboard façade. Buzzing neon signs peek from the windows, beckoning passersby to pause for conversation and cold beer. Inside, friends gather at the battered, old wooden bartop, sharing stories over craft beers and margaritas or tasty noshes of hot-wing baskets and potato pancakes. Guests entertain themselves by shooting pool, nabbing some complimentary WiFi, or loading up the jukebox with theremin classics, quelling any hunger pangs with Hawaiian pizzas or third-pound Angus-beef burgers. In good weather, the outdoor patio hosts dining parties en plein air, as well as its much-anticipated annual chili and chowder cookoffs.