To Drink: Alongside local draught beers from Washington and Oregon brewers such as Odin’s Gift, tenders pour out spirit flights, including the Cooley Distillery Collection with Greenore 8 year, Connemara 12 year, and Tyroconnel single-malt Irish whiskey. In the mixology department, artisans whip up potions such as Liam's Libation: Jameson, banana, spiced syrup, lemon, and bitters.
When to Go: * Saturday and Sunday during brunch, when they serve up boxty, a pancake of potatoes and scallions popular in the north Midlands.
Where to Sit: Grab a sturdy wooden table near the towering stacked-stone fireplace, or belly up to the bar on a cherry-stained stool to admire the dozens of Irish whiskeys and scotches.
While You Wait
If You Can’t Make It, Try This:
If you don’t mind forgoing the food and hopping right into the revelry, head to Conor Byrne Pub (5140 Ballard Avenue NW), an Irish-style watering hole that marries exposed brick walls, chandeliers, and live music.
Even the more modest accommodations at W Seattle are deluxe. Pillow-top beds, goose-down comforters, WiFi, and bathrooms stocked with luxurious Bliss products make stays comfortable and relaxing. Guests who want a truly special stay can book the Extreme Wow suite. The 1,000-square-foot suite is located on the hotel's top floor with soaring city views, which gives guests a taste of what living in the Space Needle would be like, if the Space Needle had a jacuzzi.
While guests may come from faraway places, the food served at Trace, the W's acclaimed restaurant, doesn't. Executive Chef Steven Ariel cooks up Asian-inspired dishes with ingredients from local farms. You’ll find 100% organic produce from Willie Green's Organic Farm used in salads and locally caught seafood from Taylor Shellfish Farms in the bouillabaisse. The fresh food, served in Trace's renovated dining room, led to Food & Wine magazine naming it one of the Best Hotel Restaurants.
The first thing guests notice when walking into W Seattle is the colossal, three-story fireplace centered in the lobby. But this isn't some homespun relic. After a massive redesign (which netted the hotel a Restaurant and Bar Design Award in 2013), the architect designed a modern fireplace area that's welcoming—the space is dubbed the Living Room—while keeping to the W's modern aesthetic. In Trace, the designers took some structural columns that were once an awkward necessity and transformed them into sleek, geometric poles that frame the sushi station like curtains, drawing attention to the theatrical preparation. Elsewhere in the dining room, a mural pays homage to the duality of Seattle—a nature-lover's haven and a sci-tech mecca. One side of the mural appears to show jellyfish, but as you walk to the other side, a supersonic jet emerges from the picture.
In 1984, lifelong ballerina Elizabeth Chayer founded American Dance Institute in Anchorage, before relocating to two nearly-adjacent studios in Seattle. There she began amassing her current staff of talented toe-artists. Recruited from ballet troupes, contemporary dance companies, and flamenco ensembles around the world, the teachers lead open-level classes that balance technical training with expressive kineticism. Each instructs in their specialty, and as a result the twinned studios can offer a wide range of styles including ballroom, break dance, ballet, jazz, and the invisible lasso. Collectively, more than a century of professional experience conglomerates in the staff, and each boasts a solid footing on the basics of anatomy and kinesiology to maximize the effectiveness of training while minimizing the chance of injury. The classes themselves take on a welcoming, noncompetitive format that emphasizes enjoyment without sacrificing technique. Aimed at any dancers of 18 months and older, many classes, including musical theater, Irish step dancing, and ballet, come in a multitude of permutations designed for each age-set. Others are more restricted, such as adults- and teens-only flamenco, ballroom, and jazz sessions, or the grown-up-free Polynesian class. While individual movements and underlying concepts form the heart of these classes rather than choreographed productions, children enrolled in the spring semester get the chance to take part in a seasonal studio performance. American Dance Institute also hosts birthday parties where guests learn a particular style. During one notable jubilee, the attendees of a family reunion mastered an Irish ceili, then used their newfound skills to stomp on a block of icing until it became a cake.
EMP Museum is a tribute to cultural icons as well as a breeding ground for the next generation of musicians and societal shapers. Here, attendees don?t just stand before exhibits that explore Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, but throw down their own musical chops in interactive exhibits such as Sound Lab, where they riff on an electric guitar, bang on drums, and tweak acoustics behind a mixing console. On Stage also gets guests to grip instruments, but under the hot lights of the stage, where they can pretend to entertain legions of fans or accompany their nephew?s birthday party.
The museum also curates rotating exhibits that celebrate modern cultural achievements. These have showcased the impact of Nirvana?s career alongside historic artifacts as diverse as Hendrix?s Stratocaster from Woodstock and Neo?s black futuristic coat from Matrix Reloaded. As home to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, the museum also spotlights luminaries such as Ray Bradbury and Steven Spielberg, who have shaped a generation?s imagination while warning people about the perils of suppressing ingenuity, ideas, and viewpoints.
All of the educational programming and special events unfold inside the architectural jewel that is the EMP Museum. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, the building?s 3,000 stainless-steel panels shimmer and seemingly swing through the air. This fluidity, which can alter its appearance depending on the time of day and light conditions, is about ?reminding audiences that music and culture is constantly evolving,? as the museum?s website states.
Onlookers gasp as the graceful figure tumbles to earth in a slow-motion plunge. Her strong legs twist and spin down a billowing swath of deep-red fabric like a spider expanding its web. It is awe rather than fear, however, that draws the crowd's gasps, as the elegant descent is performed as a demonstration by one of Emerald City Trapeze Arts’ skilled instructors during a silks class. A dedication to teaching students of all ages and abilities the skills necessary to capture both the beauty and athleticism of the circus arts is the studio's main mission, upheld by a cadre of circus-grade instructors and a friendly staff.
Below the soaring ceiling of exposed old-growth beams, students leap and balance on well-maintained circus apparatuses as their instructors correct their form and ensure their safety. The staff welcomes aerial enthusiasts to experience the sky-splitting thrills of all manner of circus specialty, from the flying trapeze to acrobalance to hatha yoga performed on the top of an elephant's stiletto. Along with high-flying classes, Emerald City Trapeze Arts’ crew celebrates the circus arts via dances and parties held within the whimsical-yet-rustic venue, from merriment-packed Halloween festivities to energetic performances by staff and students.
What to Drink: The bar’s 19 rotating taps feature beers from local favorites and microbrewers around the country. Bartenders also pour selections from an impressive collection of more than 30 scotches.
When to Go
Inside Tip: Barking Dog Alehouse takes its family-friendly vibe seriously, offering a special kids’ menu packed with chicken tenders, burgers, and miniature ice cream sundaes.