Wine bars abound in Seattle. Some are bustling and swank, others small and intimate, providing casual sippers with a place to trade confidences or find tranquility after a long day. Whether you’re launching the night downtown with a splash, or keeping calm to carry on, there are multiple ways to enjoy classic sips in Seattle.
Purple’s cavernous downtown location offers a lengthy list of regional and European wines, served by the glass, bottle or in flights. With tall ceilings and picture windows, Purple was designed around a corkscrew-shaped vertical cellar and large countertop bar, though numerous tables and a mezzanine bar offer alternate ways to enjoy an after-work wind-down. Purple’s full menu offers small and full plates, including cheese flights and oven-baked pizzas, as well as pastas, short ribs or Muscovy duck.
Wallingford’s Smash Wine Bar & Bistro, where gleaming wine glasses on its bare wood tables signal formal drinking in an informal setting, is a good place to stop off with friends. Relaxed drinkers can compare Northwest or European wines by glass or by flight at one of the numerous four-tops, or squeeze into the tight bar space. Small plates—including “build your own board” cheese tastings—as well as sliders, flatbread plates, soups, and entrées mean a casual meet-up could end with dinner.
On Capitol Hill, small and sexy Poco Wine + Spirits pours Northwest, Spanish, French and South American sips from a menu that also includes tapas selections, all from a quiet street that feels far from the nearby hubbub of an otherwise busy neighborhood. Portalis in Old Ballard, with its exposed brick walls, rotating art exhibits and wooden bar, offers both glass pours and bottles from its retail store for a small corkage fee. The shop’s small but carefully curated menu regularly features soups, charcuterie and cheese, and more – all with suggested pairings.
Over in West Seattle, The Cask serves an equally strong list of wine pours, as well as beer and cider from taps at its lengthy wooden bar. The alehouse’s expanded menu offers up locally made truffle popcorn, gratins, salads, sandwiches and braised meats to pair with the sips. The wine list skews Northwestern and features reds on tap from Proletariat, one of the region’s first wineries to sell shareable wine “prowlers”. Of course, beer drinkers can also buy and refill growlers here if they like. But with so many regionally relevant bottles of vino to choose from, it’s hard to imagine anyone opting for beer over wine.