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.
Slinging spirits for nearly 80 years, the historic Checkerboard Tavern tackles appetites with a menu of gourmet hot dogs and slays thirsts with local brews. Toting the oldest liquor license in the state above its well-stocked bar, the Check sports a wide selection of domestics ($2.25), microbrews ($3.50), and regional suds ($3.50) from Golden Hills, Laughing Dog, and Iron Horse, as well as an old-timey jukebox that coughs up five spins for each greenback fed into its golden gullet. Get cozy in a fire-engine-red booth and anchor incisors into an assembly of encased meats, such as the Sonnenberg Dog, which tops a classic italian sausage with onions, ketchup, mustard, and relish, or the old-fashioned PB&J Dog, which arrives with crusts cut off in a He-Man lunchbox ($4). All dogs can be substituted for vegan tofurkey sausage, and assorted snacks and house fries are available for noshing ($5–$6).
Metronome Coffee's founders built their business around the idea of fresh coffee, tasty foods, and good music to sooth both cravings and consciences. They acquire their coffee through direct trade with farmers, each cup benefiting the people who did the hard work of growing it. They stock their pastry case with treats from local Corina Bakery and serve up hot pancakes made from scratch. They even squeeze their orange juice fresh. And they pair their food and drink with the tunes of local artists, helping customers discover new music.
Executive chef Faith Fiske tops The Atrium Lounge's more than 10 specialty pizzas with both ingredients from classic pepperoni to more unorthodox sunflower seeds. A create-your-own option, nicknamed The Einstein, lets guests craft their own pie from the same 25 sauces, cheeses, meats, and veggies Albert used to write out the theory of relativity on the back of a calzone. Barkeeps complement each slice by mixing signature cocktails from liquors such as Stoli Vanil, blue curacao, and Bombay Sapphire gin. Until 2 a.m. every Monday–Saturday, the lounge keeps the party going with open mic nights, karaoke, live music, and DJs spinning tunes.
Owner Steve Olson added Parlor Live to the Parlor complex in 2008 as a way to bring big city-caliber evening entertainment to suburban Bellevue. National comedians take the stage in a wide, shallow room with seating that wraps around three sides of the action as colored shapes produced by a sophisticated lighting system dance across the walls. A globally inspired menu introduces the agonizing dilemma of whether to laugh, fill one’s mouth, or mold little edible hearts to toss toward the performer with shareable dishes that include garlic-gorgonzola waffle fries and coconut prawns. The drink menu, too, aims to surprise with complex cocktails that range from a classic old-fashioned to a sparkling rosemary potion with Aperol.
Chopstix provides memorable nights with a concoction of dueling pianos, sing-alongs, and delicious American fare. The menu full of chops, seafood, salads, and pasta satisfies stomachs as ears get hand-fed honey-drizzled peanut-butter-stuffed trills and glissandi. Familiar appetizers such as calamari ($8.99) and coconut shrimp ($9.99) provide a tasty preamble to a steak salad ($14.99) strewn with organic greens, blue-cheese crumbles, diced tomatoes, and terra strips. Or opt for the provolone-smothered mushroom chicken ($14.99). The aptly named Sir Elton's London broil ($15.99) gets topped with béarnaise sauce and accompanied by fresh vegetables and mashed potatoes or krinkle-cut fries for a meatsperience that tastes as hearty and delectable as the eponymous knight’s outfits are glittery.