A light mist falls around me as I walk to the bar. Outsiders might point to the gray skies and say, “See, it’s always raining here.” But not me. No, I know a little better now. The mist is lazy, barely making a mark on my coat. This isn’t the rainy-days Seattle is known for.
After a bit more walking, I’m there, standing outside one of my favorite bars. I push open the door and am met with a warm glow, crowded tables, the sound of multiple conversations happening at once, snippets of phrases rising above the clamor. I make my way to an open bar seat and stare up at the shelves and shelves of bottles filled with various shades of brown liquor. The bartender catches my eye, “What would you like?”
Now this list is by no means THE BEST that Cap Hill has to offer. After reading enough city guides, I’ve learned to be distrustful of THE BEST lists. I know people want a list of the best bars in Capitol Hill, but I think it’s too subjective! What if you hate cocktails? If you do, you may not love this list. If you enjoy a good cocktail, then you may enjoy it. But see what I mean? It’s too subjective! What I can offer you is a list of places I’ve enjoyed (often on multiple occasions).
At any rate, this is MY version of the best bars in Capitol Hill, Seattle. And after a few drinks, check out my favorite restaurants in the area too.
This isn’t a casual night out (unless you make a ton or hate to save money, no judgment either way), but it is a great night out. They have some fantastic drinks (including a $600 Sazerac that I obviously have not tried) and some tasty food options. Would recommend it for a date night or for that bougie friend that comes to Seattle and says they want to see the real Seattle, but you know they’re more interested in cocktails than breweries.
Similar to Cannon, you have to be feeling yourself. It’s a small, intimate space with relatively limited seating. Skylar and I tried to come here on a date night once and were told there were seats outside (it wasn’t Fall yet, so a lot less risky), but alas when we arrived, those seats were taken by a party of six. Well played, folks, well played.
The Doctor’s Office
I can’t stress this enough, you need a reservation. They can fit 17 people inside, so just waltzing in at 9pm on a Friday isn’t going to happen (maybe at 6:30 pm if you promise to just get one drink and you’re by yourself). Enjoyable drinks and a willingness to make something based on your personal tastes. Plus, the bar manager (owner?) is super knowledgeable and fun to talk to (as long as it isn’t busy).
Corvus & Co
Hands down one of my favorite bars in Capitol Hill. It’s still pretty nice (you’re feeling yourself a bit, but not as much as Tavern Law), but it’s tasty. The vibe is gothic (their logo has a raven or a crow… I’m not great at knowing the difference), but classic? They have a fantastic blackberry martini with egg white. You’ll consider ordering something else. Don’t. Trust me.
A wine bar that leans into the natural wines. They also have a Chambong. I’ll let your imagination go wild with that one. Let’s just say after one or two of those, your night is going to be full of progressively worse choices and likely end with losing a $200 jacket…I’m not speaking from experience or anything.
Good beer. Good brats. Good fries. Good pretzel. Admittedly the crowd can skew a little college (especially as the night goes on), but the food and drinks are worth it.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
A wide array of ginger beer which can be turned into cocktails or boozy floats. Local and tasty. They let you take cocktails to-go as well, so if you’re in the mood for some street beverages, it’s a pretty good and easy option. Can we all agree that to-go cocktails should stay?
Soju Anju Bar
Let’s be honest, who drinks better than Koreans? This Korean bar is where you want to go for late-night drinks and, more equally important, drinking grub; try the Kimchi stew or the spicy squid.
The daiquiri is maybe the pinnacle of cocktails. Rum, lime, simple syrup come together in pure perfection. Rumba does them about as good as you’ll find in Seattle and has some decent bar bites to go with it.
Again one of the best bars in Capitol Hill. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a dive bar, but it’s in that direction. It’s a quiet bar with a good tap list, pool table, and darts…what else do you want? They’re also right next to Dino’s, a solid pizza joint when you need a late-night slice.