Congratulations. You live in Seattle, and you either have a summertime birthday, or you’re really, really good at pretending you do. With this elite privilege that you didn’t ask for comes great responsibility in terms of planning where to celebrate. You want someplace at that ideal intersection of easygoing hang and casual day-rager, with plenty of room for a group, and a food situation that will work for literally anyone, including Linda. Cheers.
There are few things more Seattle than hanging out at a picnic table, eating pizza topped with locally-sourced ingredients on a compostable plate, and listening to some ambient clucking from the chicken coop you’re sitting next to. Welcome to Humble Pie, where you can host the most eco-friendly pizza party you’ve (probably) ever had. Pies here range from a classic margherita to one with Beecher’s cheese and apples. Just add some Washington beer and bask in your Pacific Northwest pride.
There’s going to be quite a bit of pizza in this guide, and we’re not sorry about it, so buckle up. Frelard Pizza Company is our favorite spot to kick back under the sun and share New York-style pies while hanging around long tables next to random barrels and a stone-covered firepit. We know that’s a pretty specific category, but it’s true. Starting with charcuterie and pints of beer is never a bad idea, and make sure to finish up with gelato in addition to your birthday cake. Your friends got you one, right?
This Peruvian rotisserie chicken spot keeps things super casual, so it’s an ideal choice if there are some kids in your party, or you just don’t want to spend a ton of money. Getting a few rounds of cheesy corn empanadas and yucca fries with various sauces (our favorites are the yellow and the creamy spicy) is pretty much mandatory, and bottles of wine for $20 are difficult to pass up. If you don’t also eat a homemade chocolate cinnamon brownie before you head home, you’ve made a mistake.
It’s your party, and you can down some fresh oysters chased with sparkling rosé straight from the bottle if you want to. Do so at The 100 Pound Clam, a lakeside seafood stand where you might share table space with some programmers or a family of five while feel-good music pumps out of the speakers. It’s a counter-service outdoor operation, so people can get whatever they want - from the cornmeal-crusted fish and chips with pickle mayo to some clam chowder-covered poutine or the sesame beef banh mi.
You’re hoping to keep things low-key after Sam face-planted at Wild Waves last year, and we don’t really blame you. Burgers and beer at Uneeda are a pretty safe bet, even though at least one person might get annoyed about the complete lack of American cheese on the menu. The shed-like outdoor space feels kind of like summer camp - only instead of lanyards and bug juice and who-likes-who scandals, there are burgers and milkshakes. Burger topping options range from lettuce and tomato to truffle salt and porcini mushrooms, and you can also get buffalo chicken sandwiches and veggie burgers. Just make sure to ask for your fries on the crispier side, because it’s your birthday.
You know the drill here. And it’s a pretty good drill. Huge backyard-sized patio, alcoholic slushies, and some great rotisserie chicken with sauces like chimichurri (you want this chimichurri) and garlic aioli. Not to mention sides like grilled flatbread and duck fat potatoes. Spread out on a picnic table with a few orders of homemade hummus and baba ghanoush, and toast with the aforementioned spiked slushies. If eating great roast chicken on its own isn’t exciting enough for you, there are DJ dance parties going on here every other Sunday all summer, too.
If you’re not enjoying a pint glass full of mango margarita and some excellent Mexican food on a patio, is it even your birthday? Head to La Cocina Oaxaquena for the easiest outdoor party you’ve ever thrown. It’s never crowded, and people don’t seem to know that you can make a reservation here (we can’t think of any other reason why it’s not busy). So call ahead and invite everyone you know. Then, go heavy on tacos of the fish and al pastor variety, or some spicy shrimp over delicious Mexican rice.
Go ahead. Invite all your friends to Captain Blacks, where you can sit on a Capitol Hill rooftop overlooking the city skyline, drink great beer and vodka-lemonades on tap, pass around seriously good baskets of fried chicken and waffles, and watch the sunset on your D.O.B. We’ll hypothesize that nobody’s going to pass on that.
An outdoor pizza party situation that’s really easy to organize. The Masonry is a great spot with lots of beers on tap, an arcade area with skee-ball in the back, and a giant pizza oven. Shove some four-top tables together on the patio and you’ll be set. Food-wise, order the meatballs and split a bunch of wood-fired pies. You also can’t go wrong with the burger.
Turns out, sangria consumed on a rooftop tastes better than sangria in any other setting. Definitely fact-check us on that by having your birthday on the second floor patio at Mezcaleria Oaxaca. You’ll find plenty of long communal tables and some excellent al pastor tacos, not to mention a great view of the downtown skyscrapers, which look even nicer framed by string lights.
You waited until the day before to start planning your birthday. It happens, or so we’ve heard. Go to Fremont Brewing Company. You’ll need to do some vulture-swooping to secure a giant picnic table for everyone (and their dogs), but besides that, all you have to do is figure out which dessert to bring. To which we say, the lemon blueberry cake from Simply Desserts. Then all you need is some non-dessert food. OK, do pies from Frelard Pizza Company or pulled pork sandwiches from RoRo BBQ. Cool. Now you just have to pick a beer, which is where we slam on the breaks. They’re all so good that we can’t help you decide.
If the thought of your friends and family singing “Happy Birthday” to you in various off-pitch keys gives you night terrors, keep things small this year and head to the trainyard patio at Citizen Six with a few pals (seriously - that’s all this place can fit). The Korean-Mexican fusion menu is great across the board, whether you go for some chili-glazed Baja fish tacos or get an entire plate of loaded bulgogi fries for yourself while hissing like a feral cat at anyone who tries to steal a bite. Whatever you choose, do a flight of homemade hard ciders, too.
The outdoor biergarten at Rhein Haus was practically designed for summer birthdays. And for testing your skills on the bocce court. Or field? We think court is the right term. Anyway, head here to channel your inner college student by drinking beer from comically large glass boots and passing around chicken schnitzel sliders, mini brat rolls, and giant pretzels with cheese sauce. Then, toast to another lap around the sun.
If you love barbecue and also being outside, Wood Shop BBQ is the obvious birthday solution. Grab a cocktail, don’t skip the smoked jalapeno mac and cheese, and go eat some brisket while you enjoy being in nature. Ah, the great outdoors.
Peddler Brewing Company is already a fantastic place to drink for your birthday. But add the fact that there’s a hot dog truck parked permanently outside, and it’s just that much better. Yes, the food at Cycle Dogs is 100% vegan, but we promise you won’t even notice when you’re face-first in some plant-based burgers, crinkle fries with chipotle sauce, and elotes dogs covered in grilled corn, scallions, mayo, and lime. Wash everything down with Peddler’s tangerine Hefeweizen and bring some Jenga to amuse everyone once they’re done eating.
Small-batch beer, communal tables, string lights, wood-fired pizzas, smoked brisket tacos, and some people you generally don’t hate. That’s a list of six reasons to spend your birthday at Redhook Brewlab. You order inside at the bar, which makes coming and going perfect for friends who have to leave early or arrive late (or both - classic Tom), and Salt & Straw is on the same block for when the party’s over and you need to buy two ice cream flights for yourself. Happy birthday to you.