Whether you’re trying to be healthy, signed up as the designated driver, have an early workout the next day, or just don’t feel like it, you’ve decided to take a break from alcohol. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time during a night out, though. From spots with board games or bocce to places with non-alcoholic drinks worth ordering, here are 12 great bars to check out when you’re not drinking.
Bait Shop is the string light-covered bar that you forget exists for a while, rush back to on a Saturday night, and discover that the rest of the city has definitely not forgotten about it. On top of their fun tiki cocktails, they also have a great lineup of non-alcoholic drinks ranging from a blackberry basil lemon soda to a virgin version of their delicious coconut painkiller with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery
The Starbucks Reserve on Pike is an unbearable tourist trap by day, but it’s actually a cool place to hang out on a Friday night since most of the out-of-towners don’t stick around. Your friends who are drinking will love the whiskey-spiked coffee and coconut matcha lattes with gin, and you’ll love things like lemony cascara cold brew and espresso with hazelnut praline milk. Plus, you can laugh about how expensive the Starbucks branded clothing is and eat slices of delicious margherita focaccia pizza from the Princi counter.
Nothing makes a dry night more irritating than trying to order a diet coke in a bar full of screaming people. You’ll never have that problem at Bottlehouse, the renovated home-turned-wine-bar in Madrona. Here, you have options like housemade thyme iced tea and persimmon vanilla soda. Both pair well with the excellent snacks, too, like cheesemonger-curated charcuterie plates and baguettes with ganache and chevre.
Add-A-Ball is the perfect place to go when you’re avoiding alcohol because the most interesting things here have nothing to do with drinking. It’s a dive bar, but it doubles as an arcade complete with pinball, driving games, and a huge 10-person capture-the-flag game called Killer Queen. Spend your pocket change beating the high score of Ms. Pac-Man instead of blowing it on tall boys of Rainier that are basically just water anyways.
Garage doesn’t have fancy mocktails mixed with artisan spiced shrubs - if you’re here and sober, chances are you’ll be drinking a Shirley Temple out of a slightly-chipped pint glass. But this is a bar with a bowling alley, and a night out here is exciting no matter what you’re drinking. Knock over some pins, eat some garlic fries drizzled with lemon aioli, and maybe crack a couple The Big Lebowski jokes.
This South Lake Union speakeasy has the most diverse selection of mocktails you’ll find in this city. Using a brand of alcohol-free “spirits,” (AKA distilled water with fruit and spice extracts) the non-alcoholic menu includes everything from a virgin negroni to a fake piña colada made with pineapple juice and Cinnamon Toast Crunch-infused coconut cream. Plus, you’ll still feel like you’re getting a fancy cocktail experience considering all of the mocktails are $15 each.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer might be the only bar in Seattle where the non-alcoholic options are better than the ones with booze. That’s because this is some special spicy ginger beer, which is delicious and comes in every flavor imaginable, from pink guava to cucumber tarragon. Sip on some while eating fried chicken sandwiches and hanging out in their breezy space covered in plants.
Hanging out at a brewery without drinking any beer sounds like going to Hersheypark without eating any chocolate. The Woods is the exception. There are a bunch of fun games to play like darts, foosball, hand-shuffleboard, and billiards, and non-alcoholic options to drink ranging from cucumber soda to strawberry basil kombucha. And even your dog, who also isn’t currently drinking, is welcome to come along too.
There are plenty of activities in the cozy basement bar at Capitol Cider, like a huge selection of board games and hand-shuffleboard. For non-drinkers, there’s a bunch of sodas, CBD beverages, and teas you can order, too. And if you really don’t want to feel left out at an establishment devoted to fizzy apple juice, they usually have a non-alcoholic cider available as well.
Mox Boarding House
If you like board games, you’ll love Mox Boarding House so much that you’ll wish it was an actual boarding house with vacancy. There's two locations, one in Bellevue and another in Ballard, but we prefer the Eastside location. Especially since you can suggest it if you’re meeting with friends who live in Bellevue but you’re stuck driving from the city. This board game store has tables where you can set up camp and ruin friendships over Settlers Of Catan or Dungeons And Dragons, and they sell alcohol and a full menu of food that includes steak frites and sandwiches. If you’re not drinking, you can go for Italian sodas, local root beer on tap, and even energy drinks if it’s 11:30pm and you’re on hour five of defending Kamchatka in a heated round of Risk.
Rhein Haus is a rowdy German bar where a lot of Seattle University seniors drink legally for the first time. Instead of dealing with them (and the long bathroom lines), come during the day in the summer and hang out on their relaxing patio. You can order homemade spritzes made with things like elderflower, verjus (unripened grape juice), and pineapple cordial while eating giant pretzels and playing bocce on their outdoor court. Yes, there still might be college students hanging around, but only the ones not doing their homework.