When it comes to beer, Seattle is experiencing a Golden Age. New breweries and taphouses are opening faster than we can finish our growler from the last one, sours are everywhere, and people are suddenly shoving fruit and herbs and random sh*t in their brewing processes - with results that are actually great. You don’t have to go far to find good beer in Seattle, but locating the best places to drink it is harder (unless you don’t mind ending up in a windowless basement). This is your guide for all beer-drinking scenarios, whether you’re looking for something low-key or a night of boots and bocce ball.
No Anchor is serious about beer. So serious that the on-tap menu is laid out on a coordinate plane mapping how “traditional,” “modern,” “approachable,” or “esoteric” each offering is. Come in with some friends or a date, use the plot points on the graph to choose your perfect pour, and eat an excellent Dungeness crab roll on a pretzel bun with homemade ketchup-seasoned chips. If it isn’t already clear, No Anchor is our favorite place to drink beer in Seattle.
Say what you want about it becoming too crowded and mainstream, but Fremont Brewing Company is the classic spot to grab a pint for a reason. The long tables and extremely good beers (especially the rotating infused Randalls) make for awesome spontaneous group hangs, whether you’re sitting inside or outside. You can bring in your own food, and your child(ren) are invited, too - we see lots of strollers here.
The Dray is a beer bar that just f*cking gets it. The whole place has maybe two dozen seats, it’s made entirely out of reclaimed wood, there’s always a soccer game on, and amidst the taps, rogue bottles of wine, and little baggies of Tim’s chips, there’s also an espresso machine. It’s the closest you’ll (probably) get to drinking in a treehouse, and you can choose to share this experience with your laptop or your crew - either one fits in just fine. The draft picks are a great mix of familiar things and “huh, what’s that?,” and there’s also a tiny oven for making flatbread pizzas and mini grilled cheeses.
The Masonry is pretty much a pizza party waiting to happen. This spot has a bright, newly-constructed space with psychedelic paint swirls on the ceiling, long communal tables, hanging lights made from beer bottles, a skee-ball machine, and lots of taps. There’s another (tiny) Masonry location in Queen Anne, but the newer Fremont one has a dining room with more group hang potential, as well as a huge patio for warm-weather pints. Food-wise, you can’t go wrong with a super-charred margherita pie and some meatballs, but we also like the burger and tangy caesar salad.
Imagine an alternate universe where you could drink a latte and work on your laptop, or lounge with a date on a sofa, or miserably fail at trivia night with your friends, or grab a seat at the bar for a beer and a cheese plate - all in the same place. We’re happy to tell you that such a place already exists, and it’s called The Dane. This all-day cafe has a surprisingly extensive lineup of beers hailing from everywhere between Washington and New York - plus great espresso, snacks, and events. Consider it your new weeknight hangout spot.
A great neighborhood bar in West Seattle with a low-key cabin feel (if cabins doubled as art galleries with quirky stuff like a painting of a T-Rex fossil mowing the lawn). Between the beers on tap and the sheer quantity of bottles available, there’s something for everyone here. Mix it up with excellent bar food like braised pork tacos, pho-flavored meatballs with hoisin and sriracha, and blackened pork belly with cheddar grits.
Perihelion feels like it was designed for fall - with an outdoor fire pit, barrels everywhere, an open kitchen that makes the tasting room nice and warm, and an overall woodsy feel. But it’s pretty great any time of the year. They have a solid menu of bar snacks to go with beers that range from an apricot sour and roasted pepper IPA to classics like scotch ale and oatmeal stout. Plus, they have great tunes.
Usually a rainy day is kind of a downer, but we actually like drinking at The Noble Fir when it’s gross out. It probably has something to do with the cozy wooden booths and the string lights and the little library area full of vintage books. Pile in with your friends and order some pints. And not that we’re telling you what to do, but you should probably listen to what we say and get a custom meat and cheese plate, too.
The Pine Box is in an old mortuary. Don’t let that depress you - focus instead on trying to live it up while you’re here. That’s not too hard to do, given that their impressive selection of beers is pretty reasonably priced. The peanut butter brownie stout might not be your thing, but you’re going to need the “big-ass chocolate chip cookie.”
When you get a group text telling you to meet at “The Woods,” don’t actually wander into the wilderness - your friend’s talking about this beer spot in Georgetown that doubles as the Two Beers Brewing Company tasting room. It’s a pretty big garage space perfect for meeting up with your group (and their dogs), having a couple flights, playing some darts or hand shuffleboard, and eating classy bar snacks like fried brussels sprout caesar salads. Plus, everything here tastes much better than what you’d find in a forest, where your beverage options are limited to dirty spring water and tree sap.
There are so many breweries in Ballard. So many. But Reuben’s should absolutely have a place in your neighborhood beer crawl. It’s a fun taproom with 24 homemade beers on tap and plenty of long wooden tables great for day drinking with a big group. There isn’t much decor beyond a few big tanks, but the beers are so good (especially the salty gose) that you won’t care. If you’re hungry, order some pies from Ballard Pizza Co. for delivery - and tell them you’re at Reuben’s to get a discount.
Beer’s better when you can drink it all day - something that is very possible at Redhook Brewlab. It’s kind of like an indoor theme park for people who like interesting beer: they open at noon, and they have a patio with a firepit, a back room with a hand shuffleboard table, and a bunch of experimental, small-batch beers on tap. We’re talking raspberry saisons, peach and mango IPAs, and darker ales brewed with coffee. Food-wise, make sure the wood-fired salami and goat cheese pizza and the brisket tacos are on the table.
Slow Boat Tavern is a beer bar that seems like it was opened by someone who cared a lot about beer, but less about decorating - and that’s fine with us. There are peanut shells on the floor, dollar bills thumbtacked to the ceiling, and tables made from repurposed arcade games - plus a neon sign that says “F*ck Yelp” and tints the whole bar dark pink. Slow Boat is calm even on a Friday night, so it’s a prime location for more conversational evenings. And peanut-eating.
Rhein Haus is perfect for reliving your college years. A night here done correctly will be a very fun sh*tshow, thanks to cheap boots of beer, pretzels the size of your head, children celebrating their 21st birthdays, and long lines for the bathroom. We’d advise fully embracing the spirit of Rhein Haus by tearing up the indoor bocce ball court.
Like Rhein Haus, Altstadt is a German beer hall. Unlike Rhein Haus, it doesn’t feel like a frat party. You can post up at a stretched-out wooden table, drink a liter of lager in a glass boot, and split a couple of brats, a homemade pretzel, and some spaetzle mac and cheese - you just won’t have to keep saying “what??” to your friends across the table.
If Rhein Haus is the frat party and Altstadt is the dorm lounge book club, Queen Anne Beer Hall falls somewhere in the middle. It’s one big dark room with long communal tables and a chill high school gymnasium feel, but you can still drink many liters of hefeweizen while listening to a DJ set and shrieking over Jenga pieces tumbling over. The biergarten-inspired small plates are hit or miss - the pretzels and fried cheese curds are fine, but the white cheddar spaetzle with steak, mushrooms, and brussels sprout pesto is insanely delicious, as is the kale salad. And, after a few beers, so is anything from the cash-only sausage grill by the bar.
The Yard Cafe, from the same people as The Dray, is a bar with three different seating situations - making it a very versatile spot for beer-drinking and Mexican food eating. There’s a yard full of picnic tables, a bar with indoor seats, and a big back room with booths. No matter where you decide to sit, it’s great for a first date or group hang over something interesting on tap and some tacos or tortas.
Lucky Envelope is one of the newer breweries in Ballard, and you’ll want to post up at one of the picnic tables here when it’s nice out. You can bring in food from home, but we suggest taking advantage of the rotating food trucks. We also suggest ruining your friendships over a couple rounds of cornhole. Get the blood orange IPA.
Chuck’s is a beautiful union of a convenience store (selling more gummy candies than we even knew existed) and the makeshift basement hangout of your friend who used to be in a band and never left your hometown. That means there are a lot of ways to do Chuck’s Hop Shop right, and very few ways to do it wrong. Pick something on tap from the great list, or have the staff pop open a six pack from the holy grail of beer fridges that stretches across the entire back wall. Every time you open it, you can almost hear a gospel chorus.
Down a nondescript alley near some newly-constructed townhomes in Columbia City is Backyard - a bar/barbecue joint and overall enjoyable place to spend a few hours. In addition to the tap selection, we like the neighborhood crowd, jukebox, and board game options. Head in with a few friends when you don’t want to worry about being too loud or not getting a table. And when you get hungry after a few rounds of Big Buck Hunter, get the smoked brisket poutine.
Brouwer’s looks like it could host a medieval jousting tournament, which automatically makes it a good place to do a lot of drinking. But we wouldn’t tell you to come here just because of the random gargoyle above the bar - the menu has everything from Belgian beer to Austrian beer to English beer to German beer to American beer. Also, the french fries are really f*cking good.
Despite its non-central location, Stoup is a Ballard standby that never gets old. Drinking here feels like having a beer made by your friend who brews in his garage, only it’s actually good. There’s a wall covered completely in bumper stickers, the bar shares a room with the massive beer-making tanks, and a rotating food truck is always parked outside. The best part about Stoup is that it’s good in all types of weather - during winter, the main tasting room has plenty of seats, and when the sun comes out, the garage doors swing open and you can sit outside on a patio table. Plus, there’s a bonus beer garden around the corner with a firepit and second bar.
Bad Jimmy’s is the perfect place to take the crew (and the crew’s puppies) before or after a dinner at The Leary Traveler. Come here for a low-key night tasting flights of infused beers like strawberry-mango hefeweizen and wildberry gose. Some are brilliant (the cherry kiwi needs to come back on rotation) and some are straight-up weird, like the coconut-caramel-chocolate ale that’s supposed to taste like a Girl Scout cookie. We’ll just take the Girl Scout cookie.