If you could take one restaurant with you to a deserted island, it should be Kedai Mekan. You might be lonely and sunburnt, but you would get to eat ridiculously good Malaysian food and inhale the smell of fried shallots all day, every day.
Since you might not have plans to airlift a building to your own private retreat any time soon, you’ll probably have to wait about two hours to get into this Capitol Hill spot like everybody else. The good news is that they text when your table is ready, so you won’t have to spend those two hours standing around the entryway accidentally bumping into strangers and apologizing for doing so on loop. Instead, kill time at one of the bars on this guide. They’re all within a very short walk, so you’ll be ready to head back to the restaurant when the text comes in.
If you want the absolute closest place to sprawl out in a booth and drink until your phone buzzes, Montana is your best option. It’s a chill, graffiti-covered dive bar where movies are projected on the wall and cocktails are on tap. Our favorite drink here is the kiwi cucumber punch, but they also have some decent mules and palomas.
Normally you’d find us at Hot Cakes with a forkful of molten lava cake in one hand and a chocolate-dipped soft serve cone in the other. But you don’t want to spoil your appetite before a meal at Kedai Makan, so instead of sweets, grab a glass of wine, beer, or even an espresso in the bright, relaxed space. Keep the lava cakes in mind for after dinner.
We like The Stumbling Monk when we’re stuck in a Manny’s and Space Dust rut. They have interesting things on tap, from local beers you don’t see too often to imported Belgian beer you might not see anywhere else in town. It always feels relaxed in here, and they have a couple of board games if you don’t want to waste all of your good conversation ideas before dinner even starts.
Tiki cocktails and karaoke before dinner might sound a little aggressive, but trust us, you have the time, and it’d be fun to choose karaoke songs that are of the moment, like “Call Me,” “Waiting For Tonight,” or “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Hula Hula is a beach hut-themed bar that’s the perfect place to get you in the mood for Kedai Makan’s tropical drinks. After a berry rum slushie and singing “Island In The Sun” you’ll be set. And if you’re with a group, the flaming volcano bowl is the obvious option.
If you planned an early in the game date at Kedai Makan without realizing how long the wait would be, things could get awkward fast as you both kick rocks on the sidewalk and say “so...” a million times. It’s all good if you plan the timing just right and make a reservation at Knee High Stocking Company, an impressive speakeasy with excellent cocktails and a moody date night kind of feel. Date officially saved.
If the wait for a table at Kedai Makan is tremendously long and it’s raining outside, that’s one thing. But if it’s nice out, it’s pretty much an excuse to drink under the sun for a couple of hours, and there’s nowhere nearby that’s better to do that than Captain Blacks. They have such a nice view of the city that you might even get disappointed when that text comes. But get over it quickly, you’re about to eat tasty rice, noodles covered in runny egg yolks, and crispy frog legs.
Dino’s is the dark, somewhat mysterious pizzeria that could be the shooting location for a movie scene in which the characters plan an intricate casino heist over some Manhattans. What’s even harder than deciphering the schematics for Tulalip Resort is choosing between one of the eight different on-tap cocktails (or resisting the urge to order a Sicilian slice).
You know the rules here: don’t spoil your appetite. That rule makes drinking at Pie Bar a little bit of a bummer because their peanut butter mud pie is so good, but nobody said you couldn’t have a pie-flavored martini. It’s just rich enough to feel like a dessert, but isn’t heavy enough to fill you up before dinner.