Food & Culture

Bar Hop to First Hill’s Vito’s

By Grace Geiger January 13, 2011


This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Vito’s Restaurant & Lounge (927 Ninth Ave.; 206.397.4053; opened its doors in 1953, serving Seattle’s power elite and, later, a sketchier crowd (which led to its closing in 2009). Last September, Hideout owners Greg Lundgren and Jeff Scott lovingly brought the First Hill hangout back from the dead.

THE VIBE: The low-lit Italian joint could be a set piece from The Godfather, with red leather booths, mirrored walls and a rotating disco ball over the piano in the lounge. Clinky cocktails and live music (on most nights) draw both regular joes and arty Cap Hill types into the old-school room’s warm embrace.  

THE FOOD: Classic Italian-American fare is available in both the dining room and the lounge. Lounge menu items include a meatball sandwich ($8) and a Sicilian pizza ($5). Late-night snackers can subsist on small plates such as Roman bean ragù ($7), made with tomatoes, onions and rosemary, or sautéed mussels in white wine and garlic ($10).

THE DRINKS: A feisty list of classic cocktails ($8) includes the Naked Lady, with rum, sweet vermouth, apricot brandy, grenadine and lemon juice, and the Diabolo, with brandy, dry vermouth, and angostura and orange bitters. Wines ($5–$10) are mostly Italian, capisce?

THE BATHROOMS: The women’s restroom features a miniature statue of a nude male, and the men’s room boasts a rather provocative mosaic of a female senza vestiti.


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