Food & Culture

Impress Out-of-town Guests at These Seattle Bars

We’ve got a watering hole for every holiday visitor you’ve got

By AJ Rathbun December 11, 2019

Traditional Christmas or New Year holiday celebration party. Friends or family feasting and clinking glasses with rose wine at festive Christmas table with homemade snacks, square crop

The holiday season—so jolly, so many visitors and sometimes, so much stress. We’re here to help, with a list of five Seattle bars, each ideal for fulfilling the desires of any visitor, whether a wine-loving aunt, a dad looking for classics, an (over 21) cousin wishing they were on the beach and others. While we all love holiday visitors, knowing the right bar to take them to makes the season more fun, for them and for you.  

For Those Dreaming of a Tropical Vacation 
Navy Strength  
You may have visitors whose fantasy of spending the holidays beach-bound never materialized. Take them straight to our Belltown temple of tiki (and Best New American Cocktail Bar, 2018, winner). There’s a luau-ing array of tropical and globe-trotting hits. Perhaps start with the eponymous Navy Strength Cocktail with cognac, rum, roasted tropical fruit, beeswax and bitters. There are also bowls that can be shared by up to 9 people.

For Those Wanting a View 
The Fog Room 
We have an embarrassment of new hotel bar riches in Seattle. While many are worthy of a stop with or without relatives, for a view, the Fog Room is hard to beat—even the crankiest uncle will be struck by the Puget Sound vista. The tasty cocktails—including a few “Hotel Classics” such as the power-packed rye-and-Cognac Vieux Carre dating back to New Orleans’ Carousel bar in 1938—make the landscapes even better.  

For Those Wishing for Wine  
The Bottlehouse  
Want to appease the wine lovers who have stopped in while maintaining a cozy family feel? This Madrona spot is ideal in these holiday moments, as it’s in a 1905 Craftsman and has a wonderful, while not being overwhelming, menu of wines, aperitifs and wine-and-aperitif cocktails (the refreshing and tangy Seasonal Spritzer is a nice choice on the latter). While going local for wine is grand, if the Italian Le Piane Mimmo Nebbiolo is still on the menu, red wine lovers won’t be disappointed with its red cherry, raspberry jam, spice nature.  

For Those Craving Classic Cocktails  
Tavern Law  
When your staunch old-school father or grandmother puts their size tens down on the idea of new-fangled cocktails, you’re in luck—many local bars boast delicious classic cocktails. This Capitol Hill standby is definitely one that whips out perfect pours of all the liquid legends. But if picking just one, their Woodinville Old Fashioned, with WA state-made Woodinville Whiskey Co. rye and in-house barrel aged maple, orange and Angostura bitters, is a delight.  

For Those Looking for Traditional Seattle 
Hotel Sorrento  
Whether at the hotel’s restaurant, the Dunbar Room, or more lounge-y Fireside Room, you’ll sense the jolly holiday celebrations that have happened in this hotel’s 110-year history—sweet for guests who want to sip while sitting in a bit of Seattle history. The cocktails from director of food and beverage Misuk Ahn are also first rate. Try the Grand Hotel with Hennessy VS Cognac, ruby port, lemon and orange to kick things off.

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