In keeping with Seattle’s informal nature, the best joints in town to throw back a few drinks are the hidden, hole-in-the-wall bars made for a night in T-shirt and jeans.
The U District’s Blue Moon Tavern (712 N.E. 45th St., 206/675-9116) is one of the most famous old-time hangouts in Seattle, the sort of place that once attracted the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Tom Robbins. It still brings in the Deadheads on Sunday nights for a jukebox jam. Monday is opera night, and the first Wednesday of every month is poetry night.
Grab a handful of peanuts from the endless free bowls at Hooverville Bar (1721 1st Ave. S, 206/264-2428, www.hoovervilleseattle.com) and don't worry about the shells—just throw ’em on the ground. Situated near the stadiums, this lovable bar borders on the edge of poseur, maybe just slightly too conscious of its divey-ness. But, hey, there’s Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap and pinball machines waiting for a new high score. Who can argue with that?
The view of Elliott Bay is great at Alki Tavern (1321 Harbor Ave. SW, 206/932-9970), as long as you look out the open doors—the windows are pretty grimy and tiny, a symbol of this place’s dive status. The drinks are plentiful and cheap and the barkeeps are friendly, making this place a keeper. Visit on Tuesday night for $1 burgers.
The unpretentious Nite Lite (1926 2nd Ave., 206/443-0899) serves drinks strong enough to put a little kink in a writer’s step. This dark den is right downtown next to the Moore Theater, a secret favorite among comics and other artists who like to visit after their shows.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition