Finding the most deliciously weird and wonderful bars in Washington
The State of Washington is home to some of the most deliciously weird and wonderful bars in the world. Washington is a sweet blend of railroad era cowboy culture and a super modern dotcom tech industry, all with a healthy dose of outdoor enthusiasm and avant-garde art. It only makes sense that the state’s bar scene would be equally as cool. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite watering holes that really get us.
This Irish bar is by far one of my favorite spots in Seattle. Tucked away in Post Alley, it is only found by a wooden sign with a white horse painted on it. Inside you’ll often find the owner/operator, with his waist high Irish wolfhound, tapping small oak casks and pouring stout beer and mead. The menu is printed daily on a slice of cardboard, and the leather chairs that cram together among stacks of books and Irish knickknacks are weathered and soft. This is the closest to a true European bar you can find in Washington. Stop in if you’re exploring Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
Add-A-Ball Amusements Bar & Arcade
With wall-to-wall pinball machines, this Seattle haunt offers coin fed amusement and cold beers. The bar hosts regular pinball tournaments and are really truly the weirdest of the weird in Seattle. The rotating selection of vintage games and wild theme parties is enough to entertain the wackiest of palates. If you want a cool place to hang out and impress your friends, then this is for you pinball wizards!
Viewfinder Tip: When you’re exploring the bars of Washington, just ask any bartender where they drink after they’re done with their shift. You’ll find the best spots in town.
As Washington’s oldest continuously running saloon, the Brick Saloon is a landmark. It’s a charming little cowboy haunt tucked away in the tiny town of Roslyn, right in the middle of the Cascade Mountains. It features not only a spooky haunted jail cell, but a 100-year-old bar, and a 23-foot-long running water spittoon. Once you sit down and order a draft, you’ll see why this place has been around since 1889. Just off of I-90, it’s worth a stop if you’re headed east or west across Washington. Truly the crown jewel of this mountain town.
Bob’s Java Jive, Tacoma
This ultra famous bar is shaped like a coffee pot and has been around since 1927. Operating as a karaoke bar since the ‘50s, it is a dark and eclectic little bar that sits right near Tacoma’s industrial center. The late owner/operator, Bob, placed a lifetime ban on Keanu Reeves from entering the bar and the patrons honor his wish to this day. When you pull up it will look like the coffee pot is closed for good, but don’t be fooled, this local treasure is very much alive and well. Local tour company Pretty Gritty Tours offers Bob’s Java Jive as a cornerstone of Tacoma’s funky history.
No, it isn’t a bar for babies. This watering hold gets its names from the square footage. Roughly the size of a studio apartment in New York or a walk-in closet, this little hideaway is famous for its fresh pressed grapefruit greyhounds and cozy atmosphere. Right in the middle of downtown Spokane’s music scene, it is located behind a great Mexican joint called Neato Burrito. It’s a favorite spot of visiting musicians and locals alike.
In a frontier town that knows apples, desert life, and how to make a margarita, it is no surprise that you would stumble upon this Latin-inspired bar. South claims to host over 50 types of tequila and mescal. The constantly rotating menu of tequila-based cocktails and shots is enough to warrant a trip out to Washington’s heartland. The menu of Mexican-inspired cuisine is no slouch either. This bar makes a great stop on your way to or from local hot spot, Ohme Gardens.
Where do you like to drink in Washington?
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Chris and Tawny have had articles and videos published on USA TODAY TRAVEL, BBC Travel, Matador Network, as well as appeared as guest stars on TLC Asia's Fun Taiwan television series. When not on the road, you can find Chris and Tawny nestled in their home in Tacoma, Washington fueling up on coffee and cat cuddles while planning their future adventures. You can follow their travels on their blog, Instagram, and YouTube