Best Rooftop Bars - Seattle, Part 2
Chances are you've heard of the finely crafted cuisine and cocktail culture that's been keeping Seattle in the headlines. It's not just about the coffee anymore. And seriously, what's better than drinking and dining while taking in gorgeous panoramic views of the city? I know how you like it and I got you.
This is your list for where to go when you're looking for sweeping vistas of glittering water outlined by distant gradients of mountain range, white boats sailing toward distant shores, and tall glass buildings reflecting the teal colored ocean by day and by night the pinks and oranges of our sunsets. You didn't ask for much.
Of course, these are all best enjoyed during the summer, but many rooftop bars accommodate for the chilly and quite possibly wet e-v-e-r-y other season of the year.
I shared the first four, slightly more casual, rooftop bars in my LAST POST
For the final three I enlisted help from my photographer friend, BEL. Together we braved the thick smoke of last summer to capture the beauty that surrounded us. Rain or shine, cloud or smoke, it's impossible to find a bad angle when you're on top of the world.
High above the city at the top of the Thompson Hotel sits a glass-enclosed lounge which opens onto a large deck with panoramic views of the Puget Sound and a birds-eye view of the city below. Get there early if you want seats near the window or balcony edge, and plan on staying a while because the service is notoriously slow when it's busy. And it's ALWAYS busy.
At the bar you'll find a few shareable appetizers and an impressive cocktail menu, including a mocktail called 'trust your bartender'. And for $150 you can order a group cocktail which arrives at your table in a golden flamingo. I've heard it serves about 8 drinks.
The menu consists of a few shareable appetizers like chicken satay with pickles and peanut sauce, prawns with rapini and sambal lime. and salmon poke with cucumber, avocado and tobiko.The seafood is fresh but I felt the poke could be more flavorful, and the chicken was a little chewy.
Have your camera ready because you'll be surrounded by beauty on all sides, from the plating and interior decor to the scenic vision of the Seattle sun setting over the ocean, coloring the mountains in the distance.
photos by Bel
They have a couple vegetarian options, including grilled tofu with pickled cucumber relish
They add a 20% service charge automatically
Stays open till midnight
No happy hour
No reservations required
The hotel offers a valet service and there are a few parking garages nearby, as well as street parking which is free on Sundays.
photos by Bel
The Mbar feels a little prestigious, a little VIP. Let me explain. Upon arrival, you will enter a cave-like candle lit waiting room. The inscription "I don't need fun to have alcohol" greets you cheekily from within its large frame. Upon the whim and will of the hostess, you will be escorted to a private elevator leading up to the 14th floor. Once the elevator opens, you will find yourself in a long windowed corridor which opens into a swanky lounge and finally out onto the patio where you will definitely want to find yourself on sunny evenings.
Named Seattle’s ‘supper club in the sky’ by Providence Cicero of the Seattle Times, you can be sure the view isn't the only thing held to a high standard. The menu, created by Chef Jason Stratton, of Top Chef, showcases local ingredients with a Mediterranean influence. Lamb carpaccio with figs, sea beans & salmon roe, braised farm green beans with tomato, olive oil & feta or grilled trout with caramelized onions, avocado, labneh & fenugreek... how to choose? Definitely try the Persian cucumber tzatziki with fresh pita. Bel and I didn't order it and immediately regretted when we saw the soft bread and creamy cheese being consumed by the party next to us. The wine and cocktails are equally fantastic. With names like 'Swept Away, I'm Stolen' and 'Tell No One' I half way expected Bond to deliver them himself.
The menu inside is different and slightly more formal than the menu outside.
Happy Hour M-TH 4-6 pm with discounts on a few selected food items, as well as wine, beer and well spirits
Stays open till 10pm
You can find special events and happenings on their Facebook Page
Parking garage underneath the building as well as street parking, free on Sundays
I've saved the best for last, if that's possible. They're all pretty phenom. The Smith Tower is special in that it's the oldest skyscraper in Seattle, and was once the tallest outside of NYC. Built in the early 1900's, and in spite of several renovations, it has managed to preserve much of its historical charm.
You enter the Tower via a little souvenir shop, where you can pick out old fashioned candies or soda while you wait for the self-guided tour to begin. Winding your way through the historical exhibit, you will eventually find yourself in a polished marble hallway being herded toward a large brass plated elevator ready to whisk you up to the 35th floor.
At the top you will find the Observatory, once known as the Chinese Temple. It was furnished by the last Empress of China, Cixi, and has retained some of her influence, although now it is more of a speak easy inspired lounge, surrounded by a caged 360 degree open-air viewing deck. We're talking hundreds of miles of views from Mt Rainer to the Puget Sound and beyond. You even have a closeup view of the stadiums. Nosebleed seats anyone? Ed Sheeran was playing last time we were there.
In the lounge you'll find a prohibition era menu including the Smith Tower Sazerac with local rye whiskey and grapefruit bitters, the Socialite with Copperworks New Oak Gin and cardamom bitters, and the White Negroni with Mischief Gin and Lillet Blanc. The small plates are decent and beautifully plated, but probably won't blow your mind. Although, my kids and I really enjoy their Beecher's Grilled Cheese with apple butter on sourdough dipped in tomato soup. It's surprisingly tasty.
Open till 11pm Sun-Wed, and till midnight Thur-Sat
Food service ends a couple hours before closing
They have a photo booth inside that will email you photos for free
Sit in the Wishing Chair engraved with a dragon and phoenix, and according to legend you will find true love within a year. It worked for Smith's daughter.
There's a 3 story penthouse at the top of the tower, but you can't live there, it's already taken.
There's an entry fee. Save 10% by booking online
Prices: Adults $19, Seniors, Military & Children 5-12 yrs $15, Locals $12 (purchased at the tower only)
Balboa & Vintage Jazz on the first Monday of every month $20/ticket
You can purchase a Rum-Runner's Card which gives you unlimited access to the Exhibit and Observatory year-round, as well as other perks like a complimentary cocktail on your birthday
Parking lot right across the street, $12/day on weekends, as well as limited street parking, free on Sundays