The Best Dive Bars in Seattle

It’s important to have a few oases where nobody knows your name—anonymous, but spirited dives where you can pound a beer and be on your way (or sit stagnant for the next eight hours). From back room blue-collar hangouts to nouveau dives to Hells Angels haunts, these are just a few of the best places to hide from the daylight in Seattle.  –Andrew Bohrer

  • 1

    The 9lb Hammer

    This working-class Georgetown bar is the kind of place that a sitcom might use in an episode that seeks to illustrate how the dad is still a badass or a reality show wherein college kids go out to “slum it,” but end up frightened. Complete with a pool table frequented by Hells Angels and their own rich chocolate Georgetown Porter on draft, the 9lb Hammer is a bona fide neighborhood gem.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • games
  • 2

    The Chelan Café's Ebb Tide Room

    Founded in 1938, the Chelan Café still looks like the sort of place that Richie Cunningham could walk into at any moment and order a milkshake. But the bar in Chelan's back room, called the Ebb Tide Room, is full of dockworkers and washed-up PIs—the kind of bar you’ve driven by 100 times without going in. Only a dive that is really a dive has this sort of beautiful anonymity, and no doubt it will be on this earth longer than any of us.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • cheap date
    • bar food
  • 3

    Fort St. George

    Fort St. George is a curious Japanese restaurant hidden above a vintage video game store in a multi-use building. The food is cheap, and not necessarily Japanese (unreasonable portions of spaghetti are the main attraction). And the bar—whose vibe is reminiscent of the noodle bar scene from Blade Runner, with elderly Japanese grandmas punctuating the bar stools between both hipsters and construction workers—is well-stocked with shochu, which generally shows up via a hefty four-ounce pour.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
  • 4

    Pacific Inn Pub

    The Pac Inn is an endangered dive bar in Fremont Stone Way, a street that acts as the vestigial industrial barrier between breakneck condo growth and the dry docks and metal fabricators by Lake Union. While the Stone Way is increasingly plagued by homogenous, Pinterest-inspired dining, The Pacific Inn eschews truffle oil and pea vines for local beer, a jukebox that has all of the best day drinking tracks possible—think Nina Simone, the Rolling Stones and Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain—and amazing, sobriety-saving fish tacos.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • juke box
    • craft beer
  • 5

    The People's Pub

    The People's Pub specializes in traditional Swabian pub food (think spätzle, maultasche and pork 15 ways) and board games. It has long been an old Ballard destination for its selection of single malts, which are half off on Sunday nights.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • games
    • lots of whiskey
  • 6

    Montana

    Montana is a nouveau dive bar, meaning that it did not fall from grace to become a dive—it was born this way. Birthed by Rachel's Ginger Beer—Seattle’s farmers market ginger beer darling—Montana is just rustic enough to be considered a dive, but also progressive enough that it features a rotating list of cocktails (and fresh ginger beer) on draft. Thanks to the recently-added outdoor space, Montana is also is the perfect place to sit and drink a Greyhound when the sun is shining.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • outdoor / patio
  • 7

    The White Horse Trading Co.

    The White Horse isn't exactly a dive bar. This tiny kiosk of sorts is located in an alleyway within Pike Place Market—a train wreck of tourists and screeching minors—offering a much-needed respite that sells no fish, contains no minors and has both a very friendly staff and a fireplace. The bar contains just three beers, three wines, a beer engine for cask ale, shots of sake and about as many seats as there are drink options.  It also doubles as a used bookstore and dog bar.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
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