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Seattle's Top 10 : Nightlife - Top 10 Local Microbrews

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Using the word “grunge” to describe Seattle’s music will mark you as an unhip outsider or a journalist looking for verbal shortcuts.


The drinking age for all alcoholic beverages in Washington is 21, so have your ID handy when seeking entrance to taverns or bars.


  1. The Showbox

    This elegant 1900s Art Deco room with state-of-the-art audio and computer controlled lighting has been used as a concert hall, a comedy club, and even a rental space for a Talmud Torah Hebrew Academy Bingo series. Artists as dissimilar as Al Jolson, the Mills Brothers, Gypsy Rose Lee, and the Ramones have performed here. Now, the 1,000-seat venue books successful touring rock and hip-hop acts.

    • 1426 1st Ave

    • 206 628 0221

  2. Crocodile Café

    This Belltown café opened in the early 1990s, just after major Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney changed the face of rock music. It’s still a destination for new talented bands, local or touring, appealing to audiences who favor college rock radio and singer-songwriters. Features inexpensive fare, and the owner’s husband happens to be Peter Buck of R.E.M.

    • 2200 2nd Ave

    • 206 441 5611

    Crocodile Café
  3. Chop Suey

    This club dominates the smoke-filled, hard rock scene on Capitol Hill, but does so with style and flair. Glowing red lights and lanterns shed a bit of light, while images of Bruce Lee add to the kitschy theme. Most of the acts are local or regional rock outfits, although hip-hop rules on Sunday nights.

    • 1325 E Madison

    • 206 324 8000

  4. Tractor Tavern

    A bastion of great music, this place thrives as an alternative to clubs elsewhere in Seattle that are known for mining hard rock acts. The Tractor primarily books bands with repertoire in the vein of country western, rockabilly, bluegrass, or musicians who seamlessly fuse all those styles into something quite original.

    • 5213 Ballard Ave NW

    • 206 789 3599

  5. Consolidated Works

    The only multidisciplinary contemporary arts center in the Pacific Northwest is housed in a cavernous space large enough for jumbo jet assembly. ConWorks brings artists and patrons together with the philosophy that all creative art forms speak one language. The facility includes three artist-in-residence studios, a 150-seat theater, the 50-seat movie hall, a 6,000-ft (1,829-m) visual art space, and a café.

    • 500 Boren Ave N

    • 206 381 3218

  6. Gallery 1412

    If Gallery 1412’s room is as small as ConWorks is gargantuan, the artistic vision is equally as imposing. The award-winning curators book acts dedicated to experimental music in a no-frills setting. Patrons listen and learn about contemporary composition, electroacoustic and electronic music, free improvization, and out jazz.

    • 1412 18th Ave

    • 206 322 1533

  7. The Triple Door

    In the space of a former 1920s-era vaudeville theater upscale audiences soak up the best of jazz, rock, cabaret, and blues while enjoying French wine and cuisine.

    • 216 Union St

    • 206 838 4333

  8. El Corazón

    Formerly known as Graceland, El Corazón proudly flaunts its roots as a crusty, smoky rock club. It’s a mecca for those seeking strong drinks and a favorite venue for many of the area’s hard-working rock bands.

    • 109 Eastlake Ave E

    • 206 381 3094

  9. Sunset Tavern

    This tavern is primarily an outlet for start-up bands of the ear-shattering punk rock persuasion. The room’s red decor and lighting seems to take inspiration from a Victorian bordello. Lots of bands have their first gigs here.

    • 5433 Ballard Ave NW

    • 206 784 4880

  10. Neumo’s

    The resurrected Moe’s is now Neumo’s, Capitol Hill’s most hip and happening music venue. The club is back to basics with a strong show of rock bands and DJ dance nights.

    • 925 E Pike St

    • 206 709 9467

Top 10 Local Microbrews

  1. Redhook

    Seattle’s earliest micro-brewers began in May 1981.

    • 14300 NE 145th St

  2. Hale’s Brewery

    Savor delicious brews and pub grub.

    • 4301 Leary Way NW

    • 206 706 1544

  3. Maritime Pacific

    Order a pint of Nightwatch at this tavern.

    • 1514 NW Leary Way

    • 206 782 6181

  4. Elliott Bay Brewing Company

    West Seattle’s bastion of microbrew and pub fare.

    • 206 932 8695

  5. McMenamin’s

    This chain of pubs is known as Dad Watson’s in Fremont.

    • 3601 Fremont Ave N

    • 206 632 6505

  6. Elysian

    The Hill’s best pub makes legendary India pale ale and extra-special bitter.

    • 1221 E Pike St

    • 206 860 1920

  7. Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery & Restaurant

    Serves excellent beers and great faux-Egyptian label design too.

    • 1201 1st Ave S

    • 206 682 3377

  8. Big Time Brewery & Alehouse

    Draws young and old to sample handcrafted ales.

    • 4133 University Way NE

    • 206 545 4509

  9. Pike Brewing Company

    Best for microbrew, pub food, or brewing supplies.

    • 1415 1st Ave

    • 206 622 6044

  10. Mac & Jack’s

    Try the African Amber for thirst-quenching nirvana.

    • 17825 NE 65th St, Redmond

    • 425 558 9697

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