1413 E. Olive Way, 206-720-8188
noon-2 a.m. daily
ANYBODY CAN GO to Neighbours to take off his shirt, stand on a speaker, and pretend he's wild alongside a bunch of barely legal erect nipples, but it takes a real man to toss back some booze in a place where your seediest gay uncle might be able to score some action. Go ahead and do all the chi-chi, kitsch boy bars if you want, then, for a true test of your actual comfort with your bad homo self, take a walk over to any one of a number of queer bars where you won't hear house music or the words "Did you see Queer as Folk last night?"
There's no need to sum up the Crescent—the epitome of such places—because five minutes inside the tavern will say all you need to know. It is quite literally a hole in the wall—it seems to be dug into the side of the hill on Olive. It's almost all bar, though there's a small stage for drunken Monday-night karaoke and a space at the other end where a pool table will go once "renovations" are finished. A pencil-sketched collage depicting Mel Gibson, a scene from Dirty Dancing, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator hangs on one wall, along with an assortment of dangling Christmas lights and other pieces of art. The jukebox hosts not just Madonna, but Cher, Liza, Judy, the Andrews Sisters, and the Great Ladies of Country Music. Don't be surprised if you walk in and someone has set his miniature dog on the counter.
Once, a friend and I were hanging out here when an older fellow shuffled over and told us that '40s film star Ann Southern had died. After we were able to acknowledge who she was, the man gave us a pitcher of beer and walked out a little happier. If you don't know who Ann Southern is—or if you need the last names of Liza, Judy, and the Great Ladies of Country Music—you should leave the Crescent to its own private reveries.
Alternaqueers and straight hipsters alike have long since done their homework on the merits of the lounge tucked inside this Chinese restaurant. It's even more easily missed than the restaurant itself, which has a sign on the outside of its Broadway facade but no indication that anything is actually breathing in here, let alone gay. It is also, however, the working definition of a lounge: a dim, time-warp-of-a-room that somehow has a "life" of its own at night. Not that you could tell it's night—or even Earth, for that matter—because there are no windows. Highlights: very stiff booze and fish sticks just like Mom used to defrost. 606 Broadway, 206-322-5900.5 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat.-Wed.; noon- 2 a.m. Thurs-Fri. CAPITOL HILL
THE DOUBLE HEADER
The oldest gay bar in Seattle would be the best gay bar in Seattle if, like the easiest homos, you could just pick it up and put it down anywhere on Capitol Hill. On second thought, that might ruin it. You'd never know it from its worn, modest exterior, but Pioneer Square's Double Header looks like a big Old West saloon inside: almost entirely wood, with a stage, a staircase, and a long, gorgeous, antique bar that runs seemingly half the length of the wall. Though you'd have to respect the mild, drunken old straight guys who are regular customers, if you showed up with 10 of your lowest-maintenance friends, the place would be yours—friendly staff, jukebox, pool tables, and all. 407 Second Ave., 206-464-9918. 10 a.m.- midnight Sun.-Thurs.; 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat. PIONEER SQUARE
Not only does Hana's boast teriyaki and, as its sign indicates, "cocktails, espresso, and snacks," but, hey, it's gay! The glorified shack is right downtown, but feels hidden, which is apropos (inside, even the bar and few tables are separated from the restaurant by a faux-wood sliding partition). A good guess might be that its clientele consists of down-and-out but not "out" downtowners, though, honestly, if you can decipher the common link amongst its amiably random, older patrons— other than alcoholism—you're a sharp fella. Everybody here seems to know everybody else—all eight of 'em. The bartenders are fab, the hooch is hard and cheap, and the unbeatably surreal Sunday night karaoke is always up for grabs. Tip: Don't play anything depressing on the jukebox or the place will implode. 1914 Eighth Ave., 340-1591. 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Sun.; noon-2 a.m. Mon.-Sat. DOWNTOWN.