Seattle's music scene and the restaurant industry have one major thing in common: They're ever vibrant and changing. While it's hard to predict what's here to stay and what's only a passing fashion in their respective spheres, the fact is that when the two partner, and willing, welcoming restaurants present live, local showcases, our neighborhoods draw closer to the arts--and each other--through a common love of music. Leaving Seattle's musical dinner theaters (Jazz Alley, Triple Door, etc.) aside, here are five much-loved establishments that bring Seattle together through the shared table of music and food.
Full Tilt Ice Cream: OK, so it's technically not a "restaurant," but who doesn't like to start with dessert from time to time? This family-owned ice cream shop-- with locations in Columbia City, the U District, and White Center (and soon, Ballard)--is the best place to enjoy something sweet alongside a mix of musicians doing their thing. While taking in a scoop of their housemade Mexican chocolate, you could also be treated to the party hip-hop of the Gnu Deal, the punk sounds of Cold Lake, an Old Time Music Jam, or amateur DJ's spinning their own record collections during the shop's open-mike style Vinyl Appreciation Nights. (Oh yeah, they serve beer too.)
|Nova Devonie and Tom Bennett doing their thing at St. Clouds.|
Waid's Haitian Restaurant and Bar: For those of you mourning the loss of Hidmo, the Ethiopian restaurant in the CD that hosted multicultural evenings of world music (as well as hip-hop showcases hosted by local producer Vitamin D), Waid's, on the edge of First Hill, is where you need to wander. The cuisine is traditionally Haitian, with homey Caribbean plates like spicy habanero slaw and tostones (fried plantains), but the music is as multicultural as it gets, and its nightly music menu offers everything from live jazz (the Killerbees play there regularly) and reggae to open-mike benefit shows and blues dancing every Tuesday night.
Catherine Anstett Zambian musician Fortune performing at Waid's.
Faire Gallery and Wine Bar: We love this cafe on East Olive because it's unpretentious and cozy and their prices are so damn reasonable. Its casual bistro fare, inexpensive French wines by the glass, and variety of local music--always free, all-ages, favoring experimental electronic sounds--keep this artsy cafe bustling with underage coffee swillers, budget diners getting their money's worth, and plenty of eccentric artists and bands.
They pack 'em in at Faire.
New Orleans Creole Restaurant: Serving traditional Creole dinners like Chicken Rochambeau, gumbo, and jambalaya, this Pioneer Square institution also delivers a heavy-hitting weekly jazz and blues lineup. Among regular performers is Clarence Acox, a New Orleans native and music director of Garfield High's award-winning jazz band. He plays his "straight-ahead jazz" there every Wednesday night with his Legacy Quartet.
Clarence Acox is right at home behind his drum kit.