Hotel bars aren't typically the first thought that comes to mind when planning a night out on the town. After all, they're usually full of sketchy ass prowlers looking to lure in meeting goers by flashing elite room keys as if it's a titanium American Express card--and unless you're a bonafide silver fox (meaning either your last name is Clooney, or you're a fifty-plus traveler that jets off to Tahiti every week in order to conduct business for a company that you own of course), no one's going to care that you valet park your car or that you've got a luggage case full of breakfast buffet coupons.
Hotel 1000's swanky BOKA Kitchen + Bar
As a hotel associate myself, I've studied the tricks of the trade of the lonely and took on the challenge to locate the top five hotel bars that didn't send shudders down my spine. Not only were these bars trendy, they were brimming with welcoming wait staff that helped wash away egos throughout the night while mixing up sophisticated drinks for the femme fetales standing nearby.
Hotel 1000, 1000 First Ave., 957-1000
With doormen standing by to assist your glamorous arrival, BOKA's bar is a welcoming sight upon entry. Modern clean architecture makes this bar appealing with glass bamboo stalks serving as a centerpiece behind a plush sofa. The light wood floor combined with marble slabs resembling wood chips makes it feel like you are walking into someone's luxury treehouse. Perhaps the best part of BOKA's bar is its intricate lighting--an infusion of color behind both the bar and cushioned alcove nearby. Come happy hour, BOKA offers a variety of delights such as Harissa Beef Skewers (served with charmoula sauce and carrot slaw) for $6 and a Spicy Chipotle Margarita (chipotle pepper puree, tequila, lime sour, and triple sec) for $7.
Serves: Breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner
Happy Hour: Daily from 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. & 10 p.m.-close
4. District Lounge
Hotel Deca's District Lounge is anything but dingy
Hotel Deca, 4507 Brooklyn Ave. NE, 206-634-2000
Located in the heart of the University District, the District Lounge is in the basement of the 158-room boutique hotel that could have easily served as an old cigar lounge back when the hotel was constructed in 1931. The dark wood bar with a mirror backdrop encourages anyone coming down into this dark and mysterious lair to order a whiskey on the rocks to go along with their fedora. The District offers cozy corners to escape from the city noise from above, or serves as a recluse spot to plug in a laptop and work. From Wednesday through Sunday, jazz musicians keep the lounge's spirits high with artists such as Eric Friedrich, the Lee Redfield Quartet, and the Ron Weinstein Trio. While the menu is a bit on the pricey side, the happy hour coordinates well with UW students finishing class or commuters looking for a cheap meal and cocktail--and could easily keep everyone in place until the last jazz performance ends.
Serves: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Hotel Monaco, 1101 Fourth Ave., 624-7755
Named after the pre-Civil War New Orleans cocktail (and some would say is the first cocktail ever invented in America), Sazerac is a classic retreat. The wait staff and bartenders dressed in elegant vests are attentive to guests wandering around the restaurant that goes deep, ending at an open kitchen with a fire oven. With tall ceilings and a large wrap-around bar, the ambient noise bounces from wall to wall can be a little distracting; that said, it's reassuring to know that the bar serves as a meeting place rather than a lonely stoop. On the weekends during brunch hours, Sazerac offers a Build-It-Yourself Bloody Mary bar where you can be the inventor of your very own creation, or you could choose one of Sazerac's established drinks such as the Bloody Bishop (consisting of sherry and vodka), or the Bloody Shame (no alcohol).
Serves: Breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner
Happy Hour: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Renaissance by Marriott, 515 Madison St., 583-0300
A little bit off the beaten path from the urban oasis of a bustling downtown, Vision's lounge sits on the 28th floor of the Renaissance by Marriott. After an ear-popping ride up to the lounge, hotel guests along with visitors are immediately faced with a panoramic view of the Seattle city skyline. Although it may not be as compelling as the John Hancock's Signature Room on the 95th floor, for a city occasionally rocked by earthquakes, Visions Lounge offers what I would consider the best view in Seattle aside from the Space Needle and Columbia Tower. Candl
elit tables line the windows away from the bar so that city gazers could feel the intimate wrath of their significant other above a metropolitan abyss. The menu features nibblers such as warm pita and hummus that are surprisingly reasonable figuring the VIP-like atmosphere of the lounge. Although the décor could use some heavy updating, Visions knows that no one will be looking at the carpet or the wall frames. And they're right.
The view from your table at Vision's Lounge at the Renaissance by Marriott
Happy Hour: 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
1. Six Seven
The Edgewater, 2411 Alaskan Way, 624-0670
The number one spot goes to the much deserved Six Seven lounge nestled alongside Elliott Bay inside the rustic Edgewater Hotel. With unobstructed views of the water, Six Seven is adorned with large decorative trees and branches that make it seem as if you are walking into a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The underground forest contains comfortable cushioned booths as well as tables beneath dim lighting that doesn't compete with the glowing moon outside. While music plays overhead tunes from Yellow Submarine, a large wall-mounted screen lights up with psychedelic images of 1920s burlesque dancers. Late night snackers are encouraged to choose from the bar's unique menu, which consists of fried asparagus or blackberry hot wings, while sipping on a cocktail or glass of wine at Seattle's premier hotel lounge.
Serves: Breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner
Happy Hour: 3 p.m.-6 p.m.