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If you're traveling this week, you may already have a hotel


Seattle's Top 10 Hotel Bars

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If you're traveling this week, you may already have a hotel bar close at hand. But should you be stuck at home for the holidays, a trip to a hotel bar may be the cheapest way to feel like a jetsetter this season. At the finest hotel bars, tourists and locals alike can share in a romance and sophistication which eludes bars patronized solely by working stiffs.

*See AlsoSeattle's Top 10 Neighborhood Bars (Urban Division)

Seattle's Top 10 Neighborhood Bars (Suburban Division)

Here, our picks for the best hotel bars in Seattle. As always, the finalists are listed in no particular order, Erin Thompson compiled our contributors' comments and the photos represent hotel bars generally, not Seattle bars specifically.

10. Sazerac, Hotel Monaco

Sazerac is the Southern-themed bar and restaurant next to the über-trendy Hotel Monaco. Its celebrity sightings have included Adam Lambert, Fergie, and Sean Penn in an intense discussion with Eddie Vedder. But it's the Monday-Saturday happy hour, not the potential for A-list encounters, that draws so many downtown drinkers after work. The house wine and beer list drops to $3. Chow priced at $4 and under includes gussied-up comfort food like mini pulled-pork sandwiches and sweet-potato fries with sea salt. The servers manifest true Southern hospitality and pour generously, meaning you should enjoy, tip well, but proceed with caution.

Alan Light
9. 67 Lounge, Edgewater Hotel

This gorgeous bar inside the Edgewater Hotel has mastered the art of ambiance. Looking out over Puget Sound, it's adorned with decorative trees, dim lighting, and walls graced with projected images of burlesque dancers. Guests can nosh on fancy snacks like blackberry hot wings and tandoori lamb sliders. Beer is available, but you're more likely to feel in tune with your surroundings by ordering a glass of wine.

8. Tulio Ristorante, Hotel Vintage Park

A fedora, or maybe even spats, wouldn't look out of place in Tulio's handsome 1920s-era dining room. The food is far more contemporary. An Italian eyebrow might tilt at smoked salmon ravioli with lemon cream or grilled calamari with spicy Tuscan Rice beans and a parsley aioli, but chef Walter Pisano treats his ingredients harmoniously. Meats may come out overcooked; pastas and risottos, never. This is food even society matrons would unclench their jaws for, served in a room that makes its guests feel like they're richer than their bank accounts would attest.

7. BOKA Kitchen and Bar, Hotel 1000

Downtown's BOKA is a restaurant so L.A. you can almost smell the smog, with chain-mail and cherry-wood surfaces, multicolored LCD panels, and a social swirl at the bar. The kitchen puts out playful, precious food to match, like Dungeness-crab cupcakes crowned in a pouf of crème fraîche icing. At times the food skews too sweet, and the service too tart, but it's certainly never dull, and diners with a tolerance for ambition will enjoy the razzle-dazzle.

Southern Foodways Alliance

6. Bernard's on Seneca, Hotel Seattle

Two things make for a pleasurable hotel experience: a great basement bar and ghosts. The Hotel Seattle has both. Well, allegedly. It's definitely got the great basement bar, Bernard's, which teems with lawyers and judges and bureaucrats who need a safe place to drunkenly hatch a devious plan without fear of it ending up on the public record. It's is an underground dungeon-style diner with a "lords and ladies" theme. If that isn't enough to charm you, they've got sausages. The "assorted sausage for two" platter includes the odds and ends from various bratwurst and knockwurst links. As for the ghosts, a Pioneer Square bartender who once manned the check-in desk says that they most definitely outnumber living guests.

5. Polar Bar, The Arctic Club

Set up by an understated marble portico and a front desk filled with vintage photographs of original members in bowler hats and starched collars, the Polar Bar at The Arctic Club makes you want to be a better drinker. The bar and lobby within, wrapped in warm wood and regal blues, presents itself as a backdrop to your good time. There are discreet deco details throughout the space, with a few map desks, a pool table, separated seating areas, and a giant fireplace. The bartender wears a brocaded white coat and will make you any manner of period-appropriate cocktails. This bar was built for random acts of glamour and decadence--so ignore the conventioneers in their sensible shoes and lanyards and order another perfect Sazerac while you touch up your lipstick.

4. The Terrace, Fairmont Olympic

Sundays through Thursdays, business travelers, newlyweds, socialites, and even their teacup Yorkies gather in the Fairmont Olympic's lobby for hors d'oeuvres and martinis. Prices still sound a little steep for happy hour? Request the "endless starters" ($12), which feature as many decadent dishes as you can stomach, including asparagus salad, tuna carpaccio, and Dungeness crab/cheddar sandwiches with truffles fries. Note, not all guests are shameless enough to take advantage of this special, so once your spread arrives, it will be subjected to envious stares. Savor the moment.

Hotel de la Paix Geneve.jpg
Hotel de la Paix Geneve

3. Trace Bar, W Seattle

The W's Trace Bar, an intimate lounge with dim lighting, is where hotel visitors (predominantly businessmen and silver foxes) and local drinkers gather in equal number. Signature cocktails are fanciful concoctions made with fresh squeezed fruit juices. Satiating appetizers include smoked eggplant salad and chicken kebobs with almond yogurt. If you want 25-cent wings, this isn't the place for you. But you will have a lovely evening and possibly score a number from a George Clooney lookalike. Better still, he'll be staying just upstairs.

2. The Hunt Club, Sorrento Hotel

Hotel bars have a misplaced reputation for outrageous prices, a prejudice nowhere more unfair than at the Sorrento Hotel's Hunt Club bar. If this place were in midtown Manhattan, every night would be chock-full of Patrick Batemans. The Hunt Club has the best happy-hour deal in town, when you figure in food and circuses. Beginning at 4 p.m., running until 6 p.m., and starting back up at 9 p.m., the bar offers $2, $3, $4, and $5 snacks. Dark wood and upholstered booths conjure visions of gathering grand Pooh-Bahs or that club the Dukes belong to in Trading Places. Surrounding yourself with the old-school opulence of the Hunt Club bar with $10 worth of food and pistachios can make you feel like at least a hundred bucks.

1. Oliver's Lounge, Mayflower Park Hotel

Located in the historic Mayflower Park Hotel, this bar--open since 1976--exudes old school class. The bartenders here know their stuff, so well that they won't bat an eye if a businessman comes in for a discreet cocktail before noon. The menu focuses on martinis and a couple absinthe-infused cocktails. Patrons who want something to nibble on while imbibing should drop in during the weekday happy hour (4:30-6 p.m.) for a smorgasbord of free (!) breads, crackers, cheeses, and fruit.

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