Top Seattle Bars of 2009

A couple of years behind trend-setting destinations like New York and San Francisco, Seattle finally had its Year of the Speakeasy in 2009. And, whether or not you want to party like it's 1929, there were plenty of knock-out watering holes that opened this year; here, in no particular order, are our favorites.

Updated: December 15, 2009

Best New Watering Holes

Knee High Stocking

1356 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122

If you want an easy bar--a sporty place where everyone knows your name and they've got your PBR waiting for you when you roll in--Knee High Stocking isn't for you. But, if you want a tiny, exclusive cocktail spot that gains you instant street cred simply by walking inside, seek out this Capitol Hill speakeasy and order the Dark and Stormy.

Bathtub Gin & Co.

2205 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

If you can find it, this closet of a bar in Belltown serves up some serious specialty drinks in a venue that is equal parts romantic date destination and apocalyptic bomb shelter. Two rooms--one downstairs and one upstairs--provide just enough space to enjoy a sip with a friend or two; good thing it's 2009 and you won't have to actually drink bathtub-brewed gin.

Tavern Law

1406 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

While many of the speakeasy-style bars place the focus on recreating the ambiance of secrecy and seduction we like to equate with the Prohibition, this Capitol Hill spot is all about the cocktails. Well crafted and utilizing an impressive selection of brown liquors, Tavern Law is the place to drink with cocktail connoisseurs, not drunks.

Shelter Lounge

4910 Leary Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

This Ballard beauty seems to have answered Seattleites' prayers: a bar that offers inside and outside seating suitable for our uniquely wet climate. The inside is rustic and cozy, but the covered outdoor area--with a working fireplace, heaters and its own bar access--is where it's at. An innovative menu of bar foods is just bonus--try the PB&J jalapeno poppers with cream cheese, peanut butter and spicy berry jam.