Il Bistro Pike Place Market
Image: Young Lee

David Nelson at Il Bistro

THE VERY FIRST Market bar whose doorway I darkened was the noirish, exposed-brick Alibi Room across from the Post Alley gum wall. I instantly declared it my favorite Market bar. A month later on an unseasonably warm fall day, a coworker suggested happy hour on the rooftop deck at Maximilién —we worked our way through a bucket of Kronenbourgs and an assiette de fromage as the sun cast a golden glow upon the waters of Puget Sound.

Suddenly I had a new favorite, though Can Can —with its phalanx of absinthes behind the bar and its sex-charged cabaret acts—was soon contending for the title. And let’s not forget Il Bistro , the candlelit charms of which are amplified by the perfect concoctions churned out by an all-star bar staff.

Maximilien’s patio was soon compared to the Pink Door’s, which got extra points for froufrou effervescent cocktails and acrobatic acts between dinner courses. And then of course there’s the crazy White Horse Trading Company, a British-themed bar that 
defies description, though lord knows I’ve tried to describe it time and again, when asked what bar a visitor must not miss.

In the end I concluded that there was no need, really, to name a favorite place. Any real Market imbiber will tell you: The best way to experience a night out here is to toss all plans aside and let the place happen to you.