Tucked-Away Bars and Off-Menu Eats

A Little-Known fact: Secret bites taste better.

By Seattle Met Staff January 2, 2014 Published in the January 2014 issue of Seattle Met


Post-shopping Recovery The bar in E. Smith Mercantile

E. Smith Mercantile

It’s a charmingly homespun dry-goods shop up front and a party in the back. Well, technically the back is a U-shaped cocktail bar serving libations rooted in the Roaring Twenties—perfect for drinkers who appreciate a good curry tincture or horehound-infused bourbon.  208 First Ave S, Pioneer Square, 206-641-7250


Bypass the hordes queued up outside for sandwiches and settle into the back room of this Pioneer Square legend for a leisurely five-course lunch. It features plenty of cured meat and whatever hearty Italian fare the kitchen feels like making that day. The catch: You have to call about two months in advance to book for groups of eight to 10. Backroom lunch happens on Wednesday and Thursday only and is a rocking bargain at $45 a person.  309 Third Ave S, Pioneer Square, 206-621-8772;

Jewel Box at MistralKitchen

The dining room’s regular fare is plenty artful, but a hidden restaurant -within a restaurant serves nothing but tasting menus, a four-, six-, or eight-course parade of luxe ingredients, and technique that lets the kitchen go unabashedly upscale. Order a custom wine flight or peruse the superfancy cocktail list not available in the main restaurant.  2020 Westlake Ave, South Lake Union, 206-623-1922

Bathtub Gin and Co.

The speakeasy trend has had its moment, and yet cocktail aficionados still do well to duck into the alley behind Second Avenue. There, a boiler room turned bilevel hideout serves cocktails wrought with care and a hot toddy approaching local legend status. These days the smallest of signs out front helps guide the way. 2205 Second Ave, Belltown, 206-728-6069


Trophy Room at Shorty’s

Behind the sticky floors, the ringing and plinking pinball machines, and the scruffy crowds downing spicy pepper cheese dogs, Frito pies, and cheap beer lurks a dimly lit cocktail lounge serving drinks that are the sophisticated antithesis of what’s happening outside its doors. Mind the odd hours (the bar is open Thursday through Saturday) and try to grab one of the swingy turquoise leather wingback chairs at the bar.  2222 Second Ave, Downtown, 206-441-5449


Tin Table

This brick-walled haunt for killer shoestring fries and a surprisingly extensive champagne list hides on the second floor of the Oddfellows Building, where it began as a companion to the adjacent dance studio. The kitchen serves grownup plates like pecan risotto and grilled octopus, though nightlifers will appreciate that you can get the full food menu until 1am.  915 E Pine St, Capitol Hill, 206-320-8458

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