Miir seattle qusptw

Miir

Image: Andrew Waits

Walk into Miir on Stone Way and chances are your first thought—What a beautiful place!—will be followed by, But what is it?

It’s the future. Miir, a blend of the Russian word for “peace” and environmentalist pioneer John Muir’s last name, began as a water-bottle maker channeling a portion of its proceeds into clean-water projects across the developing world. They’ve added lines of socially conscious growlers, bags, even bikes. But what likely drew you is the coffee, or the breakfast burritos, or the 21 rotating beers on tap.

It’s the new breed of retail, restaurant, and bar mashup increasingly found all over town—in bookstores (Little Oddfellows Cafe in Elliott Bay Books, Raconteur and Vios in Third Place Books), in bike shops (Métier, Peloton), in clothing stores from the boutique (E. Smith Mercantile) to the corporate (Nordstrom).

Why? In an age of online competitors, brick-and-mortar retailers can crank the allure of their physical spaces by offering food and drink. Twenty-one brews on tap is no small enticement—for obvious reasons, yes, but also because those taps create community, enhance the brand, increase the physical equivalent of “time on page”—indeed, build a sense of place.

The results are exquisite gems like Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe on Capitol Hill, whose precisely ordered rows of scientific, mathematical, and technical titles conspire with fine coffee and flaky pastries and thoughtful day- and nighttime entrees into a single eloquent aesthetic, alive with the authenticity and community one can’t find on a screen—but only hidden in the folds of real life.

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Editor’s Pick

Ada's Technical Bookstore and Cafe

$ Bakery/Pastry Shop, Coffee Shop, Vegetarian 425 15th Ave E

Ada’s is a house bookstore and vegetarian cafe along 15th whose unpromising exterior opens like a geode: a sparkling brilliance of crisp white cabinetry and ...

Editor’s Pick

E. Smith Mercantile

Small Plates 208 First Avenue South

Métier Racing and Coffee

$$ Coffee Shop 1017 E Union St

Shiny as a stainless crankset, Metier is a timbered three-level cyclist’s dream, with yoga classes, training facilities—and a cafe. The healthy food leans to...

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Vios Cafe

$$ Greek Multiple Locations

My big fat Greek deli: A festive family room of a spot importing all the community and color of the Greek marketplace to the St. Joe’s neighborhood of North ...

Editor’s Pick

Raconteur

$$ American/New American 5041 Wilson Ave S

Raconteur, the all-day eatery inside the new Seward Park Third Place Books, is a bright, vaulted enclosure of air and pine—a sprawling Big Sky State of newly...

Editor’s Pick

Little Oddfellows

$ American/New American 1521 10th Ave

In back of Capitol Hill’s venerable raw-timbered Elliott Bay Books is Little Oddfellows, restaurant visionary Linda Derschang’s mini version of her Oddfellow...