Ron weinstein trio brass tacks q4zyzh

Because I mean how cool is this? Ron Weinstein Trio at Brass Tacks. 

Last Friday night at Cafe Paloma in Pioneer Square, a party erupted over more than just the food. Which was its usual full-throated Mediterranean self, from the meze platter and kofte with rice all the way through to the fine baklava for dessert.

Parties spontaneously combust all the time in this intimate two-room space, music or no. The sunny, carefree Paloma just ignites that kind of community. But what happened Friday night grew as much from the music, a varied lineup of three acoustic acts—all local—starting at 7:30pm. Reservations were essential. The place was packed. The windows streamed. The people danced. It was a magical night. 

We all know of clubs that offer dinner—the Triple Door, the Royal Room—but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about restaurants that offer music…and wondering why more of them don’t do it. Oh, many food snobs will sniff that it takes the emphasis off the dining experience. Plus it’s tough, logistically. Many places don’t have room. Dodging dancers in cramped aisles isn’t every waitstaff’s happy place. Even when dancing doesn’t happen (the case in most spots) music will add a subjective ingredient to the experience that not all diners will like. Most often the music in restaurants is jazz—and maybe someone doesn’t like jazz…? It’s not like restaurants are afraid to be loud, for goodness’ sake.

I get it. I just don’t share it.

Fortunately, neither does the romancey Italian stalwart Serafina, which dependably offers live jazz duos and combos Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Or the festive Capitol Hill bar, Barca, which hosts a jazz trio Thursdays 9pm to midnight. Both Seattle's El Gaucho and Bellevue's, which start the live piano jazz every night at 6pm. Canlis, which even in the post-Walt Wagner era fires up the jazz piano 6pm weekdays, 6:30 Fridays and Saturdays. Georgetown’s inimitably cool Brass Tacks, which features a jazz trio Thursdays through Saturdays, 7pm to 10pm.

And, I discovered on recent visits, South Lake Union’s new steakhouse, Butcher’s Table, which offers live singer-songwriter music in its main floor casual dining area, from 7:30pm every night but Sunday. Check out my review of Butcher’s Table’s food in this month’s Seattle Met.

And please, leave a comment about the live music restaurants I’ve undoubtedly left out.

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Editor’s Pick

El Gaucho: Bellevue

Recommended Menu Multiple Locations

Waiters in tuxedos, diners in sequins, cigar smoke in the backroom lounge, a two-person, triple-digit surf-and-turf plate—this is Seattle? Yeah, dollface, an...


Dancing, Happy Hour, Late Night, Singles Scene 1510 11th Ave

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Brass Tacks Closed

$$ American/New American, Burgers 6031 Airport Way S

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$$$$ Northwest 2576 Aurora Ave N

Nearly seven decades of history, hospitality, and unstoppable views from atop Queen Anne Hill cemented Canlis’s icon status long ago. But third-generation ow...

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El Gaucho

$$$$ Steak House Multiple Locations

Waiters in tuxedos, diners in sequins—this is Seattle? Yeah, dollface, and brought to you by a restaurateur who prizes the sheer theater of the dining experi...

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Serafina Osteria and Enoteca

$$$ Italian 2043 Eastlake Ave E

It’s rustic Italian cuisine, in a setting so unabashedly sexy it makes raging lust look just a little uptight. Against a backdrop in all the sultry colors of...

The Triple Door

$$$ Pan Asian 216 Union St.

Not a bad seat in the house at this intimate concert venue, whose satays and stir-fries come straight from Wild Ginger’s storied menu upstairs. For more Sea...

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Cafe Paloma

$$ Mediterranean 93 Yesler Way

One of the reasons Pioneer Square wage slaves don't want to leave their 'hood. A sweet lunch stop (plus dinner weekends) with a nice sturdy lentil soup, sala...