Summer's official start is a ways off, but this burst of sunny days has best-patio listicles blooming like dandelions. While most of its patios aren't quite open, South Lake Union is about to become one of the city's most accommodating neighborhoods for anyone looking to eat and drink outside.
Between the neighborhood's relative spaciousness, all these new developments designed to soften hard lines with outdoor courtyards, and the nearby Lake Union waterfront, the place is lousy with great patios. Ethan Stowell's newly open Ballard Pizza Company location at Ninth and Westlake has a covered patio strung with white lights. Doughnut maker Frost is readying an outpost in Amazon’s Bigfoot building at Ninth and Mercer, complete with an adjacent patio where you can repair with lunch or a post-work glass of wine. Nearby at the 400 Fairview building, Bar Harbor will serve oysters, beer, and wine on a big covered deck (and let's not forget the rooftop Mbar project happening upstairs).
In case one outdoor oyster bar isn't enough for you, Matt's in the Market and Radiator Whiskey owner Dan Bugge is readying a tavern and walkup fish and chips window over on Lake Union, both situated around a sizable waterfront patio with its own freestanding oyster station.
It's a strange dynamic when perhaps the biggest restaurant story happening in Seattle right now—the restaurants descending on South Lake Union—only affects a limited cluster of people. For those of us who don't work or live in the area, it can be hard to justify battling the weeknight egress of cars and people from the Amazon campus just to get a beer, or to make your way there on a weekend.
It just might be Seattle's love of drinking outdoors in sunny weather that finally integrates South Lake Union's restaurant scene with the rest of the city.