Seattle is blessed with a bounty of late-night restaurants, places that welcome the tipsy (possibly drunken) masses Friday and Saturday nights—maybe during the week too, if you're lucky. To aid your bar-hopping and snacking plans, we've rounded up a slew of spots from the obligatory Dick's mention to the much beloved 24-hour diners. They're organized into three categories—1am, 2am, and even later—based on weekend hours and food availability; some (Dino's, Liberty, Re:Public) are open even later serving drinks only. And while some restaurants dole out fried chicken all day every day (we're looking at you, Lost Lake), many don't. Please check their respective websites before showing up at 3am on a Tuesday looking for grub. You'll thank us later.
It’s the most come-as-you-are French cafe in town, suffused with a casual dailiness that makes it dangerously easy to become a regular at the Capitol Hill bistro. Pop into the front room for a quick croque monsieur and some televised European football, or linger in the obscured back room over dazzling roast chicken, or sip on a glass of Ricard at the busy bar, perhaps with a little something off the charcuterie list. That deja vu you’re having right now is courtesy Le Pichet, Presse’s downtown cousin, which has been stylishly mining similar territoire for years. Think of Presse as the more quotidian of the two, with its international newspapers and magazines for patrons’ perusal, its all-day casse croûte menu, its way-low prices, and its informal joie de vivre. But don’t let the informality fool you: This food defines unfussy elegance, from the classy bibb lettuce and hazelnut salad to steak frites in a Madeira sauce so exquisite you’ll want to slurp it through a straw.
The project of Delancey co-owner and pizzaiolo Brandon Pettit—a pizza scholar who knows the importance of wet dough and dry ovens—Dino’s is an intentionally crafted dive at the Capitol Hill epicenter of Denny and Olive, whose deep booths and long bar pay homage to the pizza taverns of Pettit’s native Jersey. Also its pizza: Sicilian thick-crusted squares with bright sauce, first-rate toppings (Zoe’s bacon, aged mozzarella, extraordinary Grana Padano), and a high quotient of char. Done well, char will caramelize the sugars in the crust and lend a transporting complexity; too well done, it will blacken the crust to ash. Both have been known to transpire here at Dino’s. Thin crust pizzas, salads, and cocktails too.
Why yes, as a matter of fact, those are jalapeños cradling your snow crab legs and eight-spiced tuna. Japonessa may be downtown’s sushi cocina, mashing up Japanese food with Latin inflections, but purists take heart: The chef-owner is the seasoned Billy Beach—an alum of Umi and onetime Kushibar owner—and the sushi is consistently more substantive and solidly prepared than all the hot noise and scene might suggest. Creations like agedashi tofu and tempura-fried brie, followed by a monstrous Street Fighter II Roll, open the mind and the palate. And the pocketbook—though happy hour seems to roll straight on through the day here.
The mastermind behind the original Matt’s in the Market now turns his global eye to meat—notably pork, the Chinook meaning of the restaurant’s name—and serves it with trademark effervescence in a swish, sophisticated, window-lined perch on the Harbor Steps. It’s crowded lunch, happy hour (which begins, reasonably, at 3pm), and dinner till late, burbling with as much energy as the gleefully anarchic menu, which caroms across cuisines from a delectable Catalan-style sofrito fish soup, to a house-brined pork chop with roasted beets and a sweet-sour agrodolce sauce, to a starter of chickpeas and tender char-grilled octopus bits roaring with Mama Lil’s hot peppers and salsa brava. An unctuous ode to pork belly, Lecosho porchetta, was a classic the day the place opened. All that plus careful, humane service adds up to a place a person could happily stay forever.
Whiskey expert Andrew Friedman sold his little lounge on 15th Avenue to talented Liberty bar vets, but fear not, the new owners have kept the cocktail menu sharp and the sushi reliably great. The cozy drinking den serves as a fitting place both to begin the evening and to end it, and in either case well-crafted drinks and fresh rolls abound.
No-nonsense thin crust pizzas from the wood oven, a small list of thoughtful sides (could be a beautiful seasonal salad, could be hearty pozole), and a top-notch draft list that leans more European than hophead. Lower Queen Anne needs more casually grown-up spaces like the Masonry, but for now that blessing goes to Fremont, where the Masonry opened a second spot housing a few more taps of craft beers and just as many satisfying pizzas, all of which can be had on the expansive front deck until late.
Ballard’s moody, atmospheric destination for classic and seasonal tapas (especially deviled eggs and any sort of toast), plus red wine, sangria, and a list of gentle cocktails that’s longer, and better than you’d expect. There’s a reason Ocho has outlasted a million trendier places.
Anchored by an overpopulated bar and dripping with chandeliers, the Palace is the Tom Douglas restaurant locals like best. Food runs to Americana comfort—from the applewood-grilled crispy chicken to the Piedmontese ravioli to the justly famous half-pound burger Royale—but the place’s inimitable energy may be the even bigger draw, from the fleet of hospitable servers and patrons who can’t believe they’ve found a scene still roaring—and serving—at 1am.
None of the visual cues in this South Lake Union hot spot scream “gastronomic destination”—not the big bar, nor the bar scene, nor the big screens, nor the generic brick-wall-and-exposed-ductwork decor. But then your food arrives, and it’s brave, with the courage of its flavor convictions—smoky anchovy tartines, deep-fried pig’s tail with mustard, a pungent oxtail ragu over fresh pappardelle—and you realize that Re:public is actually a restaurant first. (With incredible Italian desserts, too.)
Its name sounds like a street drug in an ’80s action flick, the hallucinatory effects of which could produce the building’s trippy mural. Inside Twilight Exit is just as much a riot—take the color scheme of gum stuck under a bar booth and then build around that. There are more surprises too, like the robust food menu (burgers, sandwiches, specials like gumbo and braised beef stroganoff), a pocket of arcade games, and a back porch that turns the Cherry Street hideaway into a lively summertime spot.
Apparently Broadway needed a shot of old-time religion, because it has taken to this Southern church-themed bar with evangelical zeal. Partly that’s because of the food: straightup Southern fare—shrimp and grits, Carolina pulled pork sliders, buttermilk beignets—that’s impossible not to crave, even if it can err on the side of blandness. (The fried chicken and waffles featured terrific bourbon maple syrup, but the chicken strips—crisp and moist to be sure—held no flavor.) The cocktails, for their part, runneth over with flavor—including hickory-smoked cherry in the bourbon-and-Benedictine concoction known as Witness cocktail; and a tequila, lime-ginger-beer-cassis blend, el Diablo, one can only call inspired. Happy hour here, with $6 cocktails amid twinkling votives and 100-year-old church pews, turns late afternoon into a religious experience.
Much of the lore surrounding the cocktail bar on the Pike Hillclimb surrounds two events: Barman Murray Stenson rediscovering the Last Word, an unlikely green drink created by a vaudeville singer in Detroit in the 1920s, that helped vault our city into the national craft cocktail renaissance, and Stenson winning “Best Bartender in America” at the annual Tales of the Cocktail industry confab. Stenson has moved on, but Zig Zag is every bit a cocktail destination in the post-Murray era, thanks to a cadre of bartenders who bring levity to the very serious business of knowing how you like your drink.
A First Hill newcomer, Betsutenjin softly opened one summer of yore when Seattle was still flirting with 80-degree weather. That didn’t stop the near-daily crowds. The ramen bar has scant seating, so better to belly up to the bar facing the kitchen, which issues Hakata-style ramen, here an opaque, ivory-white pork broth with thin wheat noodles, pork slices, nori, and seaweed. It’s so creamy that signage throughout the restaurant assures there’s not a drop of milk. But if you try asking what techniques are involved in making a ramen so permeated with pig and umami, the server might just press her finger over her lips and smile. Go back to slurping, and be satisfied that you were able to snag a spot underneath the TV showing a ’60s-era samurai flick.
The New York–style pizzeria slings slices and 18-inch pies seven days a week. And, hello munchies, it’s open until 2am every night of the week on Capitol Hill. Other perks: A full bar and a takeaway window. Other other perks: carbo-loading for the post-drinking masses.
Nothing soaks up an evening’s intemperance better than a Dick’s deluxe burger with fries and a shake, served till 2am every night of the week. The original Wallingford drive-in debuted in 1954 and has since hatched six more locations, each with the same streamlined menu, eye-catching signs, and 5-cent surcharge for ketchup.
The owners will insist this kitschy riff on old-school Chinese American dining is a bar, not a restaurant. Even though Ma‘ono chef Mark Fuller is the guy behind the menu of updated honey pecan prawns, barbecued pork, and the best General Tso’s chicken to ever come in contact with disposable chopsticks. Actually all the food comes in compostable takeout containers, even though the bar doesn’t do takeout. It’s all in the name of crowd control; this place gets busy. Cocktails are highly tropical, often frozen, and come in elaborate tiki glassware.
Mark Fuller's also ventured into pizza in a small space on California Ave (and now the U District) where ’70s-era glass lampshades and two tastefully restrained beer signs filter their singular glow onto walls of faux brick and knotty pine. This is a bar, not a restaurant, with the no-minors policy and the broad list of cocktails to prove it (a small exception: an all-ages section up front on the Ave). Know this, though: Supreme produces the most masterful pizza crust you’ll ever find served in the company of boozy creamsicles and root beer slurpees. Slices are oversize, and come with a dozen different topping combos, from basic pepperoni to Italian sausage with ricotta, swiss chard, and cherry bomb peppers. Fuller’s Hawaiian roots mean the pineapple pizza (with Portuguese sausage in place of Canadian bacon) is on point. Get there early; the kitchen sometimes runs out of garlic knots.
Late-night tacos are life-saving, booze-absorbing tacos. So if you find yourself at Capitol Hill’s Bar Sue a few whiskies in, head to the order window in the corner for a trio of tacos—potatoes, asada, chorizo, grilled mushrooms and onions—or a hefty, carb-blessed torta. Drink more. Repeat.
Lurid weirdness is served so freely here—candy striped walls, taxidermal array, a whole menu section for corndogs—that carnival-themed Unicorn feels like Halloween year round. Sip cocktails like the famed Unicorn Jizz or a Fireball-vehicle called the Hellicorn; try to shout over the music. Refined it ain’t (Fireball should tip you off), but fun? Hell yes.
Inside the Embassy Suites on King Street, tall leather booths, high-backed counter chairs, and a whole manner of 1930s-era bachelor pad aesthetic dominate the restaurant space. 13 Coins may have relocated from its former home in South Lake Union after 50 years, but time-honored dishes (and decor) remain at its new Pioneer Square digs. French onion soup shockingly thick with melted cheese comes with a sweet and hot broth. The crab louie—big tomato wedges, fresh Dungeness, assuredly familiar iceberg lettuce—abides by tradition. Like a secret jazz lair, a staircase leads you into a subterranean lounge below, which offers the same menu as the dining room. No matter where you sit, a 24/7 restaurant will never go out of style.
This vibrant restaurant—as great a spot for early breakfast as it is post-dinner nightcaps—is Eric and Sophie Banh’s love song to the street food they ate as children in Saigon and therefore hews to a more traditionalist standard than we’ve seen in their Monsoon restaurants. Where those represent bright fusion, Ba Bar serves up street-style classics: like noodle bowls topped with grilled chicken or charry prawns or Peking duck, with peanuts and caramelized shallots and greens and nuoc cham; or big, loaded bowls of pho, heady with basil and onions and mint and sprouts and fork-tender sheets of flank steak. Ingredients are scrupulously sourced and lovingly handled; beverages, coffee to cocktails, are bright and free flowing.
Like cross-country road trips to national monuments and drive-in theaters, this 24-hour diner in Phinney Ridge is peak Americana, with black coffee that could raise the dead and carb-dense platters to cure that hangover before it even begins. Beth’s has been open since 1954, placating late-night (or very early morning) hunger with six- or 12-egg omelets—sorry, no polaroids or prizes for finishing the feast des oeufs, just the sobering knowledge that you did that—get them with smoked salmon or three kinds of meat (bacon, sausage, ham) or just good old American cheese. Yes, there are traditional breakfasts in appropriate proportions plus a mini option, too. Waffles, pancakes, all-you-can-eat hash browns await.
Dim sum carts wheel through the bright and ample dining room during lunch, carrying baskets of shu mai, pork buns, chicken feet, Chinese broccoli, and other usual suspects—ditto the regular menu of classics from barbecue duck to salt cod fried rice. Honey Court even awaits when you need to refuel post karaoke at 3am.
Marcus Lalario's burger joints boast Painted Hills beef signatures and a few less signature ones, a buttermilk fried chicken burger, hand-cut Washington fries, and handmade Full Tilt malts and shakes.
If there were ever a cafe that could double as a set in Twin Peaks, it’d be this Capitol Hill spot, all retro seating and throwback stone walls, seemingly ripped the pages of a David Lynch script. A 24-hour diner, Lost Lake serves breakfast all day and night, including comforting classics: fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits, pancake stacks of various heights, vegan hash, benedicts. Plus, there’s diner faves for lunch and dinner, too (wedge salad, BLT, tuna melts, Mom’s meatloaf). Drinks come in the form of damn fine cups of coffee, microbrews, and every shade of cocktail. Save room for dessert—pies locally sourced from A La Mode Pies.
Many cuisines have a dumpling—xiao long bao, gyoza, pizza rolls, if we’re playing fast and loose with the term—and those from mother Russia are no less delectable. Pelmeni from this particular Pacific Northwest chainlet are as uncomplicated or elaborate as you’d like them to be. The “Traditional” is the purist’s go-to choice, simply prepared with butter, sour cream, and a splash of vinegar, while the similarly spartan “Classic,” adds a few hearty dashes of curry powder and Tzar red sauce (a spicy vinegar dressing—get extra because this stuff is damn-near drinkable). The menu gets only more pumped up from there (“mac” and cheese dumplings, Greek-styled dumplings, and there’s often a special rotating iteration). Happy hour is solid. Oh, and always order more sour cream, you’ll thank us later.
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